Witches let it slip after disastrous second half of the meeting at Wolves
- Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Witches' hopes of stretching their unbeaten run to three and push their way into the Premiership play-offs came to a shuddering halt at Monmore Green.
The home side ran out 52-38 winners as the Suffolk side's heat-leaders toiled in the hot west Midlands sun, with Wolves' top guns reigning supreme.
Wolves took an early lead, but the Witches, despite only two heat winners in the first eight heats, got the score back to 25-23 at the half-way stage. From that point on however, it was Wolves who showed their teeth and it was a disappointing performance from the visitors.
Jason Crump returned to the Witches fold at the scene of the crash that kept him sidelined for months after breaking eight ribs at Wolves back in May, but he could make little impact on the meeting.
There was a good crowd was in attendance as the home side got off to a cracking start with Luke Becker passing the fast-starting Drew Kemp down the back straight in heat one and pushing him wide as Sam Masters came through for a 5-1 maximum.
The Witches should have been level in the next, but Paul Starke slowed up after mistakenly seeing a red light that was in fact in the crowd. Ipswich were on a 5-1 at the time but Starke did manage to get going again and get third, with Kemp an impressive winner.
Danny King was passed by Nick Morris as Wolves went 11-7 ahead in heat three and it was a frantic heat four that saw Rory Schlein go from third to first as Starke again slowed down as Craig Cook came through and Alfie Bowtell fell on the first bend.
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Ryan Douglas fell on the first running of heat five and came last in the re-run of all four as Morris made it two on the bounce for him. It was a tough first turn in heat six and Cook was left at the back, just as Broc Nicol was in the next race as Wolves stretched their lead to six.
Luke Becker went through the tapes in heat eight and went off 15m, In the re-run Nicol fell trying to round Starke on turn two lap two, with the Wolves man excluded. The Witches got a 5-1 maximum to bring the scores to 25-23.
But Wolves hit back in style, scoring maximums in both heats 10 and 11 before a thrilling heat 12 saw Schlein pass both Witches in superb style as the Wolves took a 12-point lead at the interval.
Morris was in brilliant form as he as good as sealed the deal in heat 12 for the Wolves
When Schlein passed both Witches coming out of turn two in heat 13 to join Masters at the front, that was the victory for the home side.