WOLVES 45: Luke Becker 10+1, Jacob Thorssell 9, Rory Schlein © 8, Sam Masters 7+2, Kyle Howarth 6+1, Nick Morris 4, Ryan Douglas 1+1. Team Manager: Peter Adams
IPSWICH 45: Chris Harris 12, Richard Lawson 11+1, Jake Allen 7, Edward Kennett 6+1, Krystian Pieszczek 4+1 Cameron Heeps 4, Danny King © 1+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: B. Horley
VENUE: Monmore Green
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches produced a fantastic comeback as they drew 45-45 at Wolverhampton on Monday night in the Premiership.
The home team steadily built up an eight-point lead in the first half of the meeting before the Witches began to claw back that advantage mid-meeting. The visitors still found themselves six points down going into heat 14 but team manager Ritchie Hawkins brought in Chris Harris as a tactical substitute and he and Richard Lawson rode to a 5-1 that took the clash to a last-heat decider. The same pair recorded a 4-2 in the final heat of the night that ensured the Witches took two valuable league points. Harris top scored for Ipswich with 12.
Heat one didn’t start well for Harris though as he fell on the third turn and was excluded. Cameron Heeps stepped up to the task in the re-run and won to prevent Wolves from capitalising early on. Edward Kennett was the leader in heat two, but he agonisingly pulled up with bike problems which handed Wolves a 5-1. Jacob Thorssell then fell in the early stages of heat three and was excluded from the race. As Heeps did in the opening heat, Nick Morris handled the pressure of being the lone rider for his team and went and won the re-run leaving the home side 11-7 up.
Jake Allen took the win in heat four but with Krystian Pieszczek at the back it was another share of the points. The two riders who fell earlier in the evening had better outings in heat five with Thorssell taking the win ahead of Harris and Morris picked up a point for a 4-2 that extended the home team’s lead. Home skipper Rory Schlein won heat six with the Witches pair of Kennett and Pieszczek both in the points for a 3-3 that left Wolves leading 21-15.
Sam Masters was quickest in heat seven as Lawson did well to keep Kyle Howarth behind him in but that 4-2 stretched the lead to eight points for the home side. Allen was the winner again in heat eight with Luke Becker second as Heeps never gave up and pipped Ryan Douglas on the run to the line to take third and record the first heat advantage of the night to the Witches. The away side narrowed the deficit further in heat nine as Pieszczek and Kennett teamed up for a 5-1 to go just two points behind, with Wolves 28-26 up.
The home side brought in Becker to replace Douglas in heat 10 and it proved to be a good decision as he passed Lawson to win with teammate Schlein third for a 4-2 to the hosts. Ipswich boss Hawkins made a change of his own in heat 11 bringing in Kennett for Heeps but it was all about Harris in this one. The home pair of Masters and Howarth made the gate and looked good for a maximum early on but the Witches number one first passed Howarth before setting his sights on Masters and he found his way to the front to win and prevent any heat advantage to the hosts. Hawkins made another change in heat 12 replacing the struggling Danny King with Allen. Thorssell couldn’t be caught from the gate as he won ahead of Kennett as Becker took third having passed Allen. That 4-2 to the home team left them 39-33 ahead with three to race.
Harris was in fine form again in heat 13, this time winning from the gate in a shared heat. With the visitors six points down, Hawkins brought in Harris as a tactical substitute in heat 14 and it proved to be a very fruitful move. Harris reeled off another win and was joined at the front by Lawson for a 5-1 to the Witches that took the tie to a last-heat decider. Lawson and Harris made the start in the final heat but Thorssell managed to split the Witches pair as Harris then had to defend third place from Schlein for the remainder of the race to give the visitors a precious heat advantage. That 4-2 to the Witches made the final score 45-45 as the Suffolk side produced a great response to losing at home last week.
RIDER OF THE NIGHT…
Harris responded superbly after a fall in heat one and was key in the comeback. ‘Bomber’ reeled off three straight wins in the latter part of the meeting which included a tactical substitute ride in heat 14 as he teamed up with Lawson for a vital 5-1. The Witches number one then had to ride well in heat 15 to hold off Schlein for third and that sealed the draw for the away side.
With the Witches six point down heading into heat 14 that allowed Hawkins to use a tactical substitute and he brought in the man in-form Harris. ‘Bomber’ went on and won as he and Lawson recorded a 5-1 that put the away side just two points behind going into the final heat. The atmosphere changed at Monmore Green and the Witches pounced for the draw.
WHAT IT MEANS…
Ipswich pick up two points for an away draw that consolidates their position, third in the table. Wolves take a point that leaves them fifth in the Premiership and with work to do to make the play-offs.
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to face the Poole Pirates at Wimborne Road on Thursday 18th July in a Premiership fixture at 7.30pm.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Belle Vue won 50-40 away at Peterborough to put them top of the Premiership.