By Henry Chard
IPSWICH 43: Niels-Kristian Iversen 13, Jake Allen 9+2, Chris Harris 8, Danny King © 6+2, Richard Lawson 5+2, James Sarjeant 2+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
POOLE 47: Nicolai Klindt 13+1, Brady Kurtz 12+1, Jack Holder 8, Nico Covatti 7+1, Thomas H Jonasson 5+1, Ricky Wells 2. Team Manager: Neil Middleditch
REFEREE: B. Horley
VENUE: Foxhall Stadium
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The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches were beaten 43-47 by the Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night in the Premiership.
A new-look Witches side started brightly and led by four early on, but a mid-meeting slump proved costly as the hosts failed to win a race from heat three to 12, allowing the visitors to build an eight-point lead going into the final three heats. Ipswich rallied in the two heats that followed to take it to a last-heat decider, but the Pirates secured the win with a heat advantage in the final race of the night. It was the third defeat on home shale this season for the Witches and the result leaves their play-off spot in the balance going into the final two meetings of the season. New signing Niels-Kristian Iversen top scored with 13 points.
Grand Prix rider Iversen joined the club on Monday and he started life at Foxhall with a comfortable win in heat one as Jake Allen, in as a rider replacement for the injured Cameron Heeps, picked up third for a heat advantage to the home side. Allen was back out in heat two and he swooped around the field on the opening turn to win as partner and new signing James Sarjeant forced his way past Thomas H Jonasson going into the third turn of the opening lap to take third, resulting in another heat advantage to the hosts. Nicolai Klindt won heat three for the Pirates as Chris Harris and Richard Lawson relegated Nico Covatti to the back early on, meaning a 3-3 gave Ipswich an 11-7 lead.
Brady Kurtz won heat four as Witches captain Danny King went from fourth to second during the race in another shared heat. The scores were level after heat five as Jack Holder and Covatti raced to the first 5-1 of the evening. Kurtz got the better of Iversen to win heat six as Sarjeant once again produced a good move to dive up the inside of Jonasson going into the third turn of the opening lap for third as the points were shared, making it 18-18.
Poole went ahead in heat seven with another maximum courtesy of Jonasson and Klindt as King and Sarjeant were left battling at the back. Covatti took a comfortable win in heat eight to keep his side ahead. Heat nine was stopped as Jonasson fell and was excluded from the race. The Poole pair had made the gate and were on a 5-1 with Harris breathing down their necks. The Ipswich man went between the pair of them going into the third turn of the second lap which resulted in Jonasson hitting the fence hard. The referee deemed the Pirates reserve to be the cause of the stoppage and the interval was taken as the Swede was checked over by paramedics. In the re-run, Kurtz was the winner again, keeping the Pirates 25-29 ahead.
Klindt and Kurtz extended the away side’s lead in heat 10 with a 5-1 which forced Ipswich team manager Ritchie Hawkins to bring in Iversen as a tactical substitute in heat 11. However, Holder took the win for Poole as the points were shared with Covatti doing well to stay on the bike at the back after getting a little too close to King on the final lap. The Witches provided a race winner for the first time since heat two in heat 12 as Harris won from the gate but Allen was left at the back after getting out of shape on the first and second turn of the opening lap, meaning Poole held a 32-40 lead with three to race.
Iversen and King made the gate in heat 13 and were looking good for a 5-1 to get their side back in the contest but Kurtz fell on the second turn of the opening lap and did not clear the track, forcing a re-run. Iversen won at the second attempt but Holder passed King meaning the Witches had to settle for a 4-2. Lawson and Allen ensured it would go to a last-heat decider as they hit a 5-1 in heat 14 to put the Witches just two points behind going into the final race. However, it was too little too late as Klindt held off Iversen to win and Kurtz passed Harris for third, meaning a 4-2 to Poole which gave them a 43-47 win at Foxhall, their second victory in Suffolk this season.
WEST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT & PGM CARPENTRY RIDERS OF THE NIGHT…
Debutant Iversen took the PGM Carpentry Rider of the Night award after top scoring with 13 whilst West Property Management chose Jake Allen after he scored 9+2.
Kurtz’s exclusion in heat 13 which forced a re-run may have cost the Witches two points with Iversen and King on a 5-1 at the time, and the Ipswich duo were only able to record a 4-2 in the re-run. However, either way it would have gone to a last-heat decider. Ultimately, the Pirates were quicker from the gate all night and it proved to be the case in heat 15 as no one was able to stop Klindt and Kurtz claimed third to confirm the away victory.
WHAT IT MEANS…
Poole take three points that keeps them second, level on points with leaders Swindon. Ipswich take nothing from the meeting and stay third, looking over their shoulder at the chasing pack.
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Swindon Robins at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 5th September in a Premiership fixture at 7.30pm.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Swindon demolished Peterborough 65-25 at the Abbey to continue their phenomenal form and stay top of the Premiership.