Image courtesy of Phil McGlynn

By Henry Chard


SHEFFIELD 44: Jack Holder 8, Kyle Howarth © 2+1, Chris Holder 11, Josh Pickering 6+1, Tai Woffinden 14, Luke Killeen (G) 0, Dan Gilkes (RS) 3. Team Manager: Simon Stead

IPSWICH 46: Emil Sayfutdinov 8+1, Dan Thompson (RS) 7+1, Adam Ellis 6+1, Ryan Douglas (G) 5+1, Jason Doyle © 8+1, Keynan Rew 8+1, Jordan Jenkins 4+2. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins



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The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches recorded an excellent away win against reigning champions Sheffield on Monday night in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership.

The visitors were missing captain Danny King through injury with Ryan Doulgas guesting in his place whilst the hosts had Luke Killeen in for the injured Jason Edwards at reserve. The two sides met in last season’s Knockout Cup final and play-off final and there was little to separate the teams throughout this contest, but the Witches edged ahead in heat 12 and saw out the result to consolidate their position at the top of the table. Emil Sayfutdinov, Jason Doyle and Keynan Rew all scored 8+1.

Sheffield recorded a 4-2 in heat one with Sayfutdinov unable to get amongst the points despite his best efforts. The Witches posted an immediate response in heat two as Rew and Jordan Jenkins raced to a maximum. Chris Holder won heat three ahead of Adam Ellis whilst Josh Pickering and Douglas traded places at the back, but it was the Tigers man who got the point for a 4-2 to level the scores. Tai Woffinden was a clear winner in heat four as Doyle came from the back into second to ensure a share of the points, leaving it all square at 12-12.

There was another 3-3 in heat five and Doyle was a comfortable winner in heat six as the points were shared again. The 3-3s kept on coming with another in heat seven as Woffinden couldn’t be caught. Dan Thompson rode a smart first turn to win heat eight and with Jenkins third it handed a heat advantage to the away side, giving them a slender 23-25 advantage.

Sheffield then went ahead with a 5-1 in heat nine as Chris Holder won and Pickering won the battle for second, making a move on Rew stick on the final lap. Ellis was pipped to the chequered flag in heat 10 as Jack Holder passed the Ipswich man on the last lap but with Douglas getting past Kyle Howarth at the back it was a 3-3. It was level again after heat 11 as Sayfutdinov beat Woffinden and Thompson picked up a point. Rew held off Chris Holder in fine style to win heat 12 as the visitors edged ahead to make it 35-37.

A 3-3 in heat 13 kept Ipswich ahead and there was another in heat 14 as Rew passed Dan Gilkes for third with a terrific move. That left it down to a last-heat decider and whilst Woffinden won it, both Sayfutdinov and Doyle were in the points to secure a first Ipswich win at Sheffield since 2014.


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

“A brilliant result that carries on our terrific start to the season. I’m delighted that all seven contributed and we were so solid again. We were criticised heavily last year for being a two-man team, but we are far from that this year. There is still more to come from us, and I am not getting carried away with one win at Sheffield at this time of year because I think we will have a lot of tough battles against them this year, but it is nice to go 1-0 up!

“We talked about not having won here for so long before the start because the reason we won that night was because we were solid throughout, and everyone scored. If you looked at the two score charts then compared to tonight, they are very similar. We knew what we needed to do, and this year compared to last year we carried on past the halfway mark in the meeting instead of dropping away. We stuck in there and got our rewards at the end.

“All seven riders contributed, and I think you are seeing a steady improvement in Jordan in the last few meetings. Keynan has taken it up a level and Dan has too. Our younger members of the side are massively contributing and that is the difference, it is plain and simple.

“I will enjoy tonight but it is a long season ahead, we could well have to come here in the cup and play-offs and if we lose those meetings, no one is going to remember tonight. It is a great result which keeps the ball rolling and shows we mean business again this year, but we are not getting carried away.”


Thompson was brilliant once again, scoring 7+1 from the number two position and showing he can more than make the step up into the main body of the team as a Rising Star.


Ipswich strengthen their position at the top of the table with another two points whilst Sheffield suffer their first home defeat of the season and stay third.


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches host the Birmingham Brummies at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 16th May in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership. Tickets can be purchased on the gate and in advance here.