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Speedway Report: Ipswich Witches 50 Sheffield Tigers 40

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Sheffield’s miserable away day league run continued as they went down 50-40 at Ipswich last night.

Tigers lost a third consecutive Championship fixture on their travels on the ground where they claimed their first league title success in 15 years just nine months ago.

The Owlerton outfit edged themselves in front in the early stages when Jack Smith made the gate and made life much easier for himself while fellow reserve James Shanes was forced to settle for third place.

Danish racer Lasse Bjerre demolished the tapes in the next, but recent struggler Jan Graversen stepped up to the plate taking the chequered flag in the third after a determined ride to hold off fast charging Cameron Heeps with substitute Shanes unable to trouble the scorers.

The hosts looked set to take the lead in the fourth as they sat on a maximum, but skipper Danny King packed up whilst well clear and let the Tigers off the hook.

But captain Kyle Howarth and partner Todd Kurtz couldn’t handle home duo Heeps and Nico Covatti in the fifth as Ipswich took the lead for the first time.

And that was the first of six straight heat advantages for the Suffolk side who opened up a 12-point lead with just four races to go.

But following the interval, team boss Simon Stead nominated skipper Howarth as a tactical substitute in place of Graversen.

The Sheffield No.1 blasted away from the gates to ease to back-to-back race wins, while Stead also got the reserve switch bang on as Shanes produced a terrific ride to get past both Heeps and Hume to reduce the deficit to eight points.

But any slim hopes were short lived as home skipper Rory Schlein maintained his unbeaten night in Heat 13 to more-or-less seal the deal for the hosts and when former Tiger Covatti raced to his second consecutive win in the penultimate race, that officially put the meeting beyond Sheffield’s reach.

Tigers could still snatch a consolation league point from the last with a maximum, but home No.1 Schlein demonstrated his class once more as he eventually eased to yet another race win as he sealed a 15-point maximum.

Sheffield hope to return to winning ways next Thursday (June 14, 7.30) at Owlerton when the host Berwick.

IPSWICH 50: Rory Schlein 15, Nico Covatti 10+1, Danyon Hume 6, Cameron Heeps 6, Danny King 6, James Sarjeant 4+1, Connor Mountain 3.

SHEFFIELD 40: Kyle Howarth 11+2, James Shanes 8+2, Charles Wright 7+1, Jan Graversen 4, Lasse Bjerre 4, Jack Smith 3, Todd Kurtz 3.