Poor show from Witches as they throw away big lead
- Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Witches threw away an eight-point lead as Sheffield Tigers showed exactly why they are favourites among many for the Premiership title this season with a 43-47 win at Foxhall.
The Foxhall Heath side got off to a dream start with two maximums in the first two heats, but they increasingly fell away as the meeting wore on, with only Jason Doyle and reserve Danyon Hume showing their any sort of consistent form.
This was a hugely disappointing result for the Witches in front of the Eurosport cameras and is a shame after their fine win at Wolves last week.
Doyle was in maximum mood, but the rest of the main body of the team were all over the place winning just two heats between them, as Hume showed them how it was done.
Danny King never really recovered from a heat three fall, while Ben Barker won heat three but never notched another point.
Erik Riss blew an engine in heat eight, while Troy Batchelor, coming back from injury, never seriously threatened the scorers.
Sheffield on the other hand oozed confidence, even after their torrid start to the meeting.
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Kyle Howarth was imperious throughout, while Adam Ellis and guest Chris Harris were also in good form. It only needed Stefan Nielsen to come to the party in heat 14 and the solid-looking Tigers were home.
It was a lovely, sunny evening and the Witches got off to the perfect start as Riss and Doyle flew from the start to gain maximum points from heat one for the home side.
And the Witches went eight ahead in the reserves race, with Hume and Broc Nicol shooting to the front for another maximum score.
Barker gated to the front in the next and partner King almost got round to join him, but was pushed wide as he tried to. King fell on the final lap, but was up okay.
Ellis won the Tigers first race of the night in heat four, before Harris and Craig Cook reduced the Witches lead to four at 17-13 with the visitors' first 5-1 of the night.
Doyle stormed up the inside of Ellis going into turn three in heat six before Broc Nicol fell while challenging Tobias Musielak in heat seven. The Tigers had got themselves back into it after a torrid start.
Riss packed up in heat eight as Hume continued his excellent meeting with another three points. But it was Sheffield who were now looking stronger as Ellis won again.
Doyle rode a hard first turn to take the lead in the next as Riss was passed by Howarth but held third as the Witches went four up again.
But it was all level one race later as the Tigers completed their comeback, with Harris and Cook gating to a maximum. Hume fell on the fourth bend of lap one in heat 12 as Musielak won the re-run and suddenly the Tigers were ahead - from being eight down.
Harris was on the deck after a coming together with Doyle in heat 13. It was all four back. In the re-run the Witches gated to the front, but Harris passed Batchelor as the scores levelled up once more.
It was an exciting finale now and Sheffield made sure of at least a draw with a 5-1 in heat 14 with another 5-1.
And Harris and Ellis saw it home as the Witches suffered their first Premiership home defeat of the season, while the Tigers rightly celebrated.
Top Witch: Danyon Hume. A super nine points from Hume, which should have been enough to see the Witches home. It wasn't.
Ipswich: J Doyle (2*,3,3,3,3) =14+1; E Riss (3,1,e/f,1) =5; D King (f/x,1,2,2) = 5; B Barker (3,0,0,0) =3; T Batchelor (1*,2,0,1,0) =4+1; B Nicol (2*,f,1,) = 3+1; D Hume (3,2,3,f/x, 1) = 9
Sheffield: C Harris (0,3,2*,2,2) =9+1; C Cook (1,2*,1*,3) = 7+2; T Musielak (1*,1,0,3) =5+1; K Howarth (2,3,2,3) = 10; A Ellis (3,2,3,0,1*) =9+1; S Nielsen (0,0,1,1,2*) =4+1; C Mountain (1,0,2,) 3.
1. Riss, Doyle, Cook, Harris 56.1 5-1
2. Hume, Nicol, Mountain, Nielsen 57.5 10-2
3. Barker, Howarth, Musielak, King (f/x) no time 13-5
4. Ellis, Hume, Batchelor, Mountain 57.6 16-8
5. Harris, Cook, King, Barker 56.7 17-13
6. Doyle, Ellis, Riss, Nielsen 57.1 21-15
7. Howarth, Batchelor, Musielak, Nicol (f) 57.4 23-19
8. Hume, Mountain, Cook, Riss (e/f) 58.0 26-22
9. Ellis, King, Nielsen, Barker 57.3 28-26
10. Doyle, Howarth, Riss, Musielak 57.9 32-28
11. Cook, Harris, Nicol, Batchelor 57.0 33-33
12. Musielak, King, Nielsen, Hume (f/x) 57.6 35-37
13. Doyle, Harris, Batchelor, Ellis 58.0 39-39
14. Howarth, Nielsen, Hume, Barker 58.2 40-44
15. Doyle, Harris, Ellis, Batchelor 58.1 43-47
Witches 0pts. Sheffield 3pts.
Belle Vue 4 11
Ipswich 3 6
Sheffield 2 6
Wolves 2 3
King's Lynn 2 1
Peterborough 3 0