Schlein to the max... But Witches are defeated

Rory Schlein, 18-point maximum for the Witches at Berwick. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Rory Schlein, 18-point maximum for the Witches at Berwick. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Berwick Bandits 50 Ipswich Witches 40

Rory Schlein raced to a brilliant 18-point maximum, but Ipswich Witches left Berwick last night with nothing to show for their troubles after a 50-40 defeat in the Championship.

Schlein, who had won the Scottish Open at Edinburgh on Friday night, kept his immaculate form going at Shielfield Park, with six straight wins.

But he lacked support from many of his team-mates as a meeting the Witches would have targeted to win, went astray.

It’s still very early in the Championship campaign, but after the boost of a draw at Newcastle, at least a point at Berwick would have been seen as a decent return from two tricky away meetings, with the Witches still injury-hit and without Danny King and Nico Covatti.

However, in a much smaller league fixture campaign in 2018, where teams only meet home and away once, every single point is going to be vital.

“Bar Rory we were not good enough as a team,” said team boss, Ritchie Hawkins.

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“Rory was superb and Michael (Härtel) did really well on his first visit there. We dropped away at the end from even picking up a point and it wasn’t a great performance.

“We are going to have to move on and by the time our next away meeting comes, hopefully we will be in a lot better form.”

Guest Ben Barker, in for King, won a heat, and was involved in a heat five 5-1 maximum with Schlein, when the Aussie came in as a tactical ride with the Witches already six down.

Hartel won a race as well, but the tail wagged far too long.

“Our reserves (Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume) are inexperienced and they are improving all the time but at the moment our top five are not scoring enough points to carry them which is what we need them to do and then they can chip in with a few points,” Hawkins added.

“Cameron (Heeps) has not had a good night and on the face of it he has a big role at the moment with Danny (King) and Nico (Covatti) away. He hasn’t performed tonight and we have a little break now and he has to work hard now, but there is plenty of time for him to have a good season.”

The Witches were in the meeting for much of the time after Schlein and Barker’s heat five maximum. Indeed after heat nine they were just four points down.

The Suffolk side produced four of the last five heat winners, but they had too many last places as the Bandits took all three points.

The Witches stage the British U19 final at Foxhall this Thursday.


Berwick: A Summers 9, K Doolan 9+2, D Gappmaier 6+1, D Howe 3+1, P Starke 5, J Lindman 8+2, J Etheridge 10+1.

Ipswich: B Barker 7+1, R/R, C Heeps 3+1, M Hartel 7+2, R Schlein 18, C Mountain 3, D Hume 2.

Heat details

1 Summers, Barker, Doolan, Mountain 65.3 4-2

2 Etheridge, Lindman, Mountain, Hume 66.0 9-3

3 Gappmaier, Heeps, Haertel, Howe 66.1 12-6

4 Schlein, Starke, Etheridge, Hume 65.7 15-9

5 Schlein*, Barker, Gappmaier, Howe (r) 65.3 16-14

6 Schlein, Doolan, Summers, Mountain 66.0 19-17

7 Lindman, Hume, Haertel, Starke 67.5 22-20

8 Etheridge, Doolan, Heeps, Hume 67.5 27-21

9 Schlein, Howe, Mountain, Gappmaier (ef) 67.0 29-25

10 Doolan, Haertel, Summers, Heeps 67.8 33-27

11 Barker, Starke, Lindman, Haertel 67.3 36-30

12 Etheridge, Gappmaier, Mountain, Heeps 67.3 41-31

13 Schlein, Summers, Starke, Barker 67.1 44-34

14 Haertel, Lindman, Howe, Hume 68.2 47-37

15 Schlein, Summers, Doolan, Barker 67.2 50-40

*tac ride

Berwick 3 pts. Witches 0 pts.

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