The ‘Tru7.com’ Witches claimed two away points at Sheffield on Thursday evening as the two sides could not be separated in an enthralling 45-45 draw at Owlerton.
There was nothing between the two teams throughout the meeting which set up a last heat decider that the returning Jason Garrity won under severe pressure from Danny King to ensure a share of the spoils on the night. King top scored for the Witches with 12.
The home side went ahead in heat one as Simon Stead gated ahead of King with Josh Bates in third for the early heat advantage. Joe Jacobs won heat two managing to fend off Arthur Sissis on the line in a shared heat. Garrity started as he meant to go on in heat three beating the Witches pair of Nico Covatti and Morten Risager to the flag in a 3-3. Heat four was a fantastic heat as Nathan Greaves led and partner Kyle Howarth looked to be joining him for a 5-1. Ben Barker had other ideas though and had a terrific battle with Howarth before getting the better of him and setting his sights on Greaves who he stormed past on the final lap to take the win leaving the score 13-11 to the Tigers.
Garrity won heat five holding off King for the first time of the evening with James Sarjeant in third for another 3-3. The home side extended their narrow lead in heat six though as Bates and Stead eased to the first 5-1 of the night. However, the Witches responded in heat seven as Covatti won with Risager in third for the first Witches heat advantage of the meeting. Sarjeant dominated heat eight and it looked like it was going to be the Witches’ first 5-1 of the night with Jacobs in second but after continuous pressure from Bates, the Tigers man snatched second on the line to limit the damage to just a 4-2 making it 25-23 to the Tigers.
The Tigers threatened to take control of the meeting in heat nine as Garrity won again with Dimitri Berge in second for a 5-1 to the home side. Covatti was in fine form in heat ten as he chased down leader Bates and dived up the inside on the first bend of the third lap to take the win for a 3-3. The Witches reeled the home side back in again in heat 11 as King and Sarjeant hit a 5-1 with Sissis doing everything to pass Sarjeant on the final lap but the Witches man held on to ensure the maximum. Berge won heat 12 for the home side in a shared heat leaving it all to race for at 37-35 to the Tigers.
It was all level after heat 13 as King won ahead of Stead but it was the battle for third that wowed the crowd as Barker chased Howarth for three laps round the outside before finally going round the home rider on the final lap coming out of turn two. Garrity’s fine form continued in heat 14 with another win as Jacobs clung onto a point on the line ahead of Sissis for a shared heat that set up a last heat decider with the score 42-42.
The first staging of heat 15 was stopped after Covatti was left in a heap after Stead took his front wheel coming out of the second turn, a move that saw the home skipper excluded from the re-run. Covatti was able to walk back to the pits and take his part in the re-run after being seen to. In the re-run Garrity seemed to jump the start but the heat was allowed to continue and the home rider produced a fantastic ride to hold off severe pressure from King all four laps and complete his maximum leaving the final score 45-45.
Team Manager Ritchie Hawkins was pleased with his side’s performance and is hopeful of more points on the road in the remainder of the season.
“We came here to win the meeting,” said Hawkins. “We’re in good form and we are going to go everywhere to win a meeting. A draw is certainly not a bad result, we’ve pulled a point back on Sheffield who are above us in the league and on their home track too. If everyone rides like that every week and we can keep that up, we can pick up some more points and wins on the road. We can just look at the next one now.”
Hawkins was pleased to see his side carry on the momentum built from last month’s run of home wins.
“It’s a tough place to come and we’re doing well after a good run of meetings but we’ve got to keep that consistency going. Hopefully the inconsistency is behind us now and it’s onto Thursday now.”
The boss had no complaints over Garrity’s start in heat 15 saying it’s part and parcel of the sport.
“It’s hard to see from the pits but the boys weren’t particularly pleased with Jason a couple of times and they are saying he had a big roller in heat 15 but it’s one of them really; you win some you lose some and it’s part of speedway.”
Hawkins is now looking ahead to a big week next week for the Witches with three meetings on the horizon.
“We need another win Thursday to keep that momentum going into next Saturday and Sunday at Workington and Glasgow.”
Sheffield ‘Window Centre’ Tigers 45
Simon Stead (c) 8+2
Josh Bates 8
Dimitri Berge 5+1
Jason Garrity 15 (Maximum)
Kyle Howarth 3+1
Arthur Sissis 3
Nathan Greaves 3+1
Ipswich ‘Tru7.com’ Witches 45
Danny King (c) 12
James Sarjeant 6+2
Nico Covatti 10+2
Morten Risager 4+1
Ben Barker 6
Joe Jacobs 7+1
Jake Knight (g) 0
Premier League table
Next Meeting: PL 11th August vs Scunthorpe (home)