Danny King crashes out of cup final as Ipswich Witches’ glory hopes are dashed
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches 45 Peterborough Panthers 45 Agg: 88-92
Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King crashed out of Thursday night’s knock-out cup final against Peterborough Panthers, as the Foxhall side’s bid for cup glory was left in tatters.
King was hit by his own team-mate Nathan Greaves as the pair exited bend two in heat six, as the pair looked as though they may be on their way to a 5-1 maximum – until Greaves picked up grip and hit King.
The Witches skipper flew into the fence, knocking down several fence panels along the way and was out of the meeting with a suspected broken wrist.
With King’s crash, the home side’s hopes of victory, in front of another bumper Foxhall crowd, went out of the window, although bravely they kept in the tie, taking it to a last-heat decider, the meeting finishing 45-45, as the Panthers won 92-88 on aggregate.
Ipswich could have still drawn the meeting in that final heat, but it proved a step too far for young Cameron Heeps, who had been Ipswich’s best rider all night – the youngster found himself muscled out on turn one as Peterborough riders Chris Harris and Ben Barker tucked in for a share of the heat behind Ipswich’s Scott Nicholls – and with it won the cup.
At the time of King’s crash, the Suffolk side were four ahead and level on aggregate and there is little doubt with King fully fit they would have gone on to win the cup.
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The fact Ipswich lost at Peterborough without Rory Schlein who crashed out in his first race, by four points and then drew at home to the Panthers with King contributing just three says it all.
It has been a cruel 2017 for Ritchie Hawkins’ side, although a season they should look back on with pride.
To reach the Championship play-off final and KO Cup final was a grand effort, especially after so many injuries. No silverware, but not for the want of trying.
Back to the racing on Thursday night and King just got the drop on Ben Barker on the run-in to the first bend in heat one as the Witches picked up an early heat advantage, with Kyle Newman third, and Greaves made it two Witches heat wins in the first two races in the next.
Heeps was the next Witches victor in heat three but just as Ipswich looked likely to level the scores up Newman fell while in third trying to pass Ulrich Ostergaard.
Nicholls flew from the start in heat four and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn passed Connor Mountain as Ipswich could not get a lead.
However, they did draw level in heat five after Heeps won his second race and Newman did well to pass Bradley Wilson-Dean in style.
King crashed out in heat six and in the re-run Panthers won their first race of the night.
The wind had been taken out of the home side’s sails but Nicholls won the next as Greaves fell at the back. The Witches were not to be shaken and Greaves showed character to win heat eight as Heeps passed Parkinson-Blackburn and shepherded his team-mate home.
It put the Witches ahead again on the night and they stretched that lead to four after Heeps won his fourth race of the night. This was gutsy stuff from the Witches but without King in heat 10, the Panthers took full advantage with a 5-1 to level the meeting up. Barker and King had a thrilling run-in to the line with the Panthers man getting the victory and when Paul Starke lowered Heeps’ colours in the next the Panthers still led.
Nicholls passed Barker in heat 13 and Lambert won heat 14 as Harris and Barker shared the final race, with Heeps falling while typically trying everything to catch up the Panthers pair.
Peterborough enjoyed their success and they deserved it, making the most of their good fortune.
For the Witches, it’s time to lick the wounds, but not for long – the new season is just five months away.
Ipswich: D King 3, R/R, C Heeps 13+1, K Newman 5, S Nicholls 13, N Greaves 8+1, C Mountain 3+1
Peterborough: B Barker 9+1, B Wilson-Dean 0, P Starke 8+2, U Ostergaard 6, C Harris 12, S Lambert 6+1, J Parkinson-Blackburn 4+1
1 King, Barker, Newman, Wilson-Dean 56.3 4-2
2 Greaves, Parkinson-Blackburn, Lambert, Mountain 57.8 7-5
3 Heeps, Ostergaard, Starke, Newman (f) 58.8 10-8
4 Nicholls, Harris, Parkinson-Blackburn, Mountain56.8 13-11
5 Heeps, Barker, Newman, Wilson-Dean 56.6 17-13
6 Harris, Mountain, Lambert, Greaves (f/x) 58.5 19-17
7 Nicholls, Ostergaard, Starke, Greaves (f) 57.3 22-20
8 Greaves, Heeps, Parkinson-Blackburn, Wilson-Dean27-21
9 Heeps, Harris, Newman, Parkinson-Blackburn 57.4 31-23
10 Starke, Ostergaard, Greaves, Mountain 57.6 32-28
11 Barker, Nicholls, Lambert, Mountain 57.4 34-32
12 Starke, Heeps, Greaves, Parkinson-Blackburn 57.1 37-35
13 Harris, Nicholls, Barker, Mountain 57.4 39-39
14 Lambert, Newman, Mountain, Ostergaard 59.1 42-42
15 Nicholls, Harris, Barker, Heeps (f) 58.8 45-45
Aggregate: Ipswich 88 Peterborough 92