Witches hope to take shine off Diamonds

IPSWICH Sackers Witches begin their Phase II Premier League fixtures with a speedway meeting against Newcastle Diamonds at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm) with promoter John Louis giving the thumbs up to the club’s winter drop down from the Elite League.

They will boosted by their second away victory of the season having won at basement club Plymouth last Friday.

If Ipswich can score highly in their remaining fixtures they can still challenge for league honours despite a run of disappointing results that was ended with their success in Devon.

Regardless of a slide down the table after a promising start for the pre-season title favourites, Louis has no doubt that the right decision was made after two decades in the top flight - with most of the latter years spent struggling at the wrong end of the table.

“I have no doubt that it was the right move for us,” said Louis, who first rode for his home town club in 1969 and has been promoter since 1989.

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“We are seeing exciting racing every week at Foxhall and I like the commitment being shown by the riders.

“I’m enjoying the racing more than I have for the last few years and the entertainment levels we have been offering has been very good.

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“I’m now looking for a move back up the table.”

Ipswich have lost their last two home meetings and will be looking to get their home form back on track after failing to find a team to ride last week, which led to a blank Thursday.

The Witches will utilise the rider replacement facility for the injured Taylor Poole with Chris Mills fit enough to return to the team as Jerran Hart’s reserve partner after a knee injury.

Newcastle, who lost 47-43 on their first phase visit to Suffolk in June, will be without the injured Mark Lemon, Jason King and Stuart Robson.

Claes Nedermark was involved in the crash last Sunday that saw Robson hurt, but he escaped serious injury and will be fit to ride tonight.

Ipswich asset Leigh Lanham has been booked to ride at number one with Somerset’s Sam Masters, who is normally a Foxhall high scorer, at number four with rider replacement for King at three.

Lanham ‘guested’ for the Diamonds on their last visit and scored eight points. He won his final four races for his parent club Newport in the Knock-Out Cup fixture at Foxhall a fortnight ago and will be looking to go well again tonight.

“I have no point to prove,“ said Lanham, who lives 100 yards from Foxhall Stadium but has spent most of his career away from Ipswich.

“I am enjoying my riding and have done well on my last two meeting at Foxhall. I am using bikes that formerly belonged to Hans Andersen the Foxhall track record holder and they are going well.”

Children (aged 6-15) will be admitted free during the summer school holidays as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult and have a voucher from the Evening Star, which will be printed prior to the meeting.

Tonight’s programmed line-ups

Ipswich Witches: K Doolan, Rider replacement, M Tresarrieu, M Risager, L Bjerre, J Hart, C Mills.

Newcastle Diamonds: L Lanham, D Sneddon, Rider replacement, S Masters, C Nedermark, K Newman, R Worrall.

The Witches have arranged their Phase II set of Premier League speedway fixtures.

They begin with tonight’s meeting, which is followed by a visit from Sheffield to Foxhall Stadium next Thursday.

On Saturday August 13 Ipswich visit Berwick, and on Thursday August 25 Rye House are on the heath. The following night the Witches visit Plymouth.

Sunday September 4 sees Ipswich riding at Newcastle and four days later they entertain Workington. The following Thursday it is Plymouth at Foxhall and the one after that Berwick are the visitors.

On Saturday September 24 Ipswich travel to Workington and the Witches finish their planned league fixtures with a meeting at Rye House on Sunday October 16.

Ipswich also have to complete their Phase 1 fixtures, and they travel to Scunthorpe tomorrow night, Newcastle on Sunday August 14 and entertain Leicester four days later.

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