Miserable away run continues for Witches

IPSWICH extended their miserable run on the road in this Elite League basement battle in Manchester with a 50-40 defeat to Belle Vue. The Witches, who have failed to win away all season, trailed throughout at bottom club Belle Vue in a match which represented perhaps their best chance of a victory on their travels.

IPSWICH extended their miserable run on the road in this Elite League basement battle in Manchester with a 50-40 defeat to Belle Vue.

The Witches, who have failed to win away all season, trailed throughout at bottom club Belle Vue in a match which represented perhaps their best chance of a victory on their travels.

Despite providing the majority of the heat winners - eight to Belle Vue's seven - second bottom Ipswich never really looked like getting the win which would have lifted them above Eastbourne in the table. They got off to the worst possible start, conceding a 5-1 from the tapes in the opening heat.

But they immediately hit back with a 4-2 in the reserves' race through Tobias Kroner and Marcin Rempala who, along with fellow Poles Robert Miskowiak and Zibi Suchecki, had arrived at the track just 15 minutes before the scheduled start after getting lost en route.


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Chris Louis pushed rival skipper Joe Screen all the way in Heat 3, but had to settle for second and Miskowiak restricted Belle Vue to another 4-2 when he rounded Adam Skornicki at the start of the second lap in the next.

The next three races were shared, Louis gaining his first win when he kept a tight inside line on the first bend in heat seven to pull ahead of the fast-starting but wide-riding Simon Stead, a member of Great Britain's World Cup Final team at the weekend.

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Ipswich closed the gap to two points when the impressive Kroner and Kim Jansson teamed up for their only 5-1 in Heat 8.

Miskowiak ended Screen's unbeaten run by taking him very wide on the first bend in heat nine, but the huge gap created allowed Belle Vue's Kevin Doolan to nip up the inside and storm into an unassailable lead.

Screen, who recovered to finish third behind Miskowiak, was clearly not amused by the Pole's tactics and let him know his views as they cruised back to the pits.

Louis rounded James Wright on the fourth bend to win a shared heat 10, but then came a triple blow which put the match beyond the Witches.

Belle Vue replaced Joel Parsons with fellow reserve Skornicki in heat 11, and it proved a master-stroke as he blasted under Jesper Jensen coming out of the first turn and went on to follow home Stead.

Skornicki featured in back-to-back home 5-1s in the next race, this time behind Screen as the pair team rode superbly to shut out the ever probing Louis.

And Ipswich knew it was not going to be their night in Heat 13, when, trailing by 12 points, Miskowiak was given a double points scoring tactical ride.

But the move misfired as he trailed in last while, ironically, team mate Jensen was taking the chequered flag in a 3-3 which sealed victory for the Aces, although the Witches had the consolation of taking the aggregate point after their massive win at Foxhall last month.

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