Witches lose opening league fixture

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches lost their first Elite League fixture of the season at Brandon tonight.

Elite League: Coventry Bees 52, Ipswich Witches 37

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches lost their first Elite League fixture of the season at Brandon tonight.

Four consecutive heat advantages for the home side halfway through the meeting saw the Bees take control after a topsy-turvy first few heats.

The visitors started brightly enough but just ran out of steam as track conditions maybe moved more in favour of the home side, who got back to winning ways after losing their first home meeting to Eastbourne last week.

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Piotr Swiderski and Jarek Hampel provided the majority of the firepower for the Suffolk side although Tobi Kroner also won two heats. The rest of the team were disappointing.

Shaun Tacey guested for Ipswich after Chris Schramm called off following his fall at Ipswich on Thursday. He was in so much pain on his way home to Maldon that he stopped at Colchester hospital for x-rays on his right foot where a crack was found and he was put in plaster.

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Swiderski kept constant pressure on Oliver Allen in the opening race, but it was the home rider took the chequered flag at the meeting got under way with a share of the spoils.

The reserve race saw then saw Tacey excluded after he tangled with Andreas Messing. There was a delay while the home rider was tended to by medics before being taken to hospital and in the re-run Kroner took the visitors into an early lead with victory over Bursa.

Heat Three saw the race stopped after Louis moved at the start and in the re-run the Bees turned it around with a maximum from Harris and Janniro, before Hampel won the forth in convincing fashion.

Ipswich were back in front after Miskowiak and Swiderski took a maximum in the fifth. The early part of the heat saw the most unconventional team riding you are ever likely to see, with neither doing each other any favours in the first lap and a half before they decided it was safest to follow each other home in formation.

Four shared heats followed as the Witches kept the smallest of advantages before Rory Schlein and Oliver Allen got the Bees charge underway with a maximum in the tenth.

From then on it was all downhill for Ipswich with the home side more in control on the deep outside line necessary to build speed.

In the penultimate heat team manager Pete Simmons did throw one last roll of the dice, giving Johnston the black and white helmet cover but although Kroner jetted off for the win the Australian could make no ground up from behind.

So, in front of a good following of fans, the Witches campaign got off to a disappointing start and after letting a good lead slip in the final stages of Thursday's KO Cup meeting, they will be hoping that they can improve their staying power.

Coventry Bees 52


R Schlein 5+1

O Allen 12+1

C Harris 5+1

B Janniro 8+1

S Stead 13+1

A Messing 0

S Burza 9+3

Ipswich Witches 37


R Miskowiak 4+1

P Swiderski 10+1

C Louis 3

S Johnston 3+1

J Hampel 10

T Kroner 6

S Tacey 0

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