IPSWICH 41: Cameron Heeps 11, Krystian Pieszczek 7, Jake Allen 6+2, Richard Lawson 6, Danny King © 6, Chris Harris 3+1, Edward Kennett 2. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
WOLVES 37: Jacob Thorssell 9+1, Kyle Howarth 7+4, Rory Schlein © 7, Sam Masters 7 Nick Morris 5+1, Ryan Douglas 1, Luke Becker 1. Team Manager: Peter Adams
REFEREE: C. Durno
VENUE: Foxhall Stadium
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The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches were victorious at Foxhall beating Wolverhampton 41-37 in the Premiership on Thursday night with the result standing despite being abandoned after 13 heats due to rain.
After the UK experienced one of the hottest days on record, it was the visitors who started the brighter and they led by two points after five races. Then the thunderstorm came as rain started to intervene, but Ipswich started to settle down in the difficult conditions to take a narrow two-point lead after eight heats. With the storm seemingly moving on the two sides could not be separated with four consecutive shared heats. However, the thunderstorm returned and after a Witches 4-2 in heat 13 the decision was taken by the referee to abandon the meeting with track conditions not safe for racing. Cameron Heeps top scored for the home team with 11 points.
Rory Schlein won the opening heat of the night as Heeps managed to prevent Ryan Douglas taking second but with Chris Harris retiring at the back it was a 4-2 to Wolves to open proceedings. Kyle Howarth won heat two for the visitors despite plenty of movement at the start as the points were shared. Captain Danny King was excluded after a fall in heat three with Jacob Thorssell seemingly locking up ahead of him, a decision that did not go down well on the terraces or the skipper. It looked like being a 5-1 to the away side in the re-run as Thorssell and Nick Morris led. However, Morris suffered machinery issues on the final bend, leaving Richard Lawson to take second as Morris rolled over the line for a point, meaning a 4-2 to Wolverhampton giving them an 11-7 lead early on.
Howarth replaced Luke Becker for Wolves in heat four as Jake Allen beat Sam Masters to the chequered flag but Krystian Pieszczek was at the back having been passed by Howarth meaning a 3-3. King won heat five ahead of Schlein as Lawson picked up a point for a first heat advantage of the night to the home side. Becker replaced Howarth in heat six and with the rain starting to fall the home team then went ahead with a 5-1 thanks to Heeps and Harris, giving Ipswich a 19-17 lead.
The visitors responded immediately in heat seven and re-took the lead with a 5-1 of their own thanks to Morris and Thorssell with Kennett retiring on the opening lap. The pendulum swung once again, and the home side were back in front after heat eight as Heeps and Allen recorded a maximum with Douglas a faller for the away side. Heat nine was called back as Howarth was warned for moving at the start. Lawson got the better of Masters to win the re-run but King couldn’t get past Howarth to take third and it was a 3-3 that left the hosts with a narrow 28-26 lead.
Heeps won heat 10 from the gate as the points were shared again. Howarth replaced Douglas in heat 11 as Pieszczek won but it was another 3-3 with Howarth winning the battle for third against Kennett as the pair exchanged moves at the back. With the rain continuing to fall the action continued in difficult conditions and King won heat 12 from the gate but yet again it was a 3-3, leaving things finely poised with Ipswich 37-35 up.
Pieszczek won heat 13 ahead of Masters as Harris passed Schlein for third, meaning a 4-2 to the hosts that gave them a four-point cushion. However, that was to be the last action of the night with the rain falling heavily and lightning over the stadium, the referee decided to abandon the clash with the track unsafe for racing. With 10 heats having been completed, that meant the result would stand with Ipswich taking a 41-37 win as they returned to winning ways at home.
ZOG ENERGY & VOLVO TRUCK AND BUS RIDER OF THE NIGHT…
Heeps picked up both of the Rider of the Night awards from the sponsors after he dropped just a point from four rides, scoring 11.
With the meeting so finely poised, it looked like going to a last-heat decider. However, the weather ensured that heat 13 was to be the ‘last-heat’ decider. Not knowing when the meeting was going end and with just a two-point lead the Witches knew that could not afford to let their opponents get ahead. A heat advantage to Wolves in heat 13 would have meant the scores were level and a 5-1 would have put them ahead and ultimately given them the win. Pieszczek stood up to the task though as he won and with Harris passing Schlein for third, the Witches increased their lead to four points and ensured they would take the win.
WHAT IT MEANS…
Ipswich collect three points for this win that moves them up to second in the Premiership table. Wolves take a consolation point after a narrow defeat and they stay fifth in the table, just outside the play-off spots.
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Belle Vue Aces at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 1st August in a Premiership fixture at 7.30pm.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Swindon hammered Belle Vue 58-32 at the Abbey Stadium, whilst King’s Lynn moved off the bottom of the table with a 55-35 win over Peterborough.