Ipswich started their second season in top flight racing with a daunting task at last years runners-up Leicester Monarchs and in an emotional afternoon both teams gave the good size crowd plenty to talk about in a cracking advert for top tier racing.
Leicester were hot favourite’s and started the match in top form after a shared heat in the first they then reeled off in the next three heat’s 7-3,6-3,and another maximum. Suddenly the writing was on the wall for the Suffolk outfit and last season would have fell apart under this intense pressure – but with new signing’s Ian and Lee Grange and Cossey they are made of sterner stuff and steadied the ship in the next two heats with heat five being shared and then a one point advantage in heat six ,meaning they trailed by ten.
The match really came to life when in heat seven after Ashford was excluded for moving under orders the unthinkable happen ,sixteen year old Lewis Roberts took his gate one for the second time with the current World champion rolling into grid two, Cossey in three , not only did he manage to hold his attentions but also had the present of mind to ride him out and allowing his team mate Cossey also to pass and then flew around him to leave his more experience team mate to look after Nowacki the Ipswich pairing scoring a memorable 7-2 and put them right back in the match. Their joy was to be short lived when in the very next heat Jamie Chittock was unlucky to lose his front wheel resulting him not only going down but also bringing down Craig Marchant ,the re-run saw Marchant / Stephenson complete a 7-2 of their own over Brooke. Ipswich came fighting back in heat nine when captain Williamson replaced Mower to partner Ian Grange to face Peck /Jarvis ,Leicester suffered another exclusion when Jarvis was adjudged to come across Grange ,the re-run saw Ipswich claim a 7-2 to go into the interval five points adrift 45 – 40 .
Leicester started the second half with a 6-4 ,heat ten saw Ipswich claw a point back 5 -4 ,heats twelve and thirteen were shared ,heat fourteen again saw Ipswich just get one point from another Leicester exclusion 5-4 advantage to close the lead to just five points. Heat fifteen went the way of the Suffolk side with Williamson /Cossey seeing off Burns /Marchant 6-4 and only three points separated the teams ,but Leicester held their nerve and called on all that experience over the years to win heats sixteen 6-4 Ashford / Peck and then more crucially heat seventeen 7-3 with top scorer Adam Stephenson and Lukas Nowacki securing the two points for the home team. Although Ipswich managed to win heat eighteen 6-4 ,it left the final score Leicester 90 Ipswich 83.
Ipswich can be pleased with their overall performance and take credit for making a match of it but the damage was done in though early heats when Leicester opened up a eleven point lead which they never really looked like losing, try as Ipswich did to haul themselves back and got within touching distance at one point only three points they just could’nt se it through.
Final note must go to the man in the middle Mr. John Whiting who had an excellent match.