Vital win for Witches

Elite LeagueIpswich Witches 49 Belle Vue Aces 40ROBERT Miskowiak completed a remarkable return to Ipswich when he top-scored with 15 points against Belle Vue as Ipswich grabbed their fifth consecutive home Elite League victory against the gallant Manchester-based side.

Elvin King

Elite League

Ipswich Witches 49 Belle Vue Aces 40

ROBERT Miskowiak completed a remarkable return to Ipswich when he top-scored with 15 points against Belle Vue as Ipswich grabbed their fifth consecutive home Elite League victory against the gallant Manchester-based side.

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They earned a maximum three points with the Miskowiak/Daniel King duo proving trump cards against the Aces as the Witches moved further away from their bottom-of-the-table northern opponents.

They pocketed 5-1 heat advantages in their three programmed rides together with the Pole continuing his magnificent form since return to Ipswich.

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Pole Miskowiak re-joined the Witches in June after being dropped when the original 2009 line-up was put together.

He has proved that winter decision to be a mistake by raising his average from 5.66 to 8.13 to topple Scott Nicholls as the Ipswich top average man.

And it was also a good night for King, who claimed a paid 12 maximum, while Belle Vue rider Morten Risager was having talks with the Ipswich management after the meeting about possibly replacing the injured Tobi Kroner.

The Dane, who replaced Leigh Lanham at Ipswich for two months earlier in the season, was riding his final Aces meeting as part of the shake-up to bring in Jason Crump.

He showed he knows his way round Foxhall, and with his Swedish League Thursday night commitments coming to an end he may well end up a Witch again although Eastbourne are also believed to be interested. His average is low enough to replace Kroner if Ipswich so wish.

This was the first 2009 league meeting between these two sides with the Aces from Manchester having beaten Ipswich home and away in the Knock-Out Cup.

World champion-elect for 2009 Crump is to join the Aces, and is set to face the Witches in the A and B league meetings in Manchester and the B meeting at Foxhall next month.

Krzysztof Kasprzak has been a stalwart for Belle Vue this year, and he showed his class by beating Scott Nicholls in the opening heat before the visitors extended their lead in the reserves' race when the home pair found themselves at the back in a spread out race.

Miskowiak and King gained a timely 5-1 in heat three before James Wright won heat four to maintain the Belle Vue lead. Heat five saw Kasprzak hit the first bend fence and then appear to stall his recovery to ensure the race was stopped with King and Miskowiak in a 5-1 position.

Kasprzak was excluded - to cheers from home supporters - and in the re-run there was the first scrap of the night with Miskowiak being passed and then re-passing Wright in a race won by King.

Ulrich Ostergaard flew out of the gate in the following race, but was caught by Nicholls on the second turn as Ipswich extended their lead with Carl Wilkinson in third place.

Heat seven was certainly not a productive one for the Witches with Dawid Stachyra - riding on what looked like under-power equipment - spinning round and off when chasing Risager for third place.

In the re-run, Batchelor was on board his second machine, and in his attempt to stay ahead of Risager round the second bend he did not give his opponent enough room, causing the Belle Vue man to hit the deck. The Australian protested his innocence, but the referee stood by his decision. In the second re-run, Belle Vue gained a soft 5-0 to put them back in front again.

Miskowiak and Wilkinson put the Witches back ahead again in heat eight, and they began to pull away in the following race when Miskowiak again took the chequered flag, this time with skipper King in his wake.

Nicholls turned up his throttle to full blast to burst round the outside of Risager on the third lap of heat 10 as Ipswich built up a nine-point lead. After the interval, Kasprzak won his second race in heat 11 before Miskowiak confirmed his current confidence with another super silky three points in the following race.

Kasprzak again took the chequered flag in heat 13 before Ipswich kept their nine-point advantage in the penultimate race with King winning and with Wilkinson being passed by Wright on the final circuit.

Miskowiak passed Risager for third place in the final race with Nicholls looking to many to have passed Kasprzak as the riders flew to the line in a thrilling climax to an entertaining meeting.

Belle Vue used the rider replacement facility for the injured Charlie Gjedde with Simon Lambert, the Scunthorpe Premier League rider, coming in for Tomasz Chrzanowski who was deemed to be withholding his services, leaving the Aces to bring in a lower-league rider with an average up to six points.

The rider replacement facility for the injured Tobi Kroner accrued five points while for Gjedde just three.

Ipswich have two home league meetings left with leaders Swindon next Thursday when they will be without Wilkinson, and four away - at Belle Vue (twice), Lakeside and Eastbourne.

Ipswich: S Nicholls 11+1, rider replacement, R Miskowiak 15+2, D King 10+2, T Batchelor 6, D Stachyra 0, C Wilkinson 7+2.

Belle Vue: K Kasprzak 12, rider replacement, P Hougaard 3+1, M Risager 8, S Lambert 0, U Ostergaard 7+1, J Wright 10+1.

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