Ipswich Witches 46 King's Lynn Stars 44. Huge drama in final race sees Witches home
- Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Witches survived a dramatic last heat to secure a narrow victory over rivals King's Lynn at Foxhall Stadium.
The Suffolk side went into the final race two points ahead, but both Craig Cook and Danny King had to pass the Stars' Erik Riss to grab a drawn heat and a Witches win.
King's pass on Riss on the final lap saw the Lynn man fly into the fence, but referee Mick Bates saw no unfair riding by the Witches skipper as the home fans rejoiced, the win keeping the Suffolk side's hopes of a play-off place still alive.
The Witches badly needed the victory but were basically a three-man team, King and Cook, who won eight races between them, being helped mainly by reserve Paul Starke.
Defeat would have virtually sealed any hopes the Witches had of a play-off place, but they head to Belle Vue on Monday still in the race.
It was a lovely night at Foxhall and the sun was shining brightly as the teams were introduced to the crowd.
The Witches were still without Jason Crump, fellow Aussie Rory Schlein guested at No.1, while Cameron Heeps was back in the Stars line-up after taking a couple of weeks off to recover from his shoulder injury.
- 1 Former addict marries 'guardian angel' after years of 'hell'
- 2 Care homes 'may have to close' over staffing crisis, Suffolk boss warns
- 3 Suffolk actress Ruthie Henshall leads care home protest to Downing Street
- 4 Campaigners unimpressed by government response to dentist deficit concerns
- 5 Lack of drivers having .massive impact' on Suffolk businesses
- 6 7 of Suffolk's prettiest streets
- 7 Have you seen Percy the missing dog?
- 8 Meet inspiring Posie, one - still smiling despite losing a leg to rare condition
- 9 7 great events being held in Suffolk this weekend
- 10 The show will go on! Sudbury Stagecoach saved after venue lost
The two teams had already met three times this season and the away team had won all three meetings.
Former Witch, Heeps, flew from gate two to lead all the way in the first race as Thomas Jorgensen passed Schlein to give the Stars an early heat advantage.
Starke roared round the whole field to win the reserves race in style as the Witches gained their first heat winner and the home side took the lead as skipper King and Jake Allen left the Stars in their wake, King looking very fast out front.
Cook and Starke put the Witches further ahead in the next, while King made it two out of two as he just got round the fast-starting Heeps.
It was an untidy first two turns in heat six, but Richard Lawson got the run on Schlein before Cook rounded Erik Riss on the second turn of the next.
But the Stars got themselves right back into it, the impressive Heeps joining Ricky Wells at the front as the scores closed to 25-23 in the Witches favour.
King cut back superbly on Lawson in heat nine as the Witches went back to four up, but Lynn refused to lay down, Riss and Kerr gating to bring the scores level at 30-all.
Cook won his third on the bounce in heat 11 as the scores remained level. King won his fourth race of the night as Starke passed Wells in thrilling fashion down the back straight. The Witches were now two up.
Cook produced a stunning ride in heat 13, flying through the middle of both Stars on his way to a fourth win and the Witches looked as though they were home and dry as Starke and Allen gated. But Wells caught Allen as the pair went hammer and tongs for two laps before Allen fell on the final lap.
That left the last heat decider that sent the Foxhall faithful home happy. And next up on the Heath, is Sheffield next Thursday - the Witches and the Tigers the two protagonists going for that final play-off spot.