Inept Ipswich limp out of KO Cup

Elite League KO Cup, second legIPSWICH 45 BELLE VUE 48(Belle Vue won 101-85 on aggregate)IPSWICH Witches fans have been left looking to the management to make changes to the side after they lost interest in the Elite League Knock-Out Cup at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Elite League KO Cup, second leg


(Belle Vue won 101-85 on aggregate)

IPSWICH Witches fans have been left looking to the management to make changes to the side after they lost interest in the Elite League Knock-Out Cup at Foxhall Stadium last night.

In one of the most inept home performances for some time Ipswich were thoroughly beaten by a Belle Vue side languishing near the foot of the table.

The Witches have no immediate plans to make changes, but last night's deplorable display may change that. With no away league points and struggling to win at home, at the moment the season looks over for the Witches, with a cup exit and a big effort needed to gain a league play-off place.

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The riders who are struggling are there for all to see and with other teams strengthening - legally or otherwise - Ipswich are in danger of being stranded at the wrong end of the table.

Witches team manager Pete Simmons took his riders back into the changing room for a serious talking to at the interval, but by then the damage had been done.

Ipswich paid a heavy penalty for not getting away from the start early on against a side that included Morten Risager, the Dane having notched five points while standing in for an injured Leigh Lanham in the first leg in Manchester. Since then he has become a full-time member of the Belle Vue side.

On a night of fast times, the Aces began in style, with Pole Krzsztof Kasprzak clocking the fastest time of the season at Foxhall in a heat where Jarek Hampel missed the start but got himself through to second place with a third-bend pass of visiting guest Kevin Doolan.

Skipper Lanham came in a disappointing last, and in heat two it was Carl Wilkinson who finished at the back to ruin hopes that the Witches would get off to a winning start to make an early dent in the Aces' first-leg 13-point lead.

Dawid Stachyra, who suffered a horrendous crash at Coventry on Monday, remarkably passed himself fit to ride and he rode through the pain in his arms and legs to take the chequered flag.

It looked like another last place for the home side in the next outing, but Tobi Kroner was in no mood to admit second best and he made a big effort on the final bend to pip Ulrich Ostergaard on the line. The race was won by Daniel King as Ipswich earned their first heat advantage.

Things took a decided turn for the worse on a pleasantly warm evening for the Witches in heat four when they suffered a 5-1 reverse leaving themselves with a mountain to climb if they were going to make progress. Kasprzak won race five, with King flying round the outside of Doolan on the third lap to make it a drawn heat. And Ipswich were unable to make up any ground in the following heat despite a win by Hampel.

Witches effectively lost interest in the cup when they went 21 points adrift on aggregate in heat seven. They were again slow from the tapes and the situation was made worse when Piotr Swiderski was passed by a determined Ostergaard on the third circuit for the visiting rider to follow home rider replacement reserve Patrick Hougaard for a Belle Vue 5-1.

Another comfortable 5-1 to Belle Vue in heat eight rubbed salt into the wounds of the home side. But after an interval talking to by Simmons, tactical rider King won heat nine and, with Kroner winning a tussle with Charlie Gjedde to finish second, the Witches at last had their tails up.

Stachyra came in for Lanham in heat 10 and it looked good for nearly two circuits as he followed Hampel round. Stachyra then hit the deck and the race ended 3-3.

Kasprzak won heat 11 with little difficulty as the Aces ran down the meeting to confirm a rare win at Foxhall and a comfortable passage through to face Poole in the quarter-final - with the winners of that tie taking on Coventry in the semis.