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Witches crash out of Fours as Lewis Kerr steps in for Danny King

Nico Covatti, in good form for Witches at Redcar

Nico Covatti, in good form for Witches at Redcar

© Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches’ hopes of Fours Championship success didn’t get any further than the semi-final stage at Redcar this afternoon.

The Suffolk side finished three points off the qualifying top four final, in joint eighth, with all 11 Championship sides taking part.

Peterborough went on to retain a crown they won on their own track last season.

In the final they saw off Edinburgh, who finished second, Glasgow and Lakeside.

The Witches notched just 10 points, Nico Covatti scoring six of them, Rory Schlein three, Cameron Heeps one and Danyon Hume failed to score.

All riders in the semi-finals had two rides each.

Team boss Ritchie Hawkins was left disappointed.

“We would have like to do better than we did in a competition we won a few years ago,” he said.

“But you need everyone firing and we didn’t have that.

“Only Nico was doing it and it is a shame because we missed out by not much.

“Then again without Danny King, who is still injured, it was never going to be easy.”

The Panthers were led by former Witch Scott Nicholls on their way to success.

Meanwhile, the Witches get back into Championship action on Thursday as they travel to Sheffield.

The Foxhall Heath side have ridden less meetings than any other team in the Championship but still sit in sixth place in the table.

At Sheffield King will again be missing as he struggles with his damaged arm, with Lewis Kerr set to guest for the Suffolk side, who also have Jonas Jeppesen making his debut.

Jeppesen is replacing Michael Hartel, who suffered a broken arm in a long track crash two weeks ago.

The loss of both riders, but especially King, who suffered nerve damage in a crash with Hartel at Foxhall two months ago, continues to be a big worry for Hawkins and the rest of the Witches management.

“We will know more by Thursday about Danny because he is seeing specialists again this week, but obviously we are having to start to think about a temporary or even permanent replacement for him,” Hawkins said.

The Witches are set to hit a busy spell soon and after Thursday’s trip to Sheffield, they entertain Workington at Foxhall the Thursday after, before heading to Edinburgh the next night.

“We can use guests for Danny, but there are times that won’t be easy, Hawkins added.

“Hopefully Jonas will settle in well and start scoring some points for us.

“I’ve heard plenty of good things about him and there is no reason he can’t hit the ground running for us.”

Scores from Redcar

Final: Peterborough 22

Edinburgh 19

Glasgow 17

Lakeside 14

Semi-finals: Peterborough 18

Edinburgh 17

Lakeside 13

Glasgow 13

(Both through after run-off).

Sheffield 13

Workington 11

Berwick 11

Redcar 10

Ipswich 10 (N Covatti 6, R Schlein 3, C Heeps 1, D Hume 0)

Newcastle 9

Scunthorpe 7


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