Witches rue last-heat exclusion

Coventry 46 Ipswich 44IPSWICH'S bid for a first away of the season was denied in controversial circumstances at Brandon on Friday night.Witches still collected a point for a narrow defeat - but it was the last-race disqualification of Scott Nicholls which was a huge talking point at the end of a highly eventful meeting.

Coventry 46 Ipswich 44

IPSWICH'S bid for a first away of the season was denied in controversial circumstances at Brandon on Friday night.

Witches still collected a point for a narrow defeat - but it was the last-race disqualification of Scott Nicholls which was a huge talking point at the end of a highly eventful meeting.

The visitors were handed their golden opportunity via the events of Heat 4, in which former Ipswich rider Rory Schlein crashed out of the meeting.


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The race had already been re-started twice due to first-bend incidents, but Schlein's smash was far more serious as he inexplicably picked up drive and hit the fence down the straight.

The Australian, a popular figure during his stint at Foxhall last season, required lengthy treatment and was eventually taken to hospital in great pain with suspected collarbone and shoulder injuries at the very least.

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Troy Batchelor's win in the re-run left the scores level at 12-12, all of which cancelled out a 5-1 reverse in Heat 2 and Chris Harris's opening race win over Nicholls.

Witches edged in front for the first time in Heat 6 with a terrific win from Batchelor over Harris, and a good third from Jerran Hart, but were surprisingly unable to extend their advantage with Daniel King's unexpected last place in Heat 7.

A run of shared races followed, with Tobias Kroner a comfortable winner of Heat 8 and Batchelor maintaining his winning run in magnificent style with a last-bend cut-back seeing him take Olly Allen on the line.

But the lead was doubled in Heat 10 with King coming good to take three points ahead of a frantic battle for second place with Harris passing Robert Miskowiak, who clipped the fence on the last lap.

Miskowiak, though, had already done his job by winning his first two rides, and he continued his fine form by making a fast start just when it was required to defeat Allen and Sitera in Heat 12.

Heat 13 was shared with Harris riding a superb race to pass Nicholls around the outside on the third lap - and then the Witches were suddenly punished for not closing the meeting out.

A previously-subdued Edward Kennett flew out of the start with Sitera in Heat 14, and the pair repelled everything that King could throw at them, levelling the scores with one race to go.

And then Nicholls was thrown out of the decider as he clipped Kennett when trying to move through off turn two.

That handed the advantage to Coventry, and although Miskowiak made the best start he was hunted down by Harris on the second lap, leaving the Witches two points adrift.

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