Witches go down fighting at Swindon

THE Evening Star Witches narrowly failed to complete the double over Swindon at Blunsdon last night, despite staging a tremendous recovery at Blunsdon on the hottest night of the year.

Swindon Robins 49 - Ipswich Witches 44

THE Evening Star Witches narrowly failed to complete the double over Swindon at Blunsdon last night, despite staging a tremendous recovery at Blunsdon on the hottest night of the year.

Home second string James Wright went past both Piotr Swiderski and Steve Johnston in the opening race to link with Leigh Adams for an opening race 5-1 to the Robins. If anything it got worse when Tobias Kroner actually broke the tapes at the start of Heat 2.

The German rider was handicapped fifteen metres and never looked like passing the home side's two guest reserves from the Premier League - though later he hit top form.


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With six races gone the Witches trailed 25-11, without a race winner on the card. Team Manager Pete Simmons then named Jarek Hampel for double points and with Johnston following him home the Swindon lead was slashed to seven.

Swiderski won Heat 8 and Kroner made a sharp start to take the next. In Heat 10 Hampel led Adams for a lap but the veteran Australian swept through on the inside going into the first turn of lap two.

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Swiderski and Kroner then teamed up for an Ipswich 5-1 in Heat 11 and the deficit was down to five. With their 'gating heads' on the Witches duo of Hampel and Kroner seemed set for maximum points in Heat 12, but the German rider's machine slowed enough for the off form Mads Korneliussen to get by.

Three down with three races to go everything was still possible. Robert Miskowiak, normally a poor performer on the Wiltshire circuit was the weak link and only a Travis McGowan retirement gifted him a point with Adams heading home Hampel.

Troy Batchelor's fitness had been a pre-meeting concern for the home side but he took Heat 14 with ease.

Behind him Robins reserve guest Krzysztof Stojanowski battled Johnston all the way, and by grabbing third place on the last turn it sealed the Elite League points for the home side.

Hampel got some revenge for two defeat at the hands of Adams by taking the nominated riders race. It had been a gallant comeback from the Witches, who must have cursed what was a very lacklustre start to the match.

Without a race winner in the first six heats, they then took the chequered flag first in five of the next six races.

With several of the home riders not firing this was a case of what might have been, with Hampel, Swiderski and Kroner doing enough to lay the basis for a win that could have given the Witches pull off that double after their 54-39 win at Foxhall Heath on Monday

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