Speedway: Losing spell for Bandits as Witches wow Shielfield

Berwick Bandits 34 (76) Ipswich Witches 56 (104)

Ipswich win on aggregate 104-76


Berwick Bandits held the Ipswich Witches tight in Suffolk on Thursday night, going down by a 48-42 score line leaving a very real chance of qualifying for a semi-final place against either Glasgow or Edinburgh in Saturday’s second leg but the visitors had a far different view of things.

Ipswich rode Shielfield Park better than they ride their home track and dished out a stonking 22-point home defeat on the Bandits, filled with lessons on how to gate, destroying any hopes of a cup semi for the home boys.

A startling gate from young Rohan Tungate on his Shielfield Park debut gave him a huge win backed up by Leigh Lanham in a visitors’ 1-5, a score repeated with equal determination from Matt Tresarrieu and Cameron Heeps over Berwick’s reserves in Heat Two Jason King and guest Ashley Morris taking the score to a shock 2-10, and on aggregate the Witches led 44-58.

David Bellego showed some fire in Heat Three to split Morten Risager and Kevin Doolan on the opening lap to restrict the Witches to a 2-4, and again in the fourth Heeps and Tresarrieu took four over Sebastian Alden who pushed past the Frenchman on lap two, but the score was now a devastating 6-18, and overall 48-66.

Worse was to come on the first bend of Heat Five when Lee Complin hit the deck landing heavily on the track surface re-injuring the same hand he’d injured at Workington a few weeks earlier, but was ok to take his place in the re-run in which Bellego powered round the whole field to take the lead off bend one and Complin doing likewise to Lanham off the second bend in the first heat advantage to Berwick, a 4-2.

The flood gates continued to be stemmed until the dynamic Aussie duo of Tungate and Heeps shot from the gate to hammer home another 5 points over King and Tomicek with the score on the night 17-31, and on aggregate the Witches were well on top 59-79.

Tresarrieu took his third win of the night in heat nine and again behind he was ably backed up by Doolan who fended off the challenges from Complin in third adding another four points to Berwick’s deficit, and with another Witches 2-4 in the 10th Berwick’s fate was sealed very early in the night with the score now 20-40, and overall 62-88.

Bellego was head and shoulders above his Bandit colleagues all night, and that was no better demonstrated when he won Heat 14, only Berwick’s fourth heat win all night, followed home well by King in a rare home 5-1 maximum albeit a tad late in coming.

Ian Rae was dumbfounded afterwards but managed to state briefly: “I can only apologise to our fans. We were appalling tonight and never deserved a semi-final place on that performance. Well done and good luck to Ipswich in the rest of the competition.”

Top Scorers

Berwick – David Bellego 10, Sebastian Alden/Ricky Ashworth 7

Ipswich – Rohan Tungate 15, Matt Tresarrieu 11+1