Ipswich boss Hawkins’ reaction as Witches lose at Sheffield
PUBLISHED: 22:15 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 22:53 05 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich team boss Ritchie Hawkins had praise for his side after they lost 52-38 at Sheffield Tigers in the Championship tonight.
The Suffolk side went down by 14, but lost heat leader Cameron Heeps after just one ride after he crashed with Lasse Bjerre in heat three.
Both riders were ruled out of the meeting.
“It was a tough night, but we never gave up and I’m proud of our efforts,” Hawkins said.
“We were on a 5-1 in heat two when Connor (Mountain) broke down and Cam was letting Nico Covatti round him in the next when he got hit by Lasse.
“Still we had a chance in the final heat of a point and that’s why we took outside gates to try and get a maximum, but it wasn’t to be.
“We fought all meeting. But we regroup now, we have a tough meeting at home to Workington and then travel to Edinburgh.
“We have got to make sure we win against Workington and then see what we can do at Edinburgh.”
The Witches got off to a poor start at Sheffield with Rory Schlein getting out of shape on turn two as the home side registered a 5-1 maximum.
However, they looked to be getting back on level terms in heat two before Mountain’s engine problems.
Heeps and Bjerre collided in the next as Nico Covatti won the long-awaited re-run of heat three.
Scott Nicholls, guesting for the injured Danny King slid off when in second in the next as Ipswich’s miserable start to the meeting continued and already the Suffolk side were in tactical rider territory.
Covatti came in for debut-making Jonas Jeppesen for that tactical ride, and Tigers’ Broc Nichol slid off.
Todd Kurtz beat both Witches in the re-run, with the visitors 10 down and the tactical ride already used.
Heat six at last went off with few issues as Nicholls won well. Covatti won his second race of the night in the next with Mountain and Georgie Wood passing and re-passing.
But the Witches were making no inroads and they went 14 down after another 5-1 maximum to Sheffield in heat eight. Nicholls won well again in the next with Mountain showing all his battling qualities for third.
Covatti won again in heat 10 and when Schlein and Jeppesen gained a 4-2 in heat 11, the Witches had some momentum.
Mountain rode a stormer to win heat 12 as Jeppesen snatched third on the line.
But Sheffield sealed the win as Ty Proctor won heat 13 with the Witches still 10 behind.
That was still the case going into the final race after James Shanes passed Covatti in heat 14. However, the Tigers sealed the deal with a maximum of their own as the Witches left Yorkshire empty-handed.
Nicholls is set to guest for the Witches at home to Workington next Thursday, with Richie Worrall set to replace King at Edinburgh the next night.
Sheffield: T Proctor 12+1, T Kurtz 13+3, L Bjerre 0, B Nichol 2, C Wright 10, G Wood 4+1, J Shanes 11+3
Ipswich: R Schlein 5, J Jeppesen 4, C Heeps 0, N Covatti 12+1, S Nicholls 9, C Mountain 7, J Smith 1.
1 Proctor, Kurtz, Jeppesen, Schlein (r) 61.9 5-1
2 Woods, Shanes, Mountain, Smith 64.7 10-2
3 Covatti, Nicol, Mountain, Bjerre (ex), Heeps (f/ns) 62.2 12-6
4 Wright, Shanes, Smith, Nicholls (f) 62.6 17-7
5 Kurtz, Schlein, Covatti*. Nichol (f/x) 61.1 20-10
6 Nicholls, Proctor, Kurtz, Smith 63.3 23-13
7 Covatti, Wright, Wood, Mountain 63.0 26-16
8 Kurtz, Shanes, Jeppesen, Smith 63.2 31-17
9 Nicholls, Wright, Mountain, Nichol (r) 63.0 33-21
10 Covatti, Kurtz, Proctor, Smith (r) 62.5 36-24
11 Schlein, Wright, Jeppesen, Wood (r) 62.0 38-28
12 Mountain, Shanes, Jeppesen, Wood 63.4 40-32
13 Proctor, Nicholls, Wright, Schlein 62.6 44-34
14 Shanes, Covatti, Mountain, Wood 64.1 47-37
15 Proctor, Kurtz, Nicholls, Covatti 62.9 52-38
Sheffield 3 pts. Ipswich 0 pts.