Witches' winning home run is halted
IPSWICH Witches and Swindon Robins served up a bruising clash at Foxhall Stadium last night.But the home side threw the meeting away at the death as the high-flying visitors came out on top, ending the Witches' five-match home winning run as they returned to the top of the Elite League table.
IPSWICH Witches and Swindon Robins served up a bruising clash at Foxhall Stadium last night.
But the home side threw the meeting away at the death as the high-flying visitors came out on top, ending the Witches' five-match home winning run as they returned to the top of the Elite League table.
In the end the meeting had a finale one would never had forecast throughout, with the Witches going from two points ahead in heat 11 to eight down by heat 14.
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Never more than four points in it up to heat 11, the Witches gave as good as they got in a pulsating encounter, but a crucial 5-1 maximum to the Wiltshire visitors in heat 12 tipped the meeting their way.
And when Dawid Stachyra crashed out in heat 14 and Danny King conceded a 5-1 maximum, the meeting was over for the Suffolk side.
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Ipswich were well served by Robert Miskowiak, King and Scott Nicholls, but they fell short in the reserve department and against a team like Swindon, it proved too much to make up.
There was a ferocious start to the meeting as Ryan Fisher flew into the fence going into turn three in the opening heat, the sandwich between Leigh Adams and Scott Nicholls.
The American was excluded and in the re-run Nicholls and Adams clashed going into turn one, with Adams winning, but words were exchanged between the two after the race.
Carl Wilkinson fell on the second lap in the next after a tough race with Paul Hurry. This time it was Wilkinson who was unhappy and the Witches fans were even less impressed in the re-run as Dawid Stachyra struggled at the back.
But the Witches hit straight back in heat three with Danny King and Troy Batchelor negotiating through on turn two to level things up.
Robins' Matej Zagar jetted to victory in heat four before King produced a glorious start from the outside to inflict a defeat on Adams, the Swindon captain resorting to shepherding partner Fisher home.
Nicholls was determined on Zagar in heat six as Wilkinson's point saw the Witches take a 19-17 lead and they doubled that lead in the next with Robert Miskowiak coming out on top of another hard first turn which left the unhappy Travis McGowan on the deck.
Fisher surprised everyone, possibly even himself, by defeating Miskowiak in heat eight, while Zagar and Nicholls won the next two, Nicholls threading his way through on turn two in heat 10.
Miskowiak was fastest away in race 11, but Adams stalked Ipswich's Polish star and passed him on lap three down the home straight, with Stachyra battling manfully at the back to keep the heat level and the scores still close at 34-32 in the home side's favour.
Swindon got a massive boost to take a two-point lead themselves, with Batchelor slow from the start as the Robins thumped home a 5-1 maximum.
Heat 13 was going to be vital but it began with a frightening crash, Nicholls, Zagar and Miskowiak all flying into the fence after tangling going into the first bend. Nicholls was first up, soon followed by Miskowiak and then thankfully Zagar.
It was a re-run with all four riders and it was Zagar who held off Nicholls and his nerve, as Ipswich's two-point lead had been reversed into a four-point deficit in the space of two heats. There was controversy in heat 14 as Stachyra hurtled into bend three under pressure from Risager.
It was a nasty-looking crash but when Stachyra's blue light went on as a disqualification, home fans were wild.
But that's how it stood and the meeting was all over as McGowan and Risager left King from the start of the re-run. Nicholls and Miskowiak at least finished the meeting with a flurry, Miskowiak passing Adams in style, but they damage had been done three heats on the bounce before that.
n The Witches are in action again tonight at Lakeside in the Elite League. Carl Wilkinson is unavailable, as he is riding for Scunthorpe, so Josh Auty replaces him.