Witches' final hopes are blown away

IPSWICH Witches' hopes of making the Elite League final were blown away in disappointing fashion at Poole tonight.

Elite League semi-final: Poole 59, Ipswich Witches 33

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches' hopes of making the Elite League final were blown away in disappointing fashion at Poole tonight.

From the outset the Witches were never in this and after two heats were already eight points behind and facing the sort of uphill struggle they had no doubt dreaded.

In front of a live television audience the Witches looked badly out of sorts and the Ipswich fans both at home and who made the trip to Poole, will have felt badly short changed.

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Only Rory Schlein came out of the meeting with any real glory, the young Aussie deserving to finish on the winning side after an all action performance.

However, and led by the disappointing Robert Miskowiak, too many Witches looked jaded and totally out of sorts.

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Poole will now go on to race Lakeside in a two legged final after they disposed of Swindon in comfortable fashion, but for the Witches that will count for nothing as they recover from this mauling.

Poole was sharp from the tapes and caught the Witches napping time and time again and this will be an experience the Witches will quickly want to forget.

The disastrous start Ipswich had been dreading got underway early as Chris Holder and Magnus Zetterstrom gated ahead of Piotr Swiderski in the opening race.

It was 10 - 2 to the home side in the next as the Witches looked all at sea from the starting gate.

Kenneth Bjerre, off the inside gate, made a flying start to defeat follow countryman, Bjarne Pedersen in Heat 3, and the Witches shares another race in the next after Chris Schramm made a great start from the inside.

Overtaking was at a premium on a very slick track and the Witches were being penalised for being unable to get some starts as Swiderski again was left standing in Heat 5, and the Witches were already chasing this meeting.

Holder was too good in the next even though Steve Johnston made a half-decent start and Heat 7 was the race of the night, with Dave Watt flying round the outside of Bjerre who was out with the black and white helmet on as a tactical ride in Heat 7.

The Witches were looking for a heat advantage from somewhere and they must have been confident of something from Heat 8 despite Schlein's excellent effort from the outside. Johnston was nowhere, and the Witches were staring defeat in the fact already with only half the meeting gone.

Damage limitation was the order of the day now, and Pedersen won Heat 9 comfortably before Robert Miskowiak completed a miserable effort for him, finishing last as the Witches fell 18 points behind with just five races to go.

Swiderski produced a determined first bend to see off Watt and go on to claim only the Witches third heat win of the night, which was never going to be good enough before the start.

Pedersen and Bjerre had a good little ding-dong in Heat 12, before Schlein roared round the outside of Holder in exciting style to bring a little cheer to the Witches fans that had travelled the long way to Dorset.

The racing was actually improving now although quite frankly this had not been an exciting meeting by any stretch of the imagination.

Part of that may have been due to the Witches inability to get to grips with the job in hand, but certainly a slick track did not help.

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