Bandits capitulate as the Witches cast a spell with stunning cup win

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Berwick Bandits34

Ipswich Witches56

The Witches cast a spell over Berwick in their KO Cup quarter-final second leg and Berwick simply didn’t have an answer.

The Bandits had appeared to have done all the hard work in the first leg at Foxhall Heath 48 hours earlier, holding the Suffolk side to a six point advantage, and it seemed that all they had to do was follow it through with a competent home performance at Shielfield and a semi-final place would be theirs.

But the visitors had other ideas and an awesome display saw them storm through to the last four leaving the devastated home riders and supporters in a state of shock.

Berwick were looking for a steady start, but when they conceded two 5-1s in the two opening races it put them 14 points adrift on aggregate and they knew they had a battle on their hands.

It got steadily worse with another two 4-2s in three and four, putting them 18 behind, and up to that stage they hadn’t produced a race winner yet.

David Bellego and Lee Complin reduced the deficit slightly with a 4-2 in the twice re-run heat five, after both home riders took tumbles going into the first bend, but hopes that this might spark a fight back were short-lived as two shared heats took the score onto 16-26 and time was starting to run out.

Berwick were being blitzed from the gate, and on a slick track, despite the efforts of Bellego, Complin, Ricky Ashworth and Seb Alden, passing was at a premium and this made life so much easier for Ipswich.

Shielfield debutants Rohan Tungate and Cameron Heeps simply revelled in the conditions - Tungate going on to win four of his five starts, whilst Heeps was unbeaten in the three races he finished.

But they were far from being a two-man outfit as reserve Matt Tresarrieu, something of a Shielfield specialist, was also in fine form, winning three of his heats, whilst ex-Bandit Kevin Doolan on more than one occasion used his experience to block the path of Berwick riders, protecting his team-mate in front of him.

Another two 5-1s in eight and nine put the Witches on the verge of an aggregate victory, and that was confirmed as early as heat ten when Doolan and Morten Risager took a 4-2.

With the score at 20-40 it was becoming embarrassing for Berwick, and it got worse with the Witches taking another three heat advantages during the run-in, Leigh Lanham’s victory in 15 meaning that remarkably, all six of the Ipswich riders left having recorded at least one race win.

Complin, nursing. Hand injury from his earlier spill, still wanted to put on a show, and despite the meeting and the tie being lost, he put in a tremendous effort to pass Doolan on the last lap.

Bellego and Jason King took a 5-1 in heat 14, one of only two Bandits’ heat advantages on the night, but this was scant consolation on a night when Ipswich were hot and Berwick were most definitely not.

After the meeting a shell-shocked Berwick team manager Ian Rae said: “I can only apologise to our fans for our performance tonight.

“We were absolutely appalling and did not deserve to go through.

“Ipswich, on the other hand, got stuck in from the start and they deserve all the credit for a fantastic result. We wish them well in the rest of the competition.”

Berwick - Bellego 10, Alden 7, Ashworth 7, Coomplin 5, King 4+1, Tomicek 1+1, Morris 0. Ipswich - Tungate 15, Tresarrieu 11+1, Doolan 10+1, Heeps 7+2, Lanham 7+1, Risager 6+1, North - rider rep.