Ipswich Witches heartache at Poole... Team boss Ritchie Hawkins gives his views...
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Poole Pirates 46 Ipswich Witches 44
Poole Pirates gained a last-heat 5-1 maximum as Ipswich Witches were beaten in heartbreaking fashion on the south coast on Thursday night.
The Suffolk side had led throughout this Supporters' Trophy meeting - twice by six points. But a succession of falls and bike issues hampered their hopes of success and it was the home side to grabbed all three points in the final race.
It leaves the Witches unlikely to top the southern group and reach the final.
However, Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins was proud of the way his team rode.
"We've had a team get together and I told them how proud I was of them tonight," he said.
"We came here gunning for four points not just a win, so we really pushed it. 'Bomber' (Chris Harris) has blown an engine while leading and Danny King has hit a hole and hit his team-mate in another. Those two races alone cost us so many points.
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"That's our best away performance of the season and although we didn't win and our heads are down now, in the morning when we reflect we will see how well we have done.
"Of course I'd have loved to have won but we need to ride like this again at Peterborough on Monday and if we do we can do well."
The Witches got off to the most perfect of starts as Richard Lawson and Harris gained a 5-1 heat advantage from the outside gates. Lawson with the fastest time round Wimborne Road this season 59.96
The Suffolk side kept up their positive start as Jake Allen, who has been in such good form for the Foxhall side, won the reserves race, with partner Cameron Heeps picking up a third place.
It was already the Witches who were six ahead. But Danny King was on the deck in the next after a tight first turn.
It was all four back and in the re-run it was Kristian Pieszczek for the Witches who shot to the front in a drawn heat three.
David Bellego passed Nico Covatti for third place in another drawn race four.
Heat five was a corker with Poole guest Scott Nicholls and Harris having a real ding-dong, before bad luck struck the Ipswich No.1 as his bike packed up on the last turn.
It gifted Poole a 4-2 and they gained another in the next but only after Heeps passed Worrall to split the Pirates pair. King and Pieszczek were looking good in heat seven, but both Witches got in trouble on the pits turn, King disqualified as it was his bike richoted into Pieszczek.
In the re-run Klindt and Pieszczek got tangled up and the pair went down. They tried again and it was the lone Witch Pieszczek, who won his second race of the night.
Allen and Lawson were impressing and gated to a 5-1 in heat eight, as the Witches went six up again. Pieszczek was riding well but he fell on turn four while leading heat 10 and the Witches had again lost the initiative, as the scores levelled.
Lawson and Harris hit straight back however gating to another Witches 5-1.
King was having a trying night and he fell again in heat 12 as the Pirates levelled it up once more. Harris was looking much more like his old self after two quiet meetings for the Witches and he passed Nicholls as Ipswich took the lead with two races to go.
Holder won the penultimate heat before the Pirates shot to victory in the final race.
1 Lawson, Harris, Worrall, Holder 59.6 1-5
2 Allen, Busk-Jakobsen, Heeps, Covatti 61.6 3-9
3 Pieszczek, Nicholls, Grajczonek, King 60.2 6-12
4 Klindt, Allen, Bellego, Covatti 60.2 9-15
5 Nicholls, Lawson, Grajczonek, Harris (r) 60.5 13-17
6 Holder, Heeps, Worrall, Bellego 60.9 17-19
7 Pieszczek, Covatti, Klindt, King (f/x) 60.7 20-22
8 Allen, Lawson, Busk-Jakobsen, Worrall 61.6 21-27
9 Grajczonek, Bellego, Nicholls, Heeps 60.3 25-29
10 Holder, Worrall, King, Pieszczek (f) 61.3 30-30
11 Lawson, Harris, Busk-Jakobsen, Klindt 61.2 31-35
12 Grajczonek, Holder, Bellego, King (f) 60.8 36-36
13 Harris, Nicholls, Pieszczek, Busk-Jakobsen (ex), Klindt (t/ex) 60.1 38-40
14 Holder, Harris, Lawson, Klindt 61.3 41-43
15 Nicholls, Grajczonek, Allen, Pieszczek 61.6 46-44
Poole 3 pts. Witches 1 pt.
Poole: S.Nicholls 11 , J.Holder 11+1, J.Grajczonek 10+2, N.Busk Jakobsen 4 , N.Klindt 4+1, R.Worrall 4+1, N.Covatti 2
Ipswich: R.Lawson 11+2, C.Harris 9+2, J.Allen 8+1, K.Pieszczek 7 , D.Bellego 5 , C.Heeps 3 , D.King 1