Sheffield Tigers 52 Ipswich Witches 38: Brilliant King can't halt defeat
- Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c
Ipswich Witches left Yorkshire well beaten as Sheffield Tigers guaranteed their play-off spot with a comfortable 52-38 victory over the Suffolk side.
Only Danny King, guest Chris Harris, as well as Jason Crump really got among the visiting riders, the home side taking a heat one lead, they were never to lose. King in especially good form.
The Witches had picked up a losing bonus point on their last visit to Owlerton, but they never threatened here and it summed up a disappointing season for Ritchie Hawkins side, who will end the season fifth in the six-strong Premiership.
Harris came in as a guest replacement for Craig Cook, who was taking time out due to mental health issues.
Sheffield were at full strength and got off to the perfect start as their strong one and two pairing, Jack Holder and Troy Batchelor were too quick for the Witches pairing, despite Jason Crump gating well.
The home side went six up one heat later, Paul Starke splitting the home pairing, but already Sheffield were 9-3 ahead.
Harris became the Witches first heat winner of the night, passing Josh Pickering in heat three and with Jake Allen picking up third place, the Witches gained their first heat advantage.
Witches skipper Danny King pulled away from Stefan Nielsen to win the next, but Ipswich went further behind as Crump and Anders Rowe suffered a second 1-5 maximum against.
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The Witches were already up against it but King was keeping them in touching distance, winning his second race of the night, as Starke was passed by Batchelor for third.
New British champion Adam Ellis won the next as Sheffield kept the Witches at arm's length at eight ahead and a maximum for the home side in heat eight took the meeting away from the Witches.
Harris came in for a tactical ride in heat nine, but he couldn't land a blow, despite the superb King winning again. And Harris was out again, passing Batchelor for second place as Sheffield closed in on victory.
Crump won his first race of the night in the next but when Howarth and Nielsen gained a 4-2 in heat 12, the meeting was the Tigers.
Sheffield: Jack Holder (2*,2,3,2*,1) = 10+2; Troy Batchelor (3,1*,3,1) = 8+1; Kyle Howarth (0,2*,1*,3) = 6+1; Josh Pickering (2,3,2,2,0) = 9; Adam Ellis (1*,3,2,3,)= 9+1; Danyon Hume (1,0,0) = 1; Stefan Nielsen (3,2,2*,1,1*) = 9+2.
Ipswich: Jason Crump (1,1,3,0) = 5; Anders Rowe (0,0,1) = 1; Jake Allen (1,1*,0,2) = 4+1; Chris Harris (3,2,0,2,3,2*) 12+ 1; Danny King (3,3,3,1,3) = 13; Paul Starke (2,0,0,R) = 2; Drew Kemp (0,0,1,0) = 1.
Sheffield 3pts. Ipswich 0