By Mike Bacon
Jim Buxton & Friends
IPSWICH 47: Jason Doyle 13+1, Erik Riss R/R, Danny King © 9+1, Keynan Rew 4, Emil Sayfutdinov 11+2, Danyon Hume 8+1, Joe Thompson (RS) 2. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
SHEFFIELD 43: Jack Holder 4+2, Kyle Howarth © 6+1, Adam Ellis 7, David Bellego 1, Scott Nicholls (g) 11, Lewis Kerr 10+3, Dan Gilkes (RS) 4. Team Manager: Simon Stead
REFEREE: M. Bates
The Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches inflicted on Sheffield Tigers’ their first Premiership defeat of the season in a thrilling meeting at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday.
The Witches and the Tigers went into the final race all level at 42-42 and when Sheffield guest for the night, the impressive Scott Nicholls, raced away after a tight first turn, it looked as though the tie was heading for a draw and a Super Heat, with Adam Ellis at the back for the visitors.
However, Witches No.1 Jason Doyle caught and then flew up the inside of Nicholls going into turn one on lap three to pass the Tigers man. Nicholls fell under the pressure as Emil Sayfutdinov nipped through into second place, and the Witches grabbed the 47-43 victory, much to the joy of the home crowd.
In a nip and tuck encounter, it was the Tigers who took an early lead after Lewis Kerr and Dan Gilkes made the most of Danyon Hume’s tapes exclusion in heat two. Danny King won the next, with Nicholls beginning his excellent night with a win over Sayfutdinov in heat four.
King and Doyle won again, before the Witches netted the first 5-1 of the evening via Sayfutdinov and the fast-starting Hume, to lead by six points after heat seven.
However, two 5-1 maximums from the visitors in heats eight and nine turned the meeting on its head, as Sheffield took a two-point lead at 26-28. But Ipswich hit straight back with another 5-1 as the meeting ebbed and flowed.
King fell in heat 12 and the Tigers regained the lead, before Nicholls showed all his class to hold off Ipswich’s top two, Doyle and Sayfutdinov in a ferocious heat 13 with Sheffield leading 38-40 with two to go.
Hume continued his fine evening with a tapes to flag victory in the penultimate race and with Keynan Rew picking up a vital third place, it was all square going into the last heat of the night, where Doyle and Sayfutdinov did it again for the Witches.
REACTION FROM THE BOSS
Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Thursday’s win over Sheffield.
“I’m delighted to get the win against a very strong team. At this stage of the season any victory against strong teams like Sheffield are good ones. Missing Erik Riss is making it hard now, and I’d have taken a four-point win at the start of the night to be honest.
“Right now, we just need to win meetings and keep ourselves in the play-off race, so that when the boys get a bit more experience, we can step it up another level come the summer.
“Obviously there were some top performances again tonight from our heat leaders, but Danyon Hume was also very good for us. He’s gone up a level these last two meetings this week. That’s probably him having more time on the bike, as he’s coming back from injury from last season.
“His determination is so good. He doesn’t care who he’s racing against, beating Max Fricke and Dan Bewley the last two meetings before tonight. It’s such a massive bonus having him at reserve because he can beat anyone, as he’s proving.
“At the end of the meeting we had a little team talk out on the track. I just wanted to say well done to everyone, I was so pleased with their determination and getting the job done. We’ve got a week off now, but I wanted to emphasise to them the importance of our next meeting here, against King’s Lynn. We very much want to win that, and the riders know that.”
JIM BUXTON & FRIENDS RIDER OF THE NIGHT
Hume was the pick after scoring 8+1 from reserve.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Witches bounce back from defeat last time out in the Premiership at Foxhall and move up the table with this win. This was Sheffield’s first league defeat of the season. In the night’s other meeting, Belle Vue and Leicester drew, with the Aces winning the Super Heat, to go top of the table.
The Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches host the King’s Lynn Stars at Foxhall Stadium on Monday 1st May in the Premiership. Tickets can be purchased online in advance here and on the gate.