Witches bidding to finish on a high

IPSWICH Witches will be looking to end a run of six consecutive defeats when they ride their final Sky Sports Elite League meeting of the season at Oxford tonight.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Witches will be looking to end a run of six consecutive defeats when they ride their final Sky Sports Elite League meeting of the season at Oxford tonight.

The Witches last tasted success on August 17 when they beat Poole at Foxhall Stadium, and they have since lost to Coventry and Eastbourne at home and Swindon, Poole, Eastbourne and Wolverhampton away.

Ipswich go into the meeting on the same number of points as third-from-bottom Eastbourne and if they fail to gain any reward tonight they will be overtaken if the Eagles collect at least one point in their final fixture at bottom-placed Arena-Essex this Friday.

The Witches beat Oxford 52-43 in the corresponding home meeting while Eastbourne hold a 53-41 advantage over the Hammers.

Ipswich will use the rider replacement facility for skipper Chris Louis, who aggravated his broken collarbone against Eastbourne at home last Thursday and is resting before next week's three Craven Shield qualifying round meetings.

Most Read

Every rider apart from Mark Loram will be eligible for an extra ride against a Cheetahs side that are second from bottom in the table but in much better shape than when Ipswich beat them at Cowley in their opening away league meeting.

Loram has been the one big plus for Ipswich this year, upping his average by almost a point to 8.70, and team manager Mike Smillie said he was grateful that Terry Russell, who owns Loram's English rights, has agreed to the former world champion staying at Foxhall next year.

“Mark has been a big hit both on and off the track,” said Smillie. “It is a reflection of his enjoyment this year that he has ridden so well. It is too early to concern ourselves with next year yet, but having Mark and Chris Louis at out top end will be a priority for 2007.”

Ales Dryml is recovering from a serious head injury, so Oxford have to cover for him, and they will be out to give their fans something to remember as they are not involved in the Craven Shield.

Oxford: T Wiltshire, A Skornicki, D Howe, D Watt, AN Other, L Tomicek and E Andersson.

Ipswich: P Protasiewicz, K Jansson, R Miskowiak, Rider replacement for C Louis, M Loram, D King and T Kroner.

PEPE Protasiewicz is a doubt for all the Ipswich Craven Shield meetings next week because he is booked to ride in a meeting in Russia. If he cannot get back to England then Ipswich will have to complete their six-man team with Tobi Kroner, Carl Wilkinson or Steve Boxall.

With Mildenhall's Premier League season virtually at an end, Daniel King should be available for the meetings at Wolverhampton on Monday, Foxhall next Thursday and Eastbourne on Saturday week.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter