Third successive home defeat for Witches

Elite LeagueIpswich Witches 39 Lakeside Hammers 53IPSWICH Witches slumped to their third consecutive home defeat at a pleasantly warm Foxhall Stadium last night.

Elite League

Ipswich Witches 39 Lakeside Hammers 53

IPSWICH Witches slumped to their third consecutive home defeat at a pleasantly warm Foxhall Stadium last night.

It was their fifth consecutive defeat in total, and the Suffolk side face the distinct possibility of a play-off situation to retain their top flight status for 2010 - the bottom two finishers in the Elite League will be involved along with the Premier League champions.

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As a taster for tomorrow's British Grand Prix, when over 40,000 speedway followers will make their way to the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, this was entertaining fare with enough action to hold the interest.

But it was not a good night for increasingly frustrated Ipswich fans.

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It was a changed team, with Robert Miskowiak making his return after being omitted from the original side when local rider Leigh Lanham was preferred. Although the Pole had one memorable ride his presence made little difference to what is becoming a depressing Witches campaign.

But there could be more changes ahead, and the Witches will surely show some interest in home-grown Scott Nicholls, who looks as though he will be discarded by Coventry when his current 28-day contract runs out soon.

The Witches did not make an encouraging start after a 24-day absence from Foxhall Stadium.

Kroner made the best break and was leading the pack going round the fourth bend when he lost control and introduced himself to the air fence. In the re-run, guest Bjarne Pedersen was unable to better the start made by Lee Richardson, and the home side went two points behind.

Things did not improve in the second race when the experienced pair of visiting reserves knew too much for David Stachyra and Rye House guest Luke Bowen to record a 5-1 for the Hammers.

The Essex side took the chequered flag for the third time in the next outing with Joonas Davidsson making the quickest getaway - with Foxhall expert Adam Shields, who took a spill in Wednesday night's home defeat, tailed off.

Swiderski was caught out by the grip on the third and fourth bends and lost momentum to be passed by reserve Stuart Robson, who then comfortably followed home former Witch Joonas Kylmakorpi.

Skipper King wore the black and white helmet colour in race five hoping to help get Ipswich back into the meeting.

King chased the in-form Richardson and coming out of the fourth bend on the third lap he looked as though he was going to complete a courageous charge round the outside. Richardson closed the gate in front of him, causing King to shut off or face colliding at full speed with the home straight fence.

The home skipper made his disgust at what he deemed unfair tactics to the Hammers No.1 known in no uncertain manner as the riders did their slow-down lap after the finish of the heat.

With King's points counting double the Witches shared the spoils, but were still 10 points adrift.

Things at last improved in heat six when Phil Morris was excluded after taking a tumble on the first corner. In the re-run, Pedersen, standing in for an unwell Jarek Hampel, teamed up with Kroner for an easy and welcome 5-1 after Kylmakorpi spun off before re-mounting on the fourth bend of the first lap when last.

Swiderski made a super-charged start in race seven to record a victory, and in the next heat Ipswich had a spot of luck when Kauko Nieminen lost his bearings on the third lap when in a 5-1 position with team-mate Robson.

Kroner - from the gate - and Dawid Stachyr - after taking advantage of a gap left by Robson coming out of the second bend - gained a 5-1 in the re-run to reduce the deficit to two points.

The scores were levelled in heat nine when Miskowiak had home fans on their feet after a splendid full throttle pass of Kylmakorpi on the final circuit.

But that was the beginning of the end for the Witches. Shields put them back in front by winning heat 10 and Richardson did well to hold off a determined challenge by Swiderski to win heat 11.

In the following race Shields led home Miskowiak and Richardson gained his fourth consecutive win to be followed home by Kylmakorpi, with Swiderski again found wanting when it really mattered.

Lakeside confirmed victory in the penultimate race when Davidsson and Robson went either side of Stachyra going round the opening two bends and the Hammers signed off with three 5-1s when the in-form Richardson completed a five-ride full maximum ahead of Kylmakorpi.

Ipswich: Pedersen 8, Kroner 5+1, Miskowiak 7+1, King 7, Swiderski 6, Stachyra 6+3, Bowen 0.

Lakeside: Richardson 15, Nieminen 2, Shields 8, Davidsson 7+2, Kylmakorpi 10+2, Morris 2+1, Robson 9+1.

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