Ipswich Witches just fall short in Championship Pairs

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches duo Rory Schlein and Nico Covatti fell just short in the group stage of the Championship Pairs at Somerset on Friday as the Sheffield Tigers duo of Kyle Howarth and Charles Wright lifted the trophy – beating Workington in the final, writes Henry Chard.

Schlein was unbeaten by an opposition rider all night scoring 15 but Nico Covatti struggled to make an impact and could only score four as the Witches missed out on the semi-finals by a point.

Schlein won heat two ahead of the Sheffield pairing of Wright and Howarth but Covatti found himself at the back, resulting in a 5-4 to the Tigers. It was a similar tale in heat six as Schlein beat the Workington Comets duo of Nicolai Klindt and Ty Proctor.

Covatti found the formula in heat 12 and was followed home by his team-mate for a 7-2 to the Witches over the Glasgow Tigers of Paul Starke and Chris Harris who struggled all night. With the scores finely poised the Witches needed another big heat and while Schlein delivered once again beating the Redcar Bears of Ben Barker and Thomas Jorgensen, Covatti couldn’t finish among the points – and that was curtains for the Foxhall side.

“Rory was superb and got a maximum and carried on his brilliant season by being on top form,” Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins said.

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“He was probably the best rider at the event and looked exceptional.

“Unfortunately for Nico it was really tough off gate four in his first ride. He got a win but had bike problems all night, breaking down in his second ride. It is a shame as he was so up for it with the form he has been in but it was out of his hands with machinery problems and he didn’t know it was going to happen.

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“It is one of those things and we are disappointed but it can’t be helped.”

Workington and Sheffield both progressed to the final after maximums in their respective semi-finals over Peterborough and Lakeside but it was the Tigers who were victorious despite Proctor winning the final for the Comets as Wright and Howarth filled to minor placings to ensure the title went back to Owlerton for another year.


Group A: Peterborough 21, Lakeside 21, Edinburgh 20, Scunthorpe 14, Berwick 14.

Group B: Sheffield 22, Workington 20, Redcar 20, Ipswich 19, Glasgow 9.

Semi-final: Workington 7-2 Peterborough, Sheffield 7-2 Lakeside

Final: Sheffield 5-4 Workington

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches are in action on Thursday 26th July as they travel to Redcar in the Championship.

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