Kroner stars as Witches beat Bees

Ipswich Witches 48 Coventry Bees 42IPSWICH Witches gained revenge over Coventry Bees to collect two Elite League points at Foxhall Stadium.With German Tobi Kroner their star man the Witches took the lead in heat three and were able to hold on to it against a plucky injury-hit Coventry outfit.

Elvin King

Ipswich Witches 48 Coventry Bees 42

IPSWICH Witches gained revenge over Coventry Bees to collect two Elite League points at Foxhall Stadium.

With German Tobi Kroner their star man the Witches took the lead in heat three and were able to hold on to it against a plucky injury-hit Coventry outfit.

When the Bees visited Suffolk in April for the A league fixture they won by two points after the home side made a dreadful start, being eight points adrift after just three races.

The Witches fought back valiantly but had to concede second best by the end of that see-saw contest.

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This time they put up an all-round show and although this meeting was not as thrilling as last week's spectacular home win over Peterborough it was a workmanlike effort and stretched their home winning run to five meetings.

If Ipswich can now step up their away form - they have failed to gain a single point on their travels so far - they can look to move up the table and make a serious challenge for a play-off end-of-season place.

Kroner followed home Daniel King in his first two outings and then took the chequered flag in his next two, making a superb sweep around the outside of the second bend to win heat nine and then made an electric start to gain a vital victory three races later.

With Kroner in this form Ipswich are a much more formidable side and they would have fared better and claimed the maximum three league points if their top two of Jarek Hampel and Piotr Swiderski had fared better, or if reserves Dawid Stachyra and Carl Wilkinson had been more consistent.

Stachyra failed to score on the Bees last visit and his recent improvement was put on hold until a magnificent heat 14 when he made the start with Daniel King and they looked as though they were going to hold off a determined challenge from Edward Kennett.

A possible 5-1 to Ipswich turned into a drawn heat with Kennett passing King on the third lap, and then going round the outside of Stachyra in spectacular style on the run-in to the finishing line.

It was a memorable race, and left Ipswich needing a 5-1 to claim three league points, and Coventry requiring a 5-1 to draw the meeting.

Coventry already had eight race winners when the tapes went up for the final time, but Hampel was in no mood to be beaten for a fourth time on the night and he roared from the tapes to take the lead and win a full-throttle heat.

Kroner did all he could to give Ipswich a 5-1 that would have been welcome, and he passed Rory Schlein but was unable to overtake Chris Harris as the Bees went home no doubt satisfied with one league point.

It was good for Ipswich to be back to their quota of seven riders after Hampel and Kroner missed the defeat at Wolverhampton on Monday with food poisoning and whiplash injuries respectively.

The best grip was to be found on the outside of the circuit last night and that was where Harris came to grief in heat five when he lost control and sped into the fourth bend fence when in second place behind King on the fourth turn.

This proved crucial to the final points tally with the rider replacement facility for Oliver Allen accruing a paid five points for the visitors.

Since Coventry's win at Foxhall they have lost the services of Allen and Ben Barker, both with broken legs, and this has weakened them considerably.

With Stoke's Premier League guest Klaus Jakobsen doing okay at reserve they kept themselves in the meeting and it needed Hampel to pass Schlein coming out of the second bend in heat 13 to stop Ipswich from conceding a 5-1.

They steadied the ship in that remarkable heat 14 with the up and down Filip Sitera at the back and then came close to claiming a maximum three league points in the final race.