Tigers give Witches run for their money

MILDENHALL Fen Tigers took Ipswich Witches down to the wire in an entertaining Suffolk Cup second round clash at West Row on Sunday

By Mike Bacon

MILDENHALL Fen Tigers took Ipswich Witches down to the wire in an entertaining Suffolk Cup second round clash at West Row yesterday.

In the end the Elite League side from east Suffolk came out on top, both on the day and on aggregate, but not before Premier League Mildenhall gave them a real scare with a rugged performance.

Certainly if Mick Horton's men ride at home every week as they did against the Witches yesterday, there is no reason why this should not be an exciting season for Fen Tigers' fans.

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While the aggregate victory was always going to be the Witches after their 14-point win at Foxhall on Thursday, there was still the little matter of who would come out on top in a nip-and-tuck affair at a packed West Row. And in the end the Witches were happy to scramble a 3-3 drawn final heat to secure that.

Four points behind going into heat 15, Mildenhall's top guns, Jason Lyons and Daniel King were up against Mark Loram and Piotr Protasiewicz for the Witches. With Lyons leading, Daniel King did his best to try and get round the Ipswich duo, but slid off on the first bend of lap two and with his exclusion light on, it was game, set and match for Ipswich.

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On Thursday night Mildenhall won the first two races at Foxhall, but didn't cross the line ahead again, but it was different yesterday and they provided the majority of heat winners.

Lyons and Daniel King were impressive, as was Daniel's brother Jason, who brought the house down with a cracking win over Loram in heat six. It was the race of the day and as good a race as you are likely to see on any track in the world.

With Jason King at the front hugging the inside, his team-mate Lyons was using all his track craft to try and keep Loram at bay. You could have thrown a handkerchief over all three for four pulsating laps, with Jason King and Loram going over the line side by side, with the Mildenhall youngster getting the nod.

At the time the Witches were leading by two points after Kim Jansson slid off on the first turn on lap two in heat one, after he tried an outside line which was far too slick. Ipswich skipper Chris Louis won the re-run of that and Jon Armstrong won heat two, with Steve Boxall and Barry Burchatt passing and re-passing each other at the back. Protasiewicz was an easy winner of the next before Ipswich got their noses in front when Loram and the impressive Boxall both made super starts to put Ipswich four points in the lead.

Jansson's miserable start to the meeting got worse in heat five when he had Mildenhall captain Shaun Tacey off as the pair entered the first bend, second time round, and then Jason King produced his heroics with his win over Loram.

Robert Miskowiak walked away from a terrible-looking crash in heat seven after his team-mate Protasiewicz got all out of shape sending his fellow Pole hurtling into the fence. It seemed a bad one, but Miskowiak walked away with nothing more than a broken frame on his bike.

Jason King continued his good form with another win in heat eight as Mildenhall took the lead for the first time in the meeting. However, that didn't last as Jaros did well to hold off Tacey, with Loram winning again for the visitors.

Miskowiak won his first race of the afternoon and his first of the season in heat 10 and Daniel King lowered Louis' colours for the first time, with a determined ride in the next.

Ipswich led by two points at 34-32, but Protasiewicz changed gearing on his bike and positively flew from the outside, with partner Jaros again showing up well to give the Witches a six-point lead they were not to surrender. Lyons showed why he is going to be such a good No.1 for the Fen Tigers in the Premier League as he beat Loram and Louis in heat 13, before Miskowiak made a fine start in the penultimate heat, but overcooked it and Jon Armstrong netted his second win of the afternoon, to leave Mildenhall 40-44 behind going into the final heat.

Daniel King's crash meant there was no dramatic ending for the home side, as Ipswich picked up their first piece of silverware of the new season.


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