Witches bid to avoid wooden spoon

IPSWICH Witches will be looking to avoid picking up the wooden spoon when they take on Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium tonight.The Witches need one more point this season to avoid the possibility of finishing last in the Sky Sports Elite League table.

IPSWICH Witches will be looking to avoid picking up the wooden spoon when they take on Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium tonight.

The Witches need one more point this season to avoid the possibility of finishing last in the Sky Sports Elite League table.

It won't be easy as their last victory against a side that has finished in the play-offs was back on June 28, when the Witches beat Swindon 46-44.

With Poole now confirmed in fourth place in the League and the play-offs having taken place, the fixture may seem to have little resting on it.


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But with the potential for big changes to be made to the structure of the sport in the winter months, this will be the last chance this year for the Ipswich team to demonstrate their strengths in front of their home fans in a league encounter.

The Witches will use a rider replacement for the injured Jesper B Jensen at No. 1 but will be bringing in a guest replacement for Kim Jansson, who bruised his back quite badly in a crash at Coventry last Friday.

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Former Witch Jacek Rempala will wear the No. 2 race jacket for the Witches for the first time since 1992, and will line up in the same side as younger brother Marcin. Jacek is still an Ipswich asset and currently rides for Berwick in the Premier League.

Last Sunday he finished third in the Premier League Riders Championship at Swindon, and has attended several meetings at Foxhall this season to support his younger brother in the pits.

The Witches know it will be far from easy against a Poole side bursting with talent such as 2006 World Champion Jason Crump and Grand Prix star Bjarne Pedersen.

Poole crushed the Witches in the reverse fixture at Wimborne Road in June, winning 63-30.

So while the bonus point may be out of the question, the Witches will be hoping it's not too late to record their first victory over Poole in 2007.

Poole's last appearance at Foxhall was on April 19, when they gained a 35-58 victory.

The side has changed slightly since then, but they still retain Jason Crump at No. 1 and Bjarne Pedersen at No. 3.

Crump was beaten only once on his last visit as he scored 14 points, while Pedersen racked up 12 points and a bonus point.

Young Australian Troy Batchelor remains at No. 2 and has developed well throughout the season after moving up from the Premier League last winter. He managed 3+1 in April.

Another young Aussie, Jason Doyle, has moved up to No. 4 in the side.

He missed the early part of the season with a broken ankle but has been scoring well since his return.

Great Britain international Edward Kennett has replaced Craig Boyce as heat leader at No. 5, and impressed with 12+1 on his last visit with Poole.

At reserve the Pirates have tried various combinations this season.

Piotr Swist and Craig Watson are long gone, and in their places now are young Pole Adrian Gomolski and young Brit Tai Woffinden.

Tonight's meeting, sponsored by Doug Wade Insurance, was due to take place on August 20 but rain washed out that occasion.

Tonight's line-ups

Ipswich Witches: Jesper B Jensen (rider replacement) Jacek Rempala, Chris Louis (capt) Tobi Kroner, Robert Miskowiak, Marcin Rempala, Zibi Sucheki.

Poole Pirates: Jason Crump, Troy Batchelor, Bjarne Pedersen, Jason Doyle, Edward Kennett, Kai Woofenden, Adrian Gomolski, Neil Middleditch.

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