Witches revved up to add to away success
STEVE Johnston has set his sights on more away wins after Witches grabbed their first three-pointer of the Elite League campaign.Big-scoring reserve Piotr Swiderski and guest Freddie Lindgren were among the heroes in an eventful 48-42 success at Eastbourne.
STEVE Johnston has set his sights on more away wins after Witches grabbed their first three-pointer of the Elite League campaign.
Big-scoring reserve Piotr Swiderski and guest Freddie Lindgren were among the heroes in an eventful 48-42 success at Eastbourne.
Victory was secured in heat 15 when, with the hosts needing a 4-2 to force a draw, Scott Nicholls fell challenging Jarek Hampel for the lead.
Hampel and Lindgren made a dream start as they looked to defend a 43-41 advantage. They were on a 5-1 until Nicholls got past Lindgren.
The former Ipswich favourite then set about finding a route outside Hampel but fell on the second bend and the inevitable exclusion from referee Christina Turnbull meant Eastbourne could claim no more than a 3-3. The visiting pair then raced away from Edward Kennett for a 5-1 in the re-run.
The 275-metre Eagles' track is one of the more tricky away venues in the Elite League but Lindgren, who rides on a very similar circuit at Wolverhampton, was a great choice of stand-in and Johnston praised his team and home promoter Bob Dugard, who had the circuit in good nick.
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Johnston said: “It's a great result. I didn't have a great night as captain but the boys all pulled through and that is how a team works.
“Freddie Lindgren had to change his bike for heat 15 but he came up with the goods.
“That really was a great guest booking for us and I'd like to thank him. We just hope Eddie Kennett can do the same for us on Monday at Wolverhampton.
“This is a difficult place to come. It's a great track. The weather was funny all around and we all know what Bob's like .
“He works on that track all day and it was good when you consider it was pouring with rain everywhere else.
“We got really close to the win at Swindon and had it snatched away at the end so it's a good feeling to win away from home at last.
“This only really puts us back where we should have been because we have lost at home.”
Swiderski piled up 13 paid points, the vast majority of them off the punchless home reserves.
Hampel came very good in the later part of the meeting while Nicholls, despite three classy wins, also had two exclusions and a fall when Eagles needed him to score heavily.
The Great Britain skipper had some great jousts with Lindgren. Nicholls spun and fell in heat one after tussling with the Swede, then raced away from him to win heat 10 after the Witches stand-in looked to shoulder charge the home rider as they left the start. While Nicholls' exclusion in heat 15 looked fair enough, there was some debate about that in heat 13.
Having missed the start, Nicholls was looking to get back through the field and powered inside third-placed Robert Miskowiak, who went down.
Most fans were following the battle for the lead between Hampel and Kennett but Turnbull ruled Nicholls had impeded the Pole and Ipswich went back out to score the 4-2 which put them 40-38 up.
Johnston and Swiderski then settled for a 3-3 in heat 14 to set up the last heat showdown.