Gloss is taken off Witches win

Ipswich Witches 50 Wolverhampton Wolves 42IPSWICH Evening Star Witches fans were last night left wondering whether their glass is half empty or half full.

Ipswich Witches 50 Wolverhampton Wolves 42

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches fans were last night left wondering whether their glass is half empty or half full.

They watched as their favourites made hard work of gaining what in the end was only an eight-point lead in the Knock-out Cup first leg at Foxhall Stadium. And they only have that slender advantage to take to the Midlands on Monday.

Successive heat advantages to the visitors in the final two heats saw them reduce a 14-point Witches lead to just eight by the close and to add insult to injury fans found out that Peterborough and Lakeside had drawn their Craven Shield encounter at the East of England Showground to mean the Witches had been knocked out of that competition.

Indeed if the Ipswich riders fail at Monmore Green on Monday they could be out of two cup competitions in the space of five days.

That of course, is the glass being half-empty prognosis but those with a more positive attitude will see that last night's result as a decent one and will allow Ipswich every opportunity to make progress in the sport's main cup competition.

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The Witches led throughout at Foxhall last night and by the half-way stage were already 12 points ahead. They even saw off a tactical ride by Iversen in heat 10 but could not go on to finish off the gutsy Wolves side.

Ipswich started well with Piotr Swiderski blasting up the inside of Ales Dryml down the back straight in the opening heat and when Chris Schramm and Toby Kroner gained a maximum 5-1 in the next the Witches had got just the start they were hoping for.

Kroner made an awful start in heat four but he reeled in fellow German Kristian Hefenbrock on the final lap as Ipswich increased their lead to six points.

Robert Miskowiak and Swiderski flew from the start in heat six and then Iversen took a nasty tumble in heat seven after leaning all over Schramm on the entrance to the first bend.

Iversen was excluded but the Witches could not take full advantage although another heat advantage saw them edging their lead up more.

Chris Louis was caught out by Nicoli Klindt in heat nine although Louis probably thought it was partner Steven Johnston on his outside and not the young Wolves man who roared off to victory.

Iversen's tactical ride was seen off by Miskowiak and then Schramm escaped serious injury after a horrible crash down the back straight in heat 11 as he clipped the fence and went out of control.

He just managed to get off his bike with the third bend approaching but was left with a damaged foot that is set to require hospital treatment later today.

If the Witches were hoping for a big finish they didn't get it despite Hampel winning his fourth race on the trot and Wolves final heat 5-1 maximum from Iversen and Freddie Lindgren leaves this tie in the balance.

You take your pick whether your glass is half full or half empty.

Ipswich Witches: R Miskowiak 6, P Swiderski 7+2, C Louis 6+1, S Johnston 6+2, J Hampel 13, C Schramm 3+1, T Kroner 9.

Wolverhampton Wolves: F Lindgren 10+1, A Dryml 7+1, N Iversen 12, R/R, D Howe 4+1, N Klindt 7, C Hefenbrock 0, C Neath 2.

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