Third home win in a row for Witches

Elite League BIpswich Witches 57 Poole Pirates 38IPSWICH Witches won their third home meeting on the trot to overtake Elite League opponents Poole at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Elvin King

Elite League B

Ipswich Witches 57 Poole Pirates 38

IPSWICH Witches won their third home meeting on the trot to overtake Elite League opponents Poole at Foxhall Stadium last night.

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The Suffolk-based side moved to third from bottom with this three-point victory as they battle to avoid the wooden spoon and a play-off situation with Premier League opposition to avoid relegation.

It was the Witches' second biggest victory of the season and achieved in style against last season's champions who have fallen from grace this term.

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Robert Miskowiak was on fire for the home side and showed the form that will surely save him from being dropped from the Witches' side again - as he was last winter before earning a reprieve last month.

The Pole scorched to a paid maximum and was backed up by all his team-mates - who all won at least one race each, with Simon Stead proving a capable guest.

A clash of interests caused the two star riders, one from each side - Scott Nicholls and Hans Andersen - to miss out because they were on their way to Saturday's Latvian Grand Prix.

And with Daniel King out for at around two weeks with a cracked sternum and Poole's Bjarne Pedersen deciding to rest after suffering dizzy spells, the quality of the field had a top-end Premier League feel to it.

Whether Witches fans were cheesed off by this it did not show in the attendance figure - and they went home happy enough - but it was still a rather sad reflection of the status of top-level speedway in this country.

Tobi Kroner took over the Witches' captaincy, with Chris Holder skippering the visitors who were beaten 51-41 on their A league visit to Suffolk earlier in the season.

Kroner spun round when in second place in heat one and the Pirates plundered a 4-2 in the re-run with ex-Witches Piotr Swiderski taking the chequered flag in his role as guest for Pedersen.

But the home side soon got into their stride with consecutive 5-1s to put their stamp on the meeting. Paul Fry trailed in last in his first race at Foxhall for 14 years in the reserves' heat before Swindon rider Stead followed home Miskowiak in his first outing as a guest for King.

Heat four brought thoughts of the Ashes cricket Tests with two Britons against two Aussies, with Ipswich coming out on top thanks to Carl Wilkinson making a well-constructed inside pass on fellow Englishman Steve Boxall on the final bend.

And the good times continued for the Witches in heat five with the Miskowiak and Stead partnership again bearing fruit thanks to rapid bursts to the opening turn for another maximum home success.

This saw Poole drop 12 points adrift, enabling them to use Holder as a tactical rider and having his points doubled in race six. The Aussie duly took the honours after fighting his way to the front in the very early stages, but with Fry at the back Ipswich limited the damage.

Troy Batchelor won the next race in style and then Dawid Stachyra followed home Kroner in heat eight as the home team continued to rack up the points.

The young Pole's paid three points saw his average go over the 4.00 assessed figure that he began the campaign with.

In his first year of British speedway and with no great pedigree it has been a notable effort by this fully-committed rider.

With Daniel Davidsson, who won races for fun at Foxhall in one meeting last year, out of sorts and Joe Screen unable to beat a finishing Ipswich rider - and with the Poole reserves outclassed - a large home victory already looked assured, and they kept their foot on the pedal with a another heat advantage in race nine thanks to the in-form Miskowiak.

Lakeside rider Swiderski wore the black and white helmet cover for double points in heat 10, but the Poole guest was squeezed out going into the first bend when meat in the sandwich between Miskowiak and Kroner.

Swiderski, who served Ipswich so well in 2008, did not give up and he swept beyond Kroner on the second bend of the last circuit for second place in what ended a drawn heat in a very quick time.

Holder, who held the Poole team together along with Swiderski, won heat 11 before Ipswich raced to their fifth 5-1 in heat 12 with Wilkinson catching the eye.

Holder restored some pride for the visitors in the next heat and then Swiderski got the better of Stead as the meeting wound down.

Rider replacement for Nicholls accrued a paid eight points and for Pedersen seven points, and in the final race Miskowiak completed his paid maximum in style with the willing Swiderski passing Batchelor for second place on the third lap.

Ipswich: R/R, T Kroner 6, R Miskowiak 16+2, S Stead 9+2, T Batchelor 13, D Stachyra 6+2, C Wilkinson 7+1.

Poole: R/R, J Screen 4, D Davidsson 0, P Swiderski 15, C Holder 16, P Fry 0, S Boxall 3.

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