Image courtesy of Phil McGlynn

By Rob Binns


BIRMINGHAM 44: Tom Brennan © 9, Wiktor Lampart 4, Zach Cook 5+1, Justin Sedgmen 15+1, Steve Worrall R/R, Piotr Pawlicki 10+2, Leon Flint (RS) 1+1. Team Manager: Sam Ermolenko

IPSWICH 46: Jason Doyle R/R, Freddy Hodder (G) 0, Scott Nicholls (G) 2, Norick Blödorn (G) 12+1, Emil Sayfutdinov © 15+1, Keynan Rew 13+2, Jordan Jenkins 4+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: A. Steele



First Leg: Belle Vue 49-41 Sheffield. Second Leg: Sheffield 49–41 Belle Vue – Sheffield win super heat

First Leg: Leicester 42-48 Ipswich. Second Leg: Ipswich 47–43 Leicester


First Leg: Birmingham 44-46 Ipswich

King’s Lynn vs Sheffield


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches battled through their injuries to produce a stunning 44-46 fightback victory against the Birmingham Brummies at the Perry Barr Stadium in the Knockout Cup semi-final first leg.

The visitors were once again without the injured Danny King, Jason Doyle and Adam Ellis with Dan Thompson also forced to pull out on the morning of raceday due to illness. Rider replacement was being used for Doyle by the Witches and for Steve Worrall by the Brummies whilst Scott Nicholls, Norick Blödorn and Freddy Hodder were guests for Ipswich. Emil Sayfutdinov top scored with 15+1.

The hosts claimed an early heat advantage in heat one which was won by Tom Brennan with Nicholls producing a smart overtake on Wiktor Lampart to prevent a Brummies maximum. Piotr Pawlicki won a shared heat two before Nicholls was excluded from heat three as he packed up at the tapes which also saw Zach Cook hit the tapes. In the re-run Pawlicki, reserve substitute for Cook, took the chequered flag with Justin Sedgmen in second for a Birmingham maximum. Sayfutdinov and Keynan Rew hit straight back with an Ipswich maximum in heat four to make it 13-11 to the hosts.

Sedgmen took the win in a Birmingham heat advantage in heat five before Brennan won heat six under heavy pressure from Sayfutdinov with Lampart in third to earn another Brummies 4-2. Blödorn produced a fantastic ride including a great pass on the inside of Sedgmen to win a shared heat seven. Jordan Jenkins won a shared heat eight to take the score to 27-21 Birmingham.

The hosts earned another heat advantage in heat nine courtesy of Sedgmen and Cook. Referee Tony Steele judged that one of the riders had moved early on the start line which saw heat 10 re-run. Nicholls hit the tapes in the restart which saw Rew come in as a reserve substitute and he raced to victory with Blödorn close behind for a Witches maximum. Sayfutdinov defended Pawlicki brilliantly to win a shared heat 11. Rew produced a stunning move to pass both Brummies riders in the same corner and win a shared heat 12 to take the scores to 38-34 to the hosts.

Blödorn and Sayfutdinov hit a crucial maximum in heat 13 with the Witches guest taking the chequered flag. Sedgmen won a shared heat 14 to keep the tie level going into the final heat. Sayfutdinov and Blödorn were selected by Ritchie Hawkins and they produced the goods, riding to a heat advantage that secured a narrow lead going into the second leg as the Ipswich number five took the victory in the decisive heat 15.


Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Monday’s win at Birmingham.

“After a very stressful day with losing Dan this morning to illness, I’m absolutely delighted with the fight from the boys. Obviously, we were down early and fighting all meeting, but the spirit here seems to be rubbing off onto our guests! It made it all worthwhile coming away with a win for all the effort today.

“Freddy had a free pass; he wasn’t expected to do anything, but he actually really impressed me, and I thought he was right on the pace. If the boy can ride like that then he’s got a big future. I felt that with the other five, we always had a chance of winning the meeting and that proved the case even though Scotty had a bad day, but Norick had an exceptionally good day and so did Kenny. Thanks to all the guests for their efforts because they were superb and really fit into the team well.

“It leaves us in a great position going into Thursday, but we’ll have another couple of guests and rider replacement again so it’s still going to be tough. They have still got a very solid team so we can’t relax off, we need to keep fighting. We certainly want to get through to a cup final and we’re in a great position again to do that.”


Rew scored 13+2 and produced some superb rides at key moments in the meeting to help the visitors battle back from eight points behind to lead.


Ipswich take a narrow two-point lead back to Foxhall for the second leg as they bid to retain the Knockout Cup.


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches host the Birmingham Brummies at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 6th June in the Knockout Cup. Tickets can be purchased on the gate and in advance here.