Biggest meeting in Witches’ history on Sunday

SPEEDWAY: Ipswich Witches will be pulling out all the stops when their Elite League status is placed on the line at Brough Park, Newcastle tomorrow (start 6.30pm).

Having finished bottom of the Elite League, Ipswich must beat Premier League Newcastle Diamonds on aggregate over two legs in the promotion/relegation play-off final.

Rumours that the Suffolk club might favour a drop down in grade have been circulating for some time with the financial situation at Foxhall Stadium said to be far from healthy.

But club official Horry Money has stressed the determination to beat Newcastle – with the second leg on the heath on Thursday.

Sponsorship co-ordinator Money has become a leading player at the Witches this year working closely with promoter John Louis and director of speedway Chris Louis, and the London-based solicitor would not go as far as confirm 100% the commitment to stay in the top flight.

More information on that is expected prior to the second leg, but Money did say:

“Our priority is to get a good result on Sunday and to go on and secure our Elite League place.

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“This is the biggest meeting in the club’s history and we have selected a side in accordance with this.

“Apart from Linus Sundstrom, who is riding for Rye House, we will be at full strength.

“We fully respect what Newcastle have achieved this year, but we are going to fight to keep our Elite League place.

“There will be no complacency as whatever sport you are involved in you want to participate at the highest level. And we at Ipswich are no different.”

Ipswich are expected to win over two legs quite comfortably such is the gulf in class between the two leagues, but it might be a close run affair tomorrow with Brough Park an unfamiliar circuit for most Ipswich riders.

The riders are scheduled to be at the Supporters Club dinner dance tonight, but they will refrain from much of the jollifications to ensure they are good shape for the trip up the A1 in the morning.

If as expected Ipswich overcome Newcastle, they still have the option of withdrawing from the Elite League.

And with Eastbourne and Belle Vue also believed to have serious concerns about the way the top league is being run a three-pronged stand at the promoters’ conference might result in significant changes in the way speedway is to be run in Britain in 2011.

“I’m loving my involvement with the Witches,” added Money, who is the son of former Ipswich MP Ernle Money.

“It is a privilege to work with people like Chris Louis and skipper Scott Nicholls, and the intention is to carry on with this next year. But there will be more to say next week.”

Chris Slabon has recovered from a hand injury to be programmed to ride while number eight Richie Hawkins rides at number seven tonight in the absence of Sundstrom and fellow doubling up rider – King’s Lynn’s Kozza Smith.

Tomorrow’s like line-ups

Newcastle Diamonds: K Larsen, rider replacement, D Sneddon, R Bach, D Howe, D North, A McKinna.

Ipswich Witches: S Nicholls, C Slabon, D King, A Dryml, R Miskowiak, D Stachyra, R Hawkins.

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