Bandits hold Witches to six point cup deficit

Speedway - Ipswich 48, Berwick 42: BERWICK turned in a solid performance when they travelled to take on Ipswich in the first leg of their Knockout Cup quarter-final tie at Foxhall Heath on Thursday.

The six point defeat represented a good nights work by the Bandits, who must now fancy their chances of making progress to the last four of the competition when the teams meet in the return at Shielfield Park on Saturday.

Berwick are unbeaten on their own track so far this year and will have high hopes of making the semi’s.

Ipswich started the season as everyone’s favourites, but so far it hasn’t turned out that way.

Bandits went into the meeting without the injured Alex Edberg, and used Ashley Morris from the National League as a guest.

He won heat two, after Lubos Tomicek won heat one, and after three heats the visitors trailed by just two points at 10-8.

Berwick continued to keep it tight at 16-14 after five and when Sebastian Alden burst through from the back, passing both home riders, it was 19-17 after six.

Two home 4-2s in seven and eight were followed by another Alden win in nine, and at 30-24 the Bandits were still in contention.

A 4-2 from David Bellego and Lee Complin in ten reduced the deficit to four at 32-28 and it was 35-31 after 11 after Dakota North crashed up the back straight and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.

Ricky Ashworth broke the tapes in the re-run and was handicapped 15m, which put him at a disadvantage.

It was 39-33 after 12 and Bandits were still in the hunt, and when Ashworth and Alden took a 4-2 in 13 it was 41-37 and it was obvious the Borderers were going to give themselves every chance for the second leg.

A home 5-1 in 14 - the only in the meeting - gave the Witches some breathing space at 46-38, but another Alden - Ashworth 4-2 in the final race meant Bandits restricted the home side to a six-point lead.

Scorers: Ipswich - Heeps 11+1, Tungate 9, Risager 7+1, Doolan 7, Lanham 6+2, Tresarrieu 5+2, North 3. Berwick - Alden 10, Ashworth 9+1, Tomicek 8+1, Complin 7, Bellego 4, Morris 3, King 1+1.