The Ipswich ‘Tru7.com’ Witches claimed a vital two away points as they drew 45-45 with the Scunthorpe ‘Henderson Insurance’ Scorpions in the League Cup after an action packed meeting.
The Witches were without the services of Morten Risager following the injury to his metatarsal and operated Rider Replacement at two, switching James Sarjeant to four.
The home side got off to a good start in heat one, with captain Josh Auty hunting down Witches captain Danny King, who had made the gate, and passing him on the final bend with Nicolai Klindt picking up third for a 4-2. It was looking like a 4-2 for the Witches in heat two after Paco Castagna led from the gate but mechanical gremlins struck on the final bend leaving the rest of the field to sweep through for a 4-2 to the Scorpions instead. Heat three was shared as Alex Davies took the win with Lewis Kerr and Sarjeant passing Zdenek Holub for second and third. Nico Covatti was in spectacular form in heat four as he chased Ryan Douglas for four laps before swooping round the outside on the final bend to win the heat and ensure the heat was shared.
The Witches got their first heat advantage in heat five when King led from the gate alongside teammate Kerr but Davies took Kerr to prevent a 5-1 to the Witches. The Scorpions hit back with a 4-2 of their own in heat six, with Covatti making the gate but Klindt passed the Argentine champion to claim the win, with Auty in third. Heat seven was full of passing as Kerr made the gate only to be passed by Douglas, whilst Sarjeant and Wilkinson traded places at the back with the home rider winning the battle for third. The meeting looked to be slipping away from the Witches in heat eight when the home side recorded another 4-2 with Klindt winning from the gate and Josh Bailey pipping Darryl Ritchings on the line for third to make it 28-20 to the home side.
Covatti continued his fine form on the day in heat nine when he rounded Douglas to win and keep the gap to eight points. The Witches fight back begun in heat ten when Kerr and Sarjeant flew out of the gate to take a big 5-1 and reduce the deficit to four points. The home side increased their advantage in heat 11 when Douglas beat King to the chequered flag with Wilkinson picking up third. Kerr was in fine form in heat 12 as he and Davies passed and re-passed with the Witch coming out on top to take the win with Castagna clinging on to third to get a vital 4-2 to the Witches making it 38-34 to the Scorpions with three heats to go.
Covatti was in unstoppable form as he took the win in heat 13 after passing Douglas, with King desperately trying to battle into second but the Witches had to settle for a 4-2. Sarjeant and Castagna gated and looked to be on the way to a big 5-1 for the Witches in heat 14 but Wilkinson fell at the end of the first lap with the race having to be stopped and Wilkinson going to hospital with a shoulder injury. Holub won the re-run for the home side from the gate setting up a last heat decider.
Heat 15 did not disappoint as the stunning Covatti gated, only to be taken by Klindt before re-passing the Dane to claim the win with Douglas and King trading places for third before the captain went round the outside on the final bend to ensure a vital 4-2 to the Witches meaning the final score was 45-45. The Scorpions take one point, the Witches two points.
Ipswich ‘Tru7.com’ Witches: Nico Covatti 14, Lewis Kerr 11, Danny King 9, James Sarjeant 7+2, Paco Castagna 2+1, Darryl Ritchings 2.
Scunthorpe ‘Henderson Insurance’ Scorpions: Nicolai Klindt 10, Ryan Douglas 10, Alex Davies 9, Carl Wilkinson 5, Zdenek Holub 4+1, Josh Auty 4, Josh Bailey 3+1.