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Ipswich Eagles can’t find success at newly-formed cycle speedway KO Cup final at Coventry

PUBLISHED: 10:14 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:14 20 September 2017

Ipswich's Charlie Rumbold, right, and Wednesfield's Haydn Rowley race to the line at Coventry. All photos: PHIL CLARKE

Ipswich's Charlie Rumbold, right, and Wednesfield's Haydn Rowley race to the line at Coventry. All photos: PHIL CLARKE

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Ipswich Eagles’ optimism for success faltered at the cycle speedway Knockout Cup Final in Coventry over the weekend, as they finished in third place behind eventual winners Wednesfield and Newport, writes Phil Clarke.

Richie Fellgett of Ipswich leads Wednesfield's Lee Kemp Richie Fellgett of Ipswich leads Wednesfield's Lee Kemp

Hopes were certainly high the Whitton Sports Centre-based club, despite not being a full strength, could still succeed against three of the top clubs in the country at this newly-formed fours competition.

Ipswich had beaten Great Blakenham, Hethersett and Hellingly in an exciting South East final, held at Ipswich the week before.

However, the final proved a step too far.

Yet the Eagles began well and were neck and neck with Wednesfield and at half-time just five points separated the top three teams – Astley & Tyldsley were the fourth team in the competition.

Ipswich Eagles side that finished third in the KO Cup final at Coventry: Back row, left to right: Leon Mower, Alex Harvey, manager Les Fellgett, Ash Hill, Fraser Harris. Front row, left to right: Charlie Rumbold, Ben Clarke, Matt Hill, Richie Fellgett and Reece Johnson. Ipswich Eagles side that finished third in the KO Cup final at Coventry: Back row, left to right: Leon Mower, Alex Harvey, manager Les Fellgett, Ash Hill, Fraser Harris. Front row, left to right: Charlie Rumbold, Ben Clarke, Matt Hill, Richie Fellgett and Reece Johnson.

However, two crashes cost Ipswich dear, both Matt Hill and Charlie Rumbold leading their heats then coming down while battling Newport riders, a possible eight points becoming one as the referee judged them racing incidents or the rider’s own mistake.

Ipswich were still just five points off the lead going in to the gate fours in heats 21 to 28 of the 32-heat match, but a disappointing 13 points from a possible 32 dropped them in to third.

A strong finish with heat wins from Richie Fellgett, Matt and Ashley Hill could not close the gap as Wednesfield and Newport finished with tactical riding to defend their positions.

The fours format kept the racing tight in this new competition, as few riders opted to ‘sit’ their position until the final lap.

Ipswich's youngest member of their side, Ben Clarke, right, in action at Coventry Ipswich's youngest member of their side, Ben Clarke, right, in action at Coventry

Wednesfield, Ipswich and Newport took 10 heat wins each to Astley’s two.

But the day eventually went to midlands side Wednesfield whose overall team strength from 1-8 proved decisive.

Final scores: Wednesfield 97, Newport 87, Ipswich 81, Astley & Tyldesley 52

Ipswich scores: Ben Clarke 7, Richard Fellgett 12, Matt Hill 11, Ashley Hill 12, Fraser Harris 7, Charlie Rumbold 11, Reece Johnson 2, Leon Mower 15, Alex Harvey 4

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