Superb Witches hand out a mauling

Elite League Ipswich Witches 60 Peterborough Panthers 36ON a hot and sticky night at Foxhall, the Ipswich Witches continued their hot home form with another demolition job of Elite League opposition, this time the Peterborough Panthers.

Mike Bacon

Elite League

Ipswich Witches 60 Peterborough Panthers 36

ON a hot and sticky night at Foxhall, the Ipswich Witches continued their hot home form with another demolition job of Elite League opposition, this time the Peterborough Panthers.

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It was the home side's biggest victory of the season, beating last week's big win over Poole.

Oh, if only the Witches had started the season with this team. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, and if pride was the object of all the team changes last month, then fair play to the Foxhall management, pride has been restored.

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Peterborough arrived at Foxhall still harbouring play-off ambitions, but there looked only one team who could harbour those. However the Witches probably have too much to do to achieve that goal.

The racing was fast and furious and the Witches, led by Scott Nicholls and impressive reserve Carl Wilkinson, were simply too good.

Throw in Robert Miskowiak's continued superb form and, even with captain Danny King missing through injury, the Panthers were sent packing big time.

Foxhall is a happy place once more and one of the main reasons is the return of Nicholls. He got his side off to the perfect start with a fine gate from the outside in heat one, with Tobi Kroner passing Claus Vissing coming out of turn two.

Ales Dryml and Wilkinson had a good scrap in the next, but Dawid Stachyra had already gated impressively away.

Kenneth Bjerre, after his impressive performance in the Latvian GP on Saturday, won the visitors' first in heat three, before the Witches began to turn the screw.

Wilkinson completely belied his Premier League standing, gating to the front and then looking for partner Troy Batchelor, as Ipswich gained their first maximum of the night.

The Witches were already eight ahead and Nicholls produced a stunning cut back on the second bend to join Miskowiak at the front as the Witches increased that lead to 12.

Mads Korneilussen started 15 metres back after being excluded in heat six, but he may as well have started 15 miles back as Ipswich continued to impress.

Bjerre was proving the only opposition rider to get among the points and he won his tactical ride in heat seven, before Wilkinson roared past Vissing in the next to the joy of the home crowd.

It was one-way traffic now, although Bjerre must have thought he had gained his third straight win in heat 10, but he had not counted on the brilliant Nicholls, who passed him round the outside on lap three, as the home crowd to a man rose to their feet.

Peterborough did pull a big seven points back through tactical rider Niels-Kristian Iversen and Vissing, but the impressive Wilkinson was at it again in heat 12, passing Dryml, with Miskowiak again at the front.

The Witches led 47-31 with three heats to go and already had this one in the bag. There was plenty of movement at the start of heat 13, and it took a re-run before Nicholls and Batchelor settled proceedings with another 5-1, with Iversen and Korneilussen battling hard for third and fourth.

Miskowiak was riding as well as at any time in his Ipswich career, and he gated round Bjerre in heat 14.

He won the final heat too, as Ipswich rattled up 60 points for the first time this season. And, on this home form, it won't be the last.

Ipswich: S Nicholls 13+2 T Kroner 7+2, R Miskowiak 17, R/R, T Batchelor 11+1, D Stachyra 6+1, C Wilkinson 6+2.

Peterborough: NK Iversen 11, C Vissing 3+1, K Hansen 3+1, K Bjerre 13, M Korneilussen 4, A Dryml 2, H Bager 0.

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