Ipswich Witches' opening night of the season went far from to plan as champions Peterborough Panthers took the League Cup points.

The Witches went down 40-50 on a night when they were never ahead and were consistently left at the start by the fast-gating Panthers.

It was a disappointing performance in what admittedly is still very early in the season and the Panthers look once more like they will be a hard team to beat in 2022.

For Ipswich, Jason Doyle rode well, as did Erik Riss and Paul Starke, but the Panthers were simply too sharp.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tactical substitute Jason Doyle walks back to the pits after crashing out of heat 12Tactical substitute Jason Doyle walks back to the pits after crashing out of heat 12 (Image: Steve Waller)

Hans Andersen for the visitors rolled back the years with a vintage performance, while Chris Harris and reserve Benjamin Basso also impressed.

But this was just as much about Ipswich's lack of positivity on the track as much as the Panthers' exact opposite.

The Panthers had already beaten the Witches by 16 points in both teams' opening night meeting at Alwalton last week in a League Cup clash.

The Panthers won the toss and took the inside grids in heat one.

Cameron Heeps and Doyle were both away well, but Heeps was suffering some bike issues as both Panthers streaked past him up the inside to share the race.

Both Panthers were away well in the next, but Paul Starke past Jordan Palin as the visitors took an early lead.

Peterborough took a commanding early lead with Andersen and Ulrich Ostergaard too quick from the start in heat three. Danny King and Anders Rowe both passed Palin, as Chris Harris kept the Panthers six ahead.

East Anglian Daily Times: Team managers Richie Hawkins and Rob Lyon pictured ahead of the meeting.Team managers Richie Hawkins and Rob Lyon pictured ahead of the meeting. (Image: Steve Waller)

Scott Nicholls went through the tapes in heat five. Benjamin Basso replaced him, but it was Erik Riss won won, with Michael Palm-Toft passing Troy Batchelor for second.


Doyle won the next as Heeps again trailed at the back, before the Panthers stretched their lead to eight with another maximum.

Heeps missed the two minutes to be at the tapes, but Starke rode a hard first turn to win heat eight, with Rowe a solid third.

Both Witches made the start in heat nine, but Harris passed both down the back straight, as Andersen lowered Doyle's colours for the first time on the night in the next.

Palm-Toft and King had a right ding-dong in heat 11 but again it was the Panther who came out on top as the visitors went eight up again.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jason Doyle heads for the Chequered Flag in heat 6.Jason Doyle heads for the Chequered Flag in heat 6. (Image: Steve Waller)

Doyle came in as tactical substitute in heat 12, but he reared up and crashed out of the heat, as Basso impressed in the re-run as the Panthers closed in on victory.

When King went from second to last in heat 13 as both Panthers went past, it was all over as Peterborough celebrated.

Even so, there was great drama in the last race, with Doyle and Andersen going at it hammer and tongs, with Doyle pulling a tough pass on the Dane, who reacted with anger to the ref. But the pass was clean, if tough.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cameron Heeps at work on his machine doing the meeting.Cameron Heeps at work on his machine doing the meeting. (Image: Steve Waller)

IPSWICH: Jason Doyle (3,3,2,f/x,3,3) = 14; Cameron Heeps (0,0,ex/t, 1*) = 1+1; Troy Batchelor (0,1,1*,2) = 4+1; Erik Riss (1,3,2,0, 1) = 7; Danny King (2,1,2,0) = 5; Paul Starke (2,0,3,0,2) = 7; Anders Rowe (0,1*,1,) = 2+1

PETERBOROUGH: Michael Palm Toft (1*,2,3,2,) = 8+1; Scott Nicholls (2,ex/t,2,1) = 5; Ulrich Ostergaard (2*,3,0,1) = 6+1; Hans Andersen (3,2*,3,3,0) 11+1; Chris Harris (3,2,3,1*, 2) = 11+1; Benjamin Basso (3,0,1*,0,3,1) = 8+1; Jordan Palin (1,0,0,) 1.

*bonus point

Heat details

1: Doyle, Nicholls, Palm-Toft, Heeps 56.9 3-3

2. Basso, Starke, Palin, Rowe 57.3 5-7

3. Andersen, Ostergaard, Riss, Batchelor 58.3 6-12

4. Harris, King, Rowe, Palin 57.2 9-15

5. Riss, Palm-Toft, Batchelor, Basso 57.3 13-17

6. Doyle, Harris, Basso, Heeps 57.4 16-20

7. Ostergaard, Andersen, King, Starke 58.3 17-25

8. Starke, Nicholls, Rowe, Palin 57.8 21-27

9. Harris, Riss, Batchelor, Basso 57.7 24-30

10 Andersen, Doyle, Heeps, Ostergaard 58.0 27-33

11 Palm-Toft, King, Nicholls, Starke 57.8 29-37

12 Basso, Batchelor, Ostergaard, Doyle (f/x) 58.6 31-41

13. Doyle, Palm-Toft, Harris, King 58.4 34-44

14 Andersen, Starke, Basso, Riss 58.0 36-48

15 Doyle, Harris, Riss, Andersen 58.8 40-50