Witches slump to defeat at Belle Vue
A MISERABLE day for Ipswich Witches was compounded by a 52-38 loss at Belle Vue tonight.
Belle Vue Aces 52 Ipswich Witches 38
IT wasn't a good day all round for the Ipswich Evening Star Witches.
Hot on the heels of finding out their protest against Swindon's use of Joel Parsons in an Elite League clash back in April, had fallen on deaf ears, they then lost out to Belle Vue in a crucial Elite League clash in Manchester
And to add salt into the wounds, play-off rivals Swindon celebrated two victories - the appeal - and a win at Peterborough.
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Two meetings in five weeks for the Witches however, both defeats has seen their season turn into a damp squib after such exciting times when they won three away meetings on the bounce six weeks ago.
However they are still in the play-off places, although only victory against Peterborough on Thursday night at Foxhall can be contemplated now.
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Tonight, a mid-meeting collapse, half self-inflicted, half bad luck, allowed Belle Vue to sweep to a relatively easy win.
With Piotr Swiderski unusually quiet, the Witches and the rider replacement facility managed just four race wins. It was simply not good enough.
The Aces made the early start in the opening heat with a heat advantage. But Steve Johnston and Chris Schramm hit straight back, Schramm passing Jonas Raun on the fourth bend as the Witches took the lead.
Jarek Hampel won heat three, as Robert Miskowiak did the next. But their good work was undone by poor rides from Swiderski and Kroner in heat five, the pair of them even allowing Billy Forsberg the luxury of almost falling off and still holding onto second place.
Belle Vue were now ahead, but not for long as Hampel made a jet-propelled start from gate two in heat seven, with Miskowiak calmly picking up third place. It was all tied at 21-all.
Kroner made a super gate from the outside in heat eight, with Schramm battling in third. But the Maldon-based Schramm got into all sorts of problems going into turn one on the second lap, sliding off, while worrying about Raun in front of him, who was having his own troubles. It left Lyons with no-where to go but into Schramm.
It saw a harsh exclusion for Schramm and disaster for the Witches as Kroner, so far ahead in the initial staging of the race, grinding to a halt after two bends in the re-run, as the Manchester side scored a 5-0.
It was all going horribly wrong now for the Suffolk side as Belle Vue scored a 5-1 in the next and Ipswich were suddenly nine points behind.
Hampel was passed by Lyons as the home side grew in strength, and when Swiderski couldn't beat Forsberg while on a tactical ride, the game was up for the visitors.
Gjedde and Crump, who made it four wins out of four for him personally, wrapped it up for Belle Vue in heats 12 and 13, before Schramm took two ugly falls in heat 14, first knocked off by Raun, and in the re-run falling when on his own.
Crump completed an easy maximum, with Gjedde providing some excitement at the end, passing both Witches in the last race.
It was a dismal end to a dismal day for the Suffolk side.
Belle Vue: J Crump 15, J Lyons 7, C Gjedde 15+1, B Forsberg 11+3, R/R, N Simmons 0, J Raun 4+2
Ipswich: P Swiderski 9, T Kroner 5+1, J Hampel 7+1, R/R, R Miskowiak 6+2, S Johnston 9, C Schramm 2+1