Ipswich Witches are beaten on opening night

Ready for the off: Troy Batchelor at the Witches press day.

Troy Batchelor, six points at Peterborough - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Witches’ opening meeting of the season ended in defeat at Peterborough.

The home side ran out 53-37 victors and were never headed, although Ipswich did get close to the Panthers early on.

Erik Riss was the Witches top man with a paid 12, while Jason Doyle, Troy Batchelor and Danny King all won races.

It’s early days to take much from opening night for both clubs but the Witches will hope to push King’s Lynn closer at the Norfolk Arena on Thursday night.

"Yes, I'm a bit disappointed with the result, I felt it was a closer meeting than the score suggests," Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins said.

"My overall view is that the boys showed enough to me that we will be in for a good season.

"Erik Riss was awesome tonight and he looked superb and Troy Batchelor to."

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The Witches new No.1 and former world champion, Doyle could do nothing as Michael Palm-Toft and Scott Nicholls gained a first-heat maximum, both riders passing Cameron Heeps, who made a good start.

Jordan Palin passed Anders Rowe in the next as the home side made a strong start to the meeting, but the Witches hit back immediately with Batchelor and Riss both impressing as they both passed Ulrich Ostergaard.

The racing was fast and furious in the opening stages in front of a good crowd and Ipswich skipper  King had to be at his best in heat four to pass young Palin after both Panthers again made good starts.

Doyle won his first race in a Witches racejacket in heat five and with Heeps again doing well to grab third place, the Witches had brought themselves again back to within two of the home side at 14-16.

But King couldn’t stop the strong Panthers duo of Palm-Toft and Nicholls repeating their first-heat maximum as the Panthers again went six ahead.

Riss was again in good form to win heat eight as Batchelor got pushed wide by Chris Harris, but Peterborough put a real hold on the meeting with Nicholls and Palin gating to victory in heat eight to put the home side 10 up.

It was a long way back now for the Witches, but they went straight at it, King and Starke gating to a maximum over Ostergaard and the off-form Hans Andersen.

Palm-Toft passed both Witches in the next as Riss took a tactical ride in heat 11 with the Witches six down.

But it all went wrong for the visitors with both Panthers gating to a 5-1 and the Witches 10 down again.

Benjamin Basso was proving a trump card at reserve for the home side and he won the next as the Panthers closed in on victory.

When Chris Harris won his third race of the night in the next, the meeting was over for the Witches.

Scorers

Peterborough:  M Palm-Toft 11, S Nicholls 7+2, U Ostergaard 5, H Andersen 0, C Harris 14, B Basso 12+2, J Palin 4+1.
Ipswich: J Doyle 5, C Heeps 2, T Batchelor 6+1, E Riss 11+1, D King 8, P Starke 5+2, A Rowe 0.

Heat details

1 Palm Toft, Nicholls, Doyle, Heeps    58.4    5-1
2 Basso, Starke, Palin, Rowe    59.5    9-3
3 Batchelor, Riss, Ostergaard, Andersen    59.0    10-8
4 Harris, King, Palin, Rowe    59.2    14-10
5 Doyle, Ostergaard, Heeps, Andersen    59.5    16-14
6 Palm Toft, Nicholls, King, Starke    60.0    21-15
7 Riss, Harris, Basso, Batchelor    60.1    24-18
8 Nicholls, Palin, Heeps, Rowe    60.0    29-19
9 King, Starke, Ostergaard, Andersen    59.9    30-24
10 Palm Toft, Riss, Batchelor, Nicholls    59.8    33-27
11 Harris, Basso, Doyle, Riss*    60.2    38-28
12 Basso, Batchelor, Ostergaard, Starke    60.0    42-30
13 Harris, King, Palm Toft, Doyle    60.0    46-32
14 Basso, Riss, Starke, Palin    60.2.    49-35
15 Harris, Riss, Palm Toft, King    60.4  53-37

*tac ride points count double
Peterborough 3 pts. Ipswich 0 pts.