Witches rocket to top of the table

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches rocketed to the top of the Sky Sports Elite League after victory over Belle Vue Aces at Foxhall Stadium last night.The 52-41 win was not all plain sailing for the home side but it mattered not as they raced to their seventh straight victory.

Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches rocketed to the top of the Sky Sports Elite League after victory over Belle Vue Aces at Foxhall Stadium last night.

The 52-41 win was not all plain sailing for the home side but it mattered not as they raced to their seventh straight victory.

And coupled with Poole's trashing of Swindon at Blunsdon, it meant the Witches went top of the Sky Sports Elite League table.


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It has been a quite incredible turn of fortunes for the Suffolk side who were rock bottom just six weeks ago and being written off as having little chance of even making the play-offs this season.

But those attitudes will have to be revisited now and although last night it wasn't the most convincing of performances it was win No. 7 on the bounce and job well done.

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The Witches badly missed Jarek Hample, who was at home in Poland after the sudden death of his mother-in-law, and on another day a stronger side than Belle Vue could have capitalised on what was no more than a satisfactory Witches performance.

Hample's rider replacement rides accrued just six points while guest Rory Schlien scored just five and the Witches were quite simply indebted to the stunning performances of Robert Miskowiak and in-form reserve Piotr Swiderski.

They won seven of the 15 heats between them, Swiderski in particular continuing to prove an absolute revelation.

Chris Schramm did more than enough with his paid nine points but both Toby Kroner and Steve Johnston looked a little off the pace.

Buoyed by the Witches' successes there was a good crowd in attendance and they saw Miskowiak get the home side off to a great start with a wheel perfect four-lap win over Jason Crump.

It was to prove Crump's only defeat of the night as the Witches gained a maximum heat advantage in the next.

Aces hit straight back with a maximum of their own, before Miskowiak went through the tapes in heat four although thankfully Swiderski stepped in to win the heat anyhow.

Schramm and Joe Screen had a couple of ding-dong battles in heats four and eight, the Witches rider appearing to annoy Screen, although why is anybody's guess.

The Witches were six-up by the half-way stage and doing just enough rather than taking this meeting apart.

Schlien had his best race of the night in heat 10 as the Witches went 10 ahead but Crump's six-point tactical ride in the next kept the Manchester side in it.

Schlien crashed out in heat 13 as Swiderski began three rides on the trot in the last three heats.

The Witches had used every ounce of the flying Pole, who was suffering from a crash in Sweden on Tuesday night.

But when he and Johnston gained the necessary 4-2 in the penultimate heat the victory was assured. News came through that Swindon had lost at home to Poole, and that meant the Witches were top of the table - and no-one could begrudge them that.

Scorers

Ipswich: R Schlien 5, R Miskowiak 14+1, T Kroner 5, S Johnston 5+1, R/R P Swiderski 17+1, C Schramm 6+3.

Belle Vue: J Crump 14, R/R C Gjedde 7+1, T Woffinden 8, J Screnn 10, N Simmons 2+1, J Raun 0.

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