Witches do the business and progress to the cup semi-finals as they see off Somerset. Risager leads the way for the Suffolk side
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Somerset Rebels 49 Ipswich Witches 41 Aggregate: Rebels 74 Witches 106
Ipswich Witches cruised into the semi-finals of the knock-out cup with a comfortable aggregate victory over Somerset Rebels in the West Country.
Already ahead by 40 points from the first leg, Chris Louis’ side never looked likely to lose this tie over the two legs, and indeed threatened to win this meeting on the night.
In the end that wasn’t to be, but this will be a pleasing result for the ‘Sackers’ Witches, who now race Plymouth Devils in a home and away semi-final.
The Rebels had threatened to hit the Witches hard from the off, but Cameron Heeps did well to split the Somerset pairing in heat one to help settle his side down.
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The Rebels’ Paul Stark hit the deck in the next and in the re-run Witches skipper Ritchie Hawkins made sure Starke stayed at the back in a drawn race.
Morten Risager and Gino Manzares gated on a 5-1 in the next, but Pontus Aspgren passed Risager, before Risager passed him back and sped off for victory, with Aspgren just pipping Manzares on the line for second.
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It was just the start the visitors wanted and Hawkins and Rohan Tungate both passed Starke in the next to keep the scores level.
Witches guest for the night, Claus Vissing, replacing Richie Worrall who was riding for Belle Vue, jetted from the gate in heat five, with Heeps alongside. That 5-1 to the visitors was game, set and match to Ipswich, as early as heat five.
Tungate went through the tapes in the next, after Nathan Greaves, guesting for Adam Ellis, was excluded in the first running of the heat.
It pulled the Rebels back level, but the tie was already the Witches.
Manzares showed his class with a fine pass on Olly Allen, who chased the American all the way, but to no avail. Tungate won heat nine in a fast time and Risager continued his good form as he passed Wright, to hand a first defeat of the night on the young Englishman.
The Witches were two up on the night with the tie long sewn up.
But the Rebels weren’t going to give this one up easily and Allen took Vissing high, wide and handsome at the start of heat 11, as the home side now took the lead with a 5-1 of their own.
Greaves took a nasty fall in heat 12, but was up okay to walk back to the pits.
There was a lengthy delay while the fence was fixed and after the break the Rebels came out all guns firing.
Aspgren passed Manzares in heat 14 but the Witches finished well with Risager and Wright going wheel to wheel for four exciting laps, with the Ipswich man coming out on top and ending the night with a solid 12 points as Ipswich travelled home victorious.
1 Wright, Heeps, Morris, Vissing 57.8 4-2
2 T Kurtz, Hawkins, Greaves, Starke 57.7 7-5
3 Risager, Aspgren, Manzares, B Kurtz 58.2 9-9
4 Allen, Hawkins, Tungate, Starke 58.3 12-12
5 Vissing, Heeps, Aspgren, B Kurtz 56.8 13-17
6 Wright, Morris, Tungate (15m), Greaves (f/x) 58.3 18-18
7 Manzares, Allen, Risager, T Kurtz 58.4 20-22
8 Wright, Hawkins, Heeps, Starke 58.6 23-25
9 Tungate, B Kurtz, Aspgren 57.6 26-28
10 Risager, Wright, Morris, Manzares (ret) 58.8 29-31
11 Allen, T Kurtz, Vissing, Heeps 57.6 34-32
12 B Kurtz, Risager, T Kurtz, Greaves (f/x) no time 38-34
13 Allen, Vissing, Morris, Tungate 58.7 42-36
14 T Kurtz, Aspgren, Manzares, Hawkins 58.7 47-37
15 Risager, Wright, Vissing, T Kurtz 59.3 49-41
Aggregate score: Rebels 74 Witches 106
Somerset: N Morris 5+2, C Wright 13, B Kurtz 5, P Aspgren 6+2, O Allen 11, T Kurtz 9+1, P Starke 0
Ipswich: C Vissing 7, C Heeps 5+2, M Risager 12, G Manzares 5, R Tungate 5+1, N Greaves 1+1, R Hawkins 6.