Robbery by Robins in last heat
Swindon 45 Ipswich 45By Bob RadfordThe Ipswich Evening Star Witches gained some revenge from their visit to Swindon - three days after the Robins had pulled off a surprise win at Foxhall Heath.
Swindon 45 Ipswich 45
By Bob Radford
The Ipswich Evening Star Witches gained some revenge from their visit to Swindon - three days after the Robins had pulled off a surprise win at Foxhall Heath.
Last night they forced a draw in a match which they led for most of the evening.
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It took a Leigh Adams/Troy Batchelor 5-1 in the last race to deny the Witches all three points.
Just as Ipswich lacked top-end strength the home side lacked strength in depth which made it an even contest.
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In fact it was a fine result for the Witches on the Wiltshire track where they suffered two heavy defeats in 2007.
With the opening race drawn the Witches grabbed the lead in Heat 2 with a supremely easy 5-1 for Tobias Kroner and Chris Schramm.
The lead was extended to six in the next race when Steve Johnston rounded Travis McGowan, to take the lead, though Troy Batchelor finally wrestled second place from Chris Louis.
Two 4-2 wins for Swindon narrowed the gap to two points and in Heat 6 Leigh Adams team rode James Wright for a 5-1 to put them two ahead.
But Johnston and Louis teamed up for a maximum to bounce back in the next race.
Guest Chris Holder shook off an indifferent start to win Heat 8, and although Schramm was pipped on the line by Wright the Witches lead was up to four again.
Again that was extended to six when Robert Miskowiak held off Batchelor in Heat 9 and with Kroner taking third the Witches' six-point lead was restored.
Ipswich held that advantage until Heat 13, and when Sebastian Alden chose not to go wide to attempt team riding with Adams, Holder slipped past but the Swedish rider just held off Miskowiak.
It was Alden again, taking his seventh rider who kept the Wiltshire side in the match with a surprise Heat 14 victory ahead of Kroner and Johnston.
Any result other than a Swindon maximum would now mean that the Witches would return to Suffolk with three points.
When Batchelor made his only good start of the night and Adams tucked in behind him in the final race there was no doubt that the home side had salvaged a draw.
Witches hopes had been dealt a blow by the absence of Jarek Hampel and Piotr Swiderski in Poland.
Australian champion Holder was drafted in as a guest replacement, and came in to the match on the back of his first-ever Elite League maximum at Poole on Wednesday night. He replaced Swiderski, not Hampel as originally announced.
This helped the Witches as they were able to use all bar Chris Louis for rider replacement outings which yielded a creditable eight points.
The Robins also operated rider replacement for the in-form Dane Mads Korneliussen, who was badly bruised while himself guesting for Poole the previous night.
It was so near and yet so far for the Witches - but they have the credit of being the first team this year to leave Blunsdon undefeated.