Terrific Tigers dent the Witches’ play-off hopes with battling draw at Foxhall as off-form Ipswich pay the price
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches 45 Glasgow Tigers 45
Ipswich Witches’ play-off hopes were dealt a big blow after lowly Glasgow Tigers stunned the Suffolk side with a draw at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night.
The Scottish side were well worth the two points they picked up against an off-form Suffolk side who never attacked the track in the manner they did just seven nights ago against another lowly side, Plymouth.
Indeed it was the Tigers’ first away points of the season, while for the Witches it was a third home draw.
But make no bones about it, this has put a dent in the Witches hopes of a top-six finish.
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Totally outscored in the reserve department and reliant on Richie Worrall, Ritchie Hawkins and Morten Risager in the main, the Witches were slow from the tapes throughout and had no excuses at the end.
Indeed they can feel fortunate they didn’t lose this clash as heat 14 was stopped with the Tigers on a 5-1 until Gino Manzares, who had a torrid night, fell while in third place and was excluded.
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In the re-run Cameron Heeps saved his best till last to take victory.
That meant a last-heat decider that visiting No.1 Kevin Wolbert won, with Worrall and Risager in pursuit.
It was an entertaining start to the meeting with the Wolbert excluded in heat one after hitting into Worrall on turn four of the first lap.
Worrall and Ritchie Hawkins made the most of it in the re-run to put the home side ahead. But the Tigers weren’t worried and hit back straight back in the next as Heeps made a mistake while in second.
Gino Manzares went through the tapes in heat three but, starting 15 metres back, the American thrillingly passed Theo Pijper, before taking advantage of Anders Thomsen’s mistake on the final bend to follow Risager through for another 5-1, this time to the Witches.
Again, Glasgow hit back with Rohan Tungate and Adam Ellis gating poorly for the home side, in a nip-and-tuck opening to the clash.
Twice, Manzares, who heads off to Italy today to compete in the first leg of world under-21 series, hit the deck in heat five, the second time he was excluded.
Glasgow were now ahead – and deservedly so, but when Rusty Harrison went through the tapes in the next Hawkins and Worrall made them pay, Hawkins with a superb cut-back on turn two to go through the Glasgow pair.
However, the Witches were in no mood to make this easy on themselves and after Tungate went into the tapes in heat seven, the Tigers hit back once more to lead by two, 22-20.
It was a shabby first half of the meeting by the home side with all the many tape offences contributing to the first seven heats taking more than an hour to complete!
Christian Henry had an ugly fall in heat eight and Ellis couldn’t avoid hitting him. Fortunatley the Tigers man was up and ok but went to hospital with concussion as Stefan Nielsen won the re-run.
The fast-starting Risager helped level things up in the next race and the Witches took the lead as Hawkins passed Anders Thomsen.
But again the Tigers hit back and with four races to go it was all square once more. Thomsen passed Risager and then Tungate produced his best race of the night as still the scores stayed level.
The Witches were on the end of 5-1 in the penultimate heat but after Manzares fell and was excluded, Heeps proved the hero with a fine win in the re-run.
But it was Wolbert who shot for the gate in the decider, with the Witches picking up the minor placings and the meeting ending all square.
But the Witches fans went home wondering what this Jeckyl and Hyde team will produce on the track next week!!
1 Hawkins, Worrall, Henry, Wolbert (ex) 58.9 5-1
2 K Nielsen, S Nielsen, Heeps, Ellis 58.0 6-6
3 Risager, Manzares (15m), Thomsen, Pijper 57.4 11-7
4 Harrison, S Nielsen, Ellis, Tungate 58.0 12-12
5 Wolbert, Risager, K Nielsen, Manzares (f/ex) 57.6 14-16
6 Worrall, Hawkins, K Nielsen, S Nielsen 58.6 19-17
7 Pijper, Thomsen, Heeps, Tungate (15m) 59.3 20-22
8 S Nielsen, Hawkins, Ellis, Henry (f/x) 59.2 23-25
9 Risager, Harrison, Manzares, K Nielsen 58.1 27-27
10 Worrall, Pijper, Hawkins, Thomsen 58.6 31-29
11 Wolbert, Tungate, K Nielsen, Heeps 58.6 33-33
12 Thomsen, Risager, S Nielsen, Ellis 59.1 35-37
13 Tungate, Wolbert, Worrall, Harrison 59.2 39-39
14 Heeps, K Nielsen, Pijper, Manzares (f/ex) 59.1 42-42
15 Wolbert, Worrall, Risager, Thomsen 59.4 45-45
Ipswich 1 pt Glasgow 2 pts
Ipswich: R Worrall 11+1, R Hawkins 8+1, M Risager 11+1, G Manzares 3+1, R Tungate 5, C Heeps 5, A Ellis 2+1
Glasgow: K Wolbert 11, C Henry 1, A Thomsen 6+1, T Pijper 6+1, R Harrison 5, K Lykke-Nielsen 8, S Nielsen 8+2
Edinburgh 13 40
Ipswich 17 28
Scunthorpe 14 25
Berwick 9 23
Newcastle 16 20
Workington 8 19
Redcar 16 19