Heartbreak for Witches in final.... But Chris Louis says ‘We’ll be back’
- Credit: Archant
PLAY-OFF FINAL SECOND LEG Swindon Robins 62 Ipswich Witches 27 Agg: 111-68
Ipswich Witches' hopes of a miracle comeback at Swindon in the second leg of the Premiership grand final came to nothing as they were put to the sword by an impressive Robins outfit.
The home side led by eight after the first leg at Foxhall on Tuesday night and despite the Witches starting brightly and taking an early lead at Blunsdon, the Robins soon took control and eased to victory
For the Witches, it was a tough night against arguably the league's strongest side.
The fact Ritchie Hawkins' side got to the final in their first year back in the Premiership is of credit to the them and the Foxhall management. There is understandable pride they got this far, but they will be disappointed they didn't give Swindon more of a meeting over the two legs, a view shared by promoter Chris Louis.
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"I hoped we would put up a bit more of a fight than we have," Louis said.
"It's a disappointing result. We've done well as team, definitely and we have been the underdogs.
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"But that doesn't mean much to our fans here tonight and we haven't done well enough. But we are a club with a big history and we'll be back."
Team boss Hawkins added: "We've had a brilliant season, but tonight Swindon have been superb. They are the benchmark for next season."
Niels Kristian Iversen went through the tapes at the start of heat one which was not the start the visitors wanted.
Jake Allen replaced Iversen as he and Danny King both made good starts.
But former world champion Jason Doyle nipped through up the inside to lead and win.
Allen nipped up the inside of both Robins as Ellis Perks packed and the Witches gained a 4-2 in the next to take the lead on the night, but still six behind on aggregate.
The Robins took the lead on the night in the next despite a great effort by Chris Harris to split the Robins pair.
Allen was out again in heat four, replacing Sarjeant and he led for a while before Troy Batchelor passed him.
Both Robins were away like rockets in the next to stretch their lead to eight on the night and 16 overall.
It was a very long way back now for the Witches and it got even tougher as Doyle and then Adam Ellis passed Allen, who was proving to be the Witches best rider so far on the night.
Batchelor won the next as Harris split the Robins pairing. But the Robins were now 22 points up on aggregate.
Allen was out for his fifth ride in eight races but he could do nothing as the Robins continued to pile up the points and the Witches still looked for a second heat winner, let alone a heat advantage.
The title was secured for the Robins as early as heat 10 as Ellis and Doyle rocketed to another 5-1. Both King and Batchelor hit the deck in separate runs of heat 11 as Iversen became that second heat winner for the Witches.
But Swindon continued to turn the screw, despite the title being theirs.
The Witches never threw the towel in but this was Swindon's night and they celebrated joyfully.
1 Doyle, Allen, King, Ellis 3-3 52-44
2 Allen, Vissing, Sarjeant, Perks (e/f) 5-7 54-48
3 Musielak, Jensen, Harris, Lawson 10-8 59-49
4 Batchelor, Allen, Vissing, Heeps 14-10 63-51
5 Jensen, Musielak, Iversen, King 19-11 68-52
6 Doyle, Ellis, Allen, Heeps 24-12 73-53
7 Batchelor, Harris, Perks, Lawson 28-14 77-55
8 Ellis, King, Vissing, Allen 32-16 81-57
9 Jensen, Musielak, Heeps, Sarjeant 37-17 86-58
10 Ellis, Doyle, Harris, Lawson 42-18 91-59
11 Iversen, Perks, King (f/x), Batchelor (f/x) 44-21 93-62
12 Musielak, Allen, Vissing, Lawson 48-23 97-64
13 Batchelor, Doyle, Iversen, Heeps 53-24 102-65
14 Jensen, Harris, Perks, Sarjeant 57-26 106-67
15 Doyle, Musielak, Allen, Harris 62-27 111-68
Swindon: J Doyle 13+2, A Ellis 8+1, T Musielak 12+3, R Jensen 11+1, T Batchelor 9, E Perks 4, C Vissing 5.
Ipswich: NK Iversen 5, D King 3+1, R Lawson 0, C Harris 5, C Heeps 1, J Allen 11, J Sarjeant 1