The Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches were crowned 2023 Knockout Cup champions on Thursday night at Foxhall after defeating the Sheffield Tigers.

Words by: Henry Chard – Digital Marketing Manager Ipswich Witches

Images by: Stephen Waller Photography

The South Yorkshire outfit brought a six-point lead to Suffolk, having won 48-42 at Owlerton in the first leg on Monday. Joe Thompson guested once again for injured brother Dan in the Rising Star position for Ipswich whilst Max Fricke and Kyle Newman were in again for injured Sheffield duo Tai Woffinden and Claus Vissing. The hosts edged ahead early on in the meeting and levelled the aggregate scores after seven races as it looked like the tie might go all the way to a last-heat decider. However, the Witches went up a gear in the second half of the meeting and raced to a convincing win in front of a big, vocal Foxhall crowd as Knockout Cup glory was celebrated for the first time since 1998. Emil Sayfutdinov top scored with 13+1.

Fricke won a shared heat one before an action-packed heat two. Keynan Rew and Joe Thompson made the gate, but Newman passed Thompson for second as the Ipswich guest battled hard to keep Jason Edwards behind him. Disaster then struck for Newman as he packed up on the final bend to gift the hosts a 5-1, greeted by a huge roar from the home fans. Skipper Danny King was a clear winner in a shared heat three and Jason Doyle followed suit in heat four leaving Ipswich 14-10 up on the night and just two points behind on aggregate.

Heat five was an absolute cracker. King and Erik Riss made the gate, but King locked up on the second bend of the opening lap and did well to stay on the bike but found himself at the back with plenty of work to do. Fricke managed to get past Riss to hit the front on the final lap but at the same time King showed great speed to pass Kyle Howarth for third and a big swoop on the final turn saw him pass his teammate Riss and almost catch Fricke at the front, all of which resulted in a 3-3. Sayfutdinov and Danyon Hume led heat six, but Hume couldn’t hang on and fell meaning another share of the points. Doyle was a comfortable winner again in heat seven and with Rew third, it was a 4-2 that levelled the aggregate score. Hume took the chequered flag in heat eight, but Thompson was beaten to a point by Howarth, making it 27-21 and all square on aggregate.

The home team then went ahead in the tie as King blasted to victory and Riss finished third for a 4-2. Heat 10 saw Sayfutdinov and Hume hit the front, but Hume was picked off by Chris Holder and Josh Pickering, resulting in a 3-3. Doyle coasted to another three points in a shared heat 11 and Ipswich then piled the pressure on the Tigers in heat 12 as King and Rew banged in a maximum after Holder had retired at the start of the race with machinery issues. That 5-1 made it 42-30 on the night, with the hosts now six up on aggregate.

Knockout Cup glory was all but confirmed after heat 13 as Doyle and Sayfutdinov roared to a maximum as the celebrations began at Foxhall. It was mathematically confirmed in heat 14 as Rew won in an Ipswich 4-2. The Witches added another 4-2 to the score in heat 15 as Sayfutdinov finished the night in style to secure a 20-point victory which was more than enough to secure the trophy as fans piled onto the centre green to celebrate a historic night for the club.

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