Stern test ahead for hosts at Foxhall

WITH the challenge meetings out of the way, winter's words can be put aside, because tonight the real business of the Elite League starts for the Ipswich Witches.

By Elvin King

WITH the challenge meetings out of the way, winter's words can be put aside, because tonight the real business of the Elite League starts for the Ipswich Witches.

There has been much talk about the make-up of the side during the past four months, and two challenge meetings against Lakeside saw one good and one poor result.

Tonight, however, Reading Bulldogs will provide as stern a test as the Witches are likely to receive at Foxhall all season, and if victory can be achieved by John Louis' men, it will have been a job well done.


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Reading and Peterborough are the only two sides to have ridden a league meeting so far in 2007.

The pair clashed home and away on Monday and Tuesday, with Reading trouncing the league champions on their own track, doing enough to pick up the bonus point into the bargain.

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Leading the Bulldogs line-up is 2006 World Championship runner-up, Greg Hancock from California. He needs little introduction to British fans, who have been enjoying his performances in this country, since he first rode for Cradley Heath in 1989.

With Hancock joined by Matej Zagar and Travis McGowan, the Bulldogs possess riders who know Foxhall well.

But the Bulldogs' key man could be former Witch Danny Bird. The young Englishman rode for Ipswich in the 2004 season while doubling up with Reading in the Premier League.

He rode most of the season at No.2 in the Witches team and also enjoyed a successful Premier League season, where he finished with an average of 10.14. In the corresponding fixture last year, the Bulldogs managed a four point victory at Foxhall, winning 47-43. But the Witches got ample revenge in the B fixture, winning 56-38, with Chris Louis scoring a paid maximum.

It's going to need that form from Louis, and then some, if Ipswich are to lower Reading's colours tonight. But one thing is for sure, victory would be a massive scalp for the untried home side so early in the season.

Tonight's teams

Ipswich: 1 M Loram, 2 K Jansson, 3 C Louis, 4 M Rempala, 5 R Miskowiak, 6 Z Suchecki, 7 T Kroner

Reading: 1 G Hancock, 2 S Simota, 3 M Zagar, 4 J Kolodziej, 5 T McGowan, 6 M Lemon, 7 D Bird

Referee: D Entwhistle

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