Heartbreak for Ipswich Witches as crashes cost them dear in Glasgow

Cameron Heeps, a double figure paid score at Glasgow. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Cameron Heeps, a double figure paid score at Glasgow. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Glasgow Tigers 47 Ipswich Witches 42

Ipswich Witches’ hopes of making the end-of-season play-offs are all but over after a narrow defeat at Glasgow tonight.

The home side came from seven points down to take the victory and while the Witches picked up a losing bonus point, they are now totally dependant on results elsewhere if they are to make the top four.

It was a bruising night for the Suffolk side with guest Scott Nicholls, Mark Riss (twice) and Cameron Heeps all falling during heats.

“We have the meeting won if it wasn’t for the crashes,” team boss Ritchie Hawkins said.

“Scott (Nicholls) hit a hole in heat 13 and that was a nasty fall. He’s gone off for x-rays on his ankle. That cost us, it was a big moment because he was so key. Cameron Heeps was another who rode brilliant all night, but he crashed in his final ride.

“It just about summs our season up. In fact it sums up the last 18 months to be honest.

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“Just as we look as though we are in, we get kicked down.

“But I couldn’t be more proud of the way they all rode tonight, everyone of them. They were superb.”

Tigers No.1 and Grand Prix star Craig Cook passed both Witches, who gated well in heat one in a drawn first race. But the Witches drew first blood in the next, Drew Kemp shooting off to lead, with Coty Garcia taking care of Jack Thomas as the Witches reserves sped off for a 5-1 maximum.

The lead was shortlived however, as Glasgow hit straight back with a maximum of their own.

Nicholls was again guesting for the Witches. He had done superbly for the Suffolk side in recent weeks taking the place of the injured Danny King, and he and Kemp shot from the tapes in heat four.

It looked like a 5-1 to the visitors until Chris Harris caught the impressive Kemp.

The Witches took a seven-point lead after Claus Vissing retired in heat five and his partner Paul Starke fell on the fourth bend with him and Cameron Heeps having a great tussle.

Starke was up ok.

Heeps, Garcia and James Sarjeant had a terrific battle in heat six, Heeps managing to hold second to split the Tigers.

Witches’ Mark Riss fell on the fourth bend of lap one in heat seven to gift the visitors a heat advantage and now there was just three points in it.

Heat eight was re-run after Gino Manzares slid off on turn one and couldn’t clear the track.

In the re-run Kemp and Heeps gated to the front as the Witches led by seven again.

Vissing won the next to reduce the arrears to five and bizarrely despite being six points down now on two occasions, the Tigers hadn’t used a tactical substitute ride.

Still the Witches led by five going into the interval after Cook made it three out of three for him, as Riss passed Sarjeant.

Heeps fell when at the back in the next as the Tigers closed in on the Witches lead.

But Covatti produced a fine ride to pass both Tigers in the next, with Kemp passing Jack Thomas.

The Witches were five up again but Cook and Harris got a 5-1 in heat 13 after Nicholls fell when in second. He went off to hospital for an x-ray on his ankle. Riss was the next Witch to fall as the meeting got away from them in the closing stages and Cook completed a 15-point maximum for the Tigers to seal the win.

Heat details

1 Cook, Nicholls, Heeps, Sarjeant 57.5 3-3

2 Kemp, Garcia, Manzares, Thomas 60.2 4-8

3 Vissing, Starke, Riss, Covatti 58.9 9-9

4 Nicholls, Harris, Kemp, Manzares 58.6 11-13

5 Nicholls, Heeps, Starke (f/x), Vissing (r) no time 11-18

6 Cook, Heeps, Sarjeant, Garcia 57.5 15-20

7 Harris, Covatti, Thomas, Riss (f) 58.7 19-22

8 Kemp, Heeps, Sarjeant, Manzares (f/x) 59.3 20-27

9 Vissing, Covatti, Starke, Garcia 58.8 24-29

10 Cook, Covatti, Riss, Sarjeant 58.1 27-32

11 Harris, Nicholls, Thomas, Heeps (f) no time 31-34

12 Covatti, Vissing, Kemp, Thomas 59.8 33-38

13 Cook, Harris, Garcia, Nicholls (f) no timem 38-39

14 Thomas, Starke, Kemp, Riss (f) no time 43-40

15 Cook, Covatti, Harris, Kemp 58.5 47-42

Glasgow 3 pts. Ipswich 1 pts.

Scorers

Glasgow: C Cook 15, J Sarjeant 2, C Vissing 8, P Starke 5+2, C Harris 11+1, J Thomas 5, G Manzares 1.

Ipswich: S Nicholls 10, C Heeps 7+3, N Covatti 11, M Riss 2+1, R/R, C Garcia 3+1, D Kemp 9.

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