‘Opportunity is still there for us’... Witches team boss Hawkins after Witches loss
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches 43 Poole Pirates 47
Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says his team still has the opportunity to reach the play-offs, despite a disappointing defeat to Poole Pirates at Foxhall tonight.
The home side went down by four points to a fast-starting Pirates side and Ipswich produced just five heat winners.
It went to a last-heat decider and the home side needed a 5-1 to claim victory. But Nicolai Klindt shot away to victory and that was that.
"It was not the result we wanted or needed," Hawkins said.
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"It started well we just couldn't win enough races. We were not sharp enough out of the start.
"But we still have two meetings left and the opportunity is still there for us to make the play-offs. If we can get in those play-offs it's a fresh start.
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"Everyone is really disappointed. I think the new lads who came in did well enough, but we didn't have enough heat winners."
With Swindon home and Poole away to come for the Witches, the play-offs are still in their own hands. But it's a tall order and their gating will have to improve considerably if the season isn't to end in disappontment.
New-boy and Grand Prix star Niels-Kristian Iversen got the crowd on their feet after a determined second bend saw him ease ahead of Nico Covatti in heat one.
Jake Allen rode the most sublime first and second turn in the next to fly down the back straight ahead and with new-boy James Sarjeant passing Tomas Jonasson, the Witches doubling their early lead.
Klindt made a great start off gate two to hold off Chris Harris as the Pirates secured their first race win. Brady Kurtz shot from the outside with Danny King passing team-mate Allen to get into second place. The Witches still led by four, but that was cancelled out as Covatti and Jack Holder secured a maximum in heat five.
Sarjeant passed Jonasson as Kurtz lowered Iversen's colours and Poole went ahead in heat seven and again the Witches were left at the start. King and Allen went either side of Ricky Wells down the backstraight in heat eight in another race won by a Pirate.
It was three abreast going into the third turn of heat nine and Jonasson, on the outside, flew into the fence at speed. The Poole man walked away, but was excluded as Kurtz won the re-run.
The Pirates nailed another maximum in the next and Iversen was in on a tactical ride in heat 11. But Holder won that.
Harris won in race 12 for the home side and Kurtz hit the deck as Iversen and King gained a 4-2. But when Richard Lawson and Allen hit the first bend ahead in heat 14, it went to the final heat decider, that Klindt won.
1 Iversen, Covatti, Allen, Holder 55.8 4-2
2 Allen, Wells, Sarjeant, Jonasson 56.8 8-4
3 Klindt, Harris, Lawson, Covatti 56.5 11-7
4 Kurtz, King, Allen, Wells 56.3 14-10
5 Holder, Covatti, Harris, Lawson 56.6 15-15
6 Kurtz, Iversen, Sarjeant, Jonasson 56.6 18-18
7 Jonasson, Klindt, King, Sarjeant 57.6 19-23
8 Covatti, Allen, King, Wells 56.9 22-26
9 Kurtz, Harris, Lawson, Jonasson (f/x) 56.9 25-29
10 Klindt, Kurtz, Iversen, Allen 56.9 26-34
11 Holder, Iversen*, King, Covatti 57.8 29-37
12 Harris, Klindt, Jonasson, Allen 57.4 32-40
13 Iversen, Holder, King, Kurtz (f/x) 57.3 36-42
14 Lawson, Allen, Jonasson, Wells 57.6 41-43
15 Klindt, Iversen, Kurtz, Harris 57.0 43-47
Ipswich 0 pts. Poole 3 pts.
Ipswich: N Iversen 13, R/R, C Harris 8, R Lawson 5+1, D King 6+2, J Sarjeant 2+1, J Allen 9+2
Poole: J Holder 8, N Covatti 7+1, N Klindt 13+1, R/R, B Kurtz 12+1, T Jonasson 5+1, R Wells 2.
Swindon 21 42
Poole 20 42
Ipswich 22 39
Belle Vue 23 38
Wolves 21 35
King's Lynn 20 31
Peterborough 21 17