The Ipswich Witches raced to a dramatic super heat victory over the Oxford Spires on the road in the Premiership last night.

The visitors had Scott Nicholls guesting for the injured Jason Doyle with the Spires at full strength.

This fixture was a restaging of the abandoned clash last month where rain stopped play with the Witches 10 points in front after six races and the Suffolk side started well again, edging in front after the early exchanges.

However, Oxford turned things around to lead by eight points after 10 races but three maximums in a row from the away side put them back in front only for a heat 14 5-1 from the Spires to level things again.

A controversial heat 15 ended in a 3-3, making it 45-45 on the night, but Ipswich raced to victory in the super heat as they also picked up the aggregate bonus point having beaten Oxford 53-37 at Foxhall. Emil Sayfutdinov top scored with a faultless 18-point maximum.

Keynan Rew in actionKeynan Rew in action (Image: Steve Waller)
Nicholls won heat one as Rohan Tungate managed to prevent a Witches maximum as he passed Dan Thompson for second resulting in a 2-4 to the away side and the points were shared in heat two.

Danny King held off Charles Wright to win heat three in a 3-3 and Sayfutdinov took victory in heat four, but the away team were forced to settle for a 2-4 again as Chris Harris relegated Jordan Jenkins to third on the last turn, making it 10-14.

Oxford levelled with a 5-1 in heat five despite the best efforts of Nicholls. The Witches edged back in front in heat six as Sayfutdinov was the winner again and Keynan Rew picked up a point for the heat advantage.

However, the Spires then went in front in heat seven as Harris and Erik Riss couldn’t be caught. Jordan Jenkins managed to split the home pairing in heat eight but a 4-2 to the hosts gave them a 26-22 lead.

Sayfutdinov bided his time before overtaking Wright to win a shared heat nine.

The home team extended their lead in heat 10 to eight points with a 5-1 and Ritchie Hawkins put Sayfutdinov in as a tactical substitute for heat 11.

The decision worked out to perfection as Sayfutdinov raced to victory and was followed home by Nicholls for the maximum. The scores were level after heat 12 as King and Rew teamed up for another 1-5 making it 36-36.

Remarkably a third maximum in a row followed in heat 13 as Sayfutdinov and Nicholls came up trumps again to give Ipswich the lead.

Heat 14 was stopped with Adam Ellis at the front and Rew in third in a match-winning position, but Rew hit the deck and was excluded. Oxford punished Ipswich in the re-run hitting a 5-1 to level things again going into the last-heat decider.

The drama kept on coming as heat 15 was stopped with Nicholls and Tungate clashing. To the shock of most people at the stadium, the referee judged that Nicholls was the cause of the stoppage and excluded the Ipswich guest.

However, Sayfutdinov kept his cool to win the re-run and take it to a super heat.

Sayfutdinov and Nicholls did the business in the super heat recording a 7-2 to give the travelling side a fantastic victory on the road that strengthened their position at the top of the table.

Skipper Danny King chipped in with six pointsSkipper Danny King chipped in with six points (Image: Steve Waller)
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said: "I am delighted with the boys, they fought so hard and thoroughly deserve the three points.

"As a team they deserve to be top of the table for what they have shown the last few months."

He added: "Emil was simply sublime, he was so quick. He was a joy to watch for everyone at the stadium, you can’t help but love watching him ride like that.

“It is nice to be top of the table, but we all know it comes down to the play-offs. We don’t want to let our form drop now and it was a massive result off the back of Monday.

"We are in a very strong position at the top of the league, and we want to finish there but we are well aware it will then start from scratch again.”

OXFORD 45: Rohan Tungate 8+1, Drew Kemp 1, Maciej Janowski 5+3, Charles Wright 9+1, Chris Harris (c) 6, Erik Riss 10+2, Ashton Boughen (RS) 6. 

IPSWICH 45: Scott Nicholls (G) 8+2, Dan Thompson (RS) 1, Danny King (c) 6, Adam Ellis 3, Emil Sayfutdinov 18 (Maximum), Keynan Rew 5+1, Jordan Jenkins 4+1.