The Ipswich Witches fell agonisingly short of picking up all three points they so desperately needed in their play-off chase, after a narrow 46-44 defeat at Wolverhampton, although they did have the consolation of picking up the aggregate bonus point.

The Witches had travelled to the West Midlands knowing victory would be a huge fillip in their late play-off chase.

And, in a nip-and-tuck meeting they almost did it, taking an early heat two lead and were still level with their hosts after heat six.

However, the home side went six up by heat 10, before Emil Sayfutdinov and Jason Doyle reduced the arrears to two with three heats to go.

Wolves clinched the victory in the penultimate heat, before Ipswich’s top pairing of Sayfutdinov and Doyle sealed a heat 15 1-5 maximum to give Ipswich a point on the night.

Team boss Ritchie Hawkins said: "I thought it was a great performance, and I can’t fault the team.

"Ordinarily you would be happy with that result at Wolves, picking up the bonus point.

"But obviously we’ve left ourselves with such a big gap to make up, it looks like not being enough.

"There was rain before the start and the track was tricky. But the boys put everything into it and at times got caught out. But certainly, I can’t fault them for that.

"I would rather they were putting themselves on the edge to try and get the win rather than taking the easy option and losing anyway.

"We’ve got two league meetings left, starting on Thursday against Leicester. We must win them, and we’ll have to see if anything happens elsewhere to get us in the play-offs.

"We’ve got the Knockout Cup to go for which I like to think we’ll get into the final after we race at Peterborough next week.

"So, two more wins in the league and then we can go into the cup final with confidence and look to finish the season with a trophy."

WOLVERHAMPTON 46: Sam Masters (c) 7+1, Steve Worrall 6+2, Luke Becker 5, Ryan Douglas 8+2, Rory Schlein 8, Zach Cook 6+2, Leon Flint (RS) 6+1. Team Manager: Peter Adams

IPSWICH 44: Emil Sayfutdinov 12+2, Erik Riss 5+1, Danny King (c) 4+1, Keynan Rew 1, Jason Doyle 15, Danyon Hume 6, Jason Edwards (G) (RS) 1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins