Speedway: Ipswich Witches 52 Sheffield Tigers 38

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Sheffield suffered a late collapse as they went down 52-38 at Ipswich last night.

The Window Centre Tigers were in touching distance for the majority of the meeting and trailed by just four points after nine heats.

But a heavy crash for reserve Nathan Stoneman, which saw him suffer a leg injury, appeared to knock the wind out of their sails as the powerful Witches came on strong in the closing stages.

A sensational showing from skipper Kyle Howarth was not enough to see them add to their SGB Championship points tally.

Howarth settled their early nerves after a tough start, taking the chequered flag in heat four after they had already fallen eight behind.

It kick-started a run of six straight race wins for the visitors to put them right in the mix entering the closing stages.

Yet they were controversially dealt a blow when Josh Bates was excluded for clashing with Kyle Newman when attempting an audacious pass on the final bend of heat 10.

And the hosts came on strong in the closing stages, with star duo Danny King and Rory Schlein shutting out Howarth and Josh Grajczonek to all but end the Tigers’ charge in heat 13.

Howarth ended his night by taking his fourth win from five outings in the final race after partner Grajczonek had been excluded for a crash alongside Australian compatriot Schlein.

The No.1 struggled against the Witches’ top end strength, claiming just one race win, whilst third heat-leader Lasse Bjerre also struggled.

Battling Brit Josh Bates pulled off arguably the ride of the night to bravely blast around Schlein on the opening bend of heat seven on his way to a solid score.

Todd Kurtz also put in perhaps his best away performance of the season so far – but the absence of key reserve Robert Branford due to injury cost them dearly as their lower order struggled to make any impact.

Simon Stead’s side will be back in action at home to Berwick at Owlerton tonight (7.30). Mitchell Davey steps in as a guest for Branford as they aim to maintain their winning home record.

IPSWICH 52: Danny King 13, Rory Schlein 12+2, Cameron Heeps 10+1, Kyle Newman 8+1, Nathan Greaves 5+1, Connor Mountain 4+2, Justin Sedgmen R/R.

SHEFFIELD 38: Kyle Howarth 12, Todd Kurtz 7+1, Josh Bates 7, Josh Grajczonek 6, Lasse Bjerre 4, Josh Bailey 2, Nathan Stoneman 0.