Glasgow Tigers 47 v 42 Ipswich Witches

What a match! Those who are not a fan of the play-offs should’ve been at this one as this mid-table battle turned into a cracker because it mattered for something.

It was an incredible fightback for the home side, as Glasgow looked dead and buried after losing a 4-2 in heat 12 , putting them 5 behind, only for a storming last three races where they outscored the Witches 14-4, helped by a Scott Nicholls fall which ruled him out of heat 15.

The writing looked to be on the wall early on as the Witches pair jetted out of the start in heat 1, although Craig Cook had passed both of them by the second lap.

This was repeated in heat 2, with the impressive Drew Kemp winning easily.
Tigers fought back with their own maximum in heat 3, only for Scott Nicholls and Kemp to restore their lead in heat 4, Chris Harris taking three laps to pass the youngster for second.

Worse was to follow in heat 5 as Claus Vissing stopped at the end of the first lap and then Paul Starke fell on the third bend of the third lap trying to repass Mark Riss gifting them a 5-0.

Tigers resisted using the T/S in heat 6 and were rewarded with a 4-2, which was repeated in the next with Mark Riss falling, giving Jack Thomas a gift third.

Heat 8 was shaping up to be a great heat as James Sarjeant and Kemp were battling for the lead. The Tiger had just got the better of him at the end of the second lap when Gino Manzares couldn’t clear the track after falling on the first bend, the referee maybe a bit quick to stop it. the inevitable happened in the re-run with the Witches taking another 5-1.

Surprisingly Glasgow declined to use the T/S in heat 9 and instead had to settle for a 4-2 when a 5-1 would’ve been expected with Cook in for Starke.

Cook won heat 10 but Sarjeant couldn’t stay ahead of Riss and the gap remained at 5.

Normally heat 11 signals a home collapse but it had the opposite effect here as both Harris and Thomas shot out of the start, Nicholls splitting them on the second bend, Heeps came down heavily at the back.

Heat 12 looked good for the first 3 bends as Glasgow sat on a 5-1, only for Covatti to come from nowhere, after both Tigers went wide and lead coming out of the 4th bend. Kemp then passed Thomas late on and the 5 point lead was restored.

Then came the incredible climax.

Cook and Harris were on a 4-2 in heat 13, until Nicholls got his entry to the first bend all wrong late in the race and came down against the fence. He was taken off in the ambulance with a reported ankle injury. Tigers were now within a point.

Heat 14 saw Thomas and Starke shoot out of the start and this time got their team riding sorted out quickly, blocking Riss early on. The German then came off at the end of the third lap, with the race awarded. Suddenly Tigers were in the lead for the first time.

Glasgow were looking for a 5-1 to stop the Witches getting anything and almost had it but Covatti again sneaked up the inside coming out of the 4th bend to split the home duo for the 4-2.

Glasgow will be relieved to escape with their play-off hopes still intact with a spirited fight back over the last 3 heats. Luck played its part but this only evened out some of the early heats.

Riders Champion Craig Cook was again immense and was unbeaten, while he received good support from Harris and Vissing and crucially, Jack Thomas late on.

Ipswich will be wondering how they lost this match and were lucky to escape with a point in the end, which was the least they deserved. They only won 5 heats but took heat advantages in all 5, the quick starting Drew Kemp being involved in 4 of them.

So Glasgow move into second but know they have to win next Tuesday against Edinburgh and take at least 3 points from their remaining two away matches to stay in the top 4.

1 Craig Cook                              3 3 3 3 3      15
2 James Sarjeant                          0 1 1 0         2
3 Claus Vissing                           3 R 3  2        8
4 Paul Starke                             2* FX 1 2*      5 + 2
5 Chris Harris                            2 3 3 2* 1     11 + 1
6 Jack Thomas                             0 1 1 0 3       5
7 Gino Manzares                           1 0 fx          1
1 Scott Nicholls                          2 3 3 2 fx     10
2 Cameron Heeps                           1* 2* 2 2* fx   7 + 3
3 Nico Covatti                            0 2 2 2 3 2    11
4 Mark Riss                               1 F 1* FX       1 + 1
5 Rory Schlein R/R
6 Fernando Garcia                         2* 0 0          2 + 1
7 Drew Kemp                               3 1 3 1 1 0     9

Heat 1: Cook, Nicholls, Heeps, Sarjeant; 57.57
Heat 2: Kemp, Garcia, Manzares, Thomas: 60.23
Heat 3: Vissing, Starke, Riss, Covatti: 58.98
Heat 4: Nicholls, Harris, Kemp, Manzares: 58.62
Heat 5:(awarded) Nicholls, Heeps, Starke (fx), Vissing (r): no time
Heat 6: Cook, Heeps, Sarjeant, Garcia; 57.53
Heat 7: Harris, Covatti, Thomas, Riss(f) 58.75
Heat 8: (re-run)Kemp, Heeps, Sarjeant, Manzares(fx); 59.39
Heat 9: Vissing, Covatti, Starke, Garcia; 58.86
Heat 10: Cook, Covatti, Riss, sarjeant; 58.09
Heat 11: (awarded)Harris, Nicholls, Thomas, Heeps(fx); no time
Heat 12: Covatti, Vissing, Kemp, Thomas; 59.84
Heat 13:(awarded) Cook, Harris, Garcia, Nicholls(fx) no time
Heat 14: (awarded)Thomas, Starke, Kemp, Riss(fx); no time
Heat 15: Cook, Covatti, Harris, Kemp; 58.51