It’s the relegation play-offs for Witches

IPSWICH Witches will have to battle with the Premier League’s top side to preserve their Elite League status.

IPSWICH Witches will have to battle with the Premier League’s top side to preserve their Elite League status.

That’s the guarantee after the Suffolk side inevitably lost another away fixture, this time at Swindon Robins last night, and in doing so guaranteed themselves bottom place position.

It leaves the Witches in the unenviable position of having to fight to retain their Elite League status in a relegation play-off, over two legs, against the Premier League winners.

It’s hardly what the promotion planned at the start of the season when they announced their side on the re-shaped Foxhall circuit.

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But while the circuit has been a roaring success, the team has been a disaster.

And much of the Witches problems were typified at Swindon, in a meeting at which they were rarely in the hunt.

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Kozza Smith fell off twice in the first four races, both when in scoring positions, as the Robins soon moved into a four-point lead.

When Robert Miskowiak and Dawid Stachyra conceded a 5-1 maximum in heat six, the Suffolk side were already looking at using a tactical rider.

That man was Danny King, but he duly fell and got himself excluded.

Smith fell again in heat eight to complete a miserable night for the young Australian as the Witches toiled against opponents who hadn’t ridden on their home track for almost a month.

Stachyra and Miskowiak did bring the Suffolk side some respite with a maximum in heat nine, but then King fell off once more in the next.

However, the Witches did stage a bit of a comeback, when Scott Nicholls and Stachyra brought home an 8-1 in heat 11.

It brought the scores to 38-31 to the home side, but it flattered Ipswich and the final four races saw the home side extend their lead to take maximum points to mean it won’t be the Robins who will finish bottom of the pile.

The nominated race saw Stachyra gain the vote over King and Miskowiak. But he was excluded under the two-minute rule and Ipswich had no replacement – a situation that rather summed up the Witches’ evening.

Ipswich race at Eastbourne on Thursday and, on Saturday night, Foxhall Stadium is host to the Elite League Pairs, a prestigious competition.

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