Witches pummelled at Poole
POOLE 59 IPSWICH 34IPSWICH'S hopes of grabbing a home play-off place nose-dived when they were pummelled at Poole tonight.
POOLE 59 IPSWICH 34
IPSWICH'S hopes of grabbing a home play-off place nose-dived when they were pummelled at Poole tonight.
A makeshift Witches side - without flu-victim Jarek Hampel and unavailable Robert Miskowiak - were stunned early by four successive Pirates' 5-1s.
Tobias Kroner and Piotr Swiderski stemmed the tide with a 3-3 in the next race behind the home side's fifth successive heat winner Bjarne Pedersen.
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But Ipswich - forced to use Premier League Brent Werner as a guest after their move to utilise Chris Harris was ruled out under the eight-day rule - conceded another 5-1 in the sixth race to trail 28-8.
Witches manager Pete Simmons' double switch to bring in Swiderski as a tactical and Chris Schramm in place of misfiring Werner in heat seven paid off big time as the duo inflicted a 7-2 over Adam Skornicki and Freddie Eriksson.
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However, it was only a brief respite for struggling Witches, who almost doubled their total in that race, taking it to 15 against Poole's 30 at that stage.
With Hampel and Miskowiak missing, and the Suffolk side using rider replacement for the former Grand Prix rider, they failed to threaten championship favourites Pirates in any way.
Indeed, only Swiderski, with 12 paid 13, truly got to grips with the table-topping Dorset side as he added a from-the-back victory over Magnus Zetterstrom in heat 11 to his previous race win.
Only Rory Schlein, who swept outside Chris Holder to triumph in heat 13 and ruin the Aussie's maximum hopes, finishing with a battling 11, and Kroner also put up some sort of fight.
This was a poor performance that Ipswich will quickly want to put behind them, preferably at home to second-placed Lakeside on Thursday.
Witches' display was a far cry from the scintillating display their full-strength team produced at Wimborne Road in May when they whipped Poole 50-40 on a golden night for Witches.
Swiderski plundered 15 paid 17 from six rides that night, taking the chequered flag three times and being paid for victory twice, as the Suffolk outfit signalled their intent to halt Pirates' march to the title.
With Harris, who was guesting, Hampel, Miskowiak and Hampel sharing nine race wins between them, Ipswich tore Poole apart four months ago.
But their September visit was summed up best by Schramm's back straight fall in heat 14, while in second but coming under strong pressure from Skornicki.
What is clear from last night's defeat is that Ipswich have to go back with a full strength team to have any hope of winning at Poole in the play-off semis if they have to return there on September 29.
They really can't afford to have any of their riders unavailable at the real business end of the season.