Witches start firm favourites in big play-off meeting

SPEEDWAY: Ipswich Witches will start firm favourites to whip Premier League Newcastle Diamonds with the visitors only able to track three of their own riders in the promotion/relegation play-off final at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm).

The Witches won the first leg at Brough Park by two points on Sunday, and if all goes to plan they should clock up a cricket score tonight although the Diamonds have two bright young stars in Danes Kenni Larsen and Rene Bach and experience in the shape of one guest – Stuart Robson.

Ipswich on the other hand are able to name a virtual full strength side with Robert Miskowiak and Chris Slabon included despite suffering injuries at Newcastle in the first leg.

The former has been back to Poland to have treatment to a rib injury he sustained at Newcastle, while Slabon damaged his left shoulder in a far more dramatic fall but has also passed himself fit.

Kozza Smith is programmed to ride at number seven, but he has had his appendix removed this week and his place will be taken by number eight Ritchie Hawkins, who was a busy man along with fellow reserve Dawid Stachyra in the first leg after Miskowiak and Slabon both failed to complete one race.

With changes expected in the Witches side for 2011 it is anybody’s guess which riders will be riding their final meeting in an Ipswich race jacket tonight.

But there is a train of thought to opt for more non eastern Europeans next season in the Ipswich camp. But time will tell on that one.

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Newcastle are without the injured Mark Lemon, skipper Derek Sneddon, Daniel King’s brother Jason and young Australian Dakota North.

Their only other rider on show tonight apart from Larsen and Bach is reserve Adam McKinna with Chris Mills and Simon Lambert also guesting along with Robson.

Newcastle boss George English said: “We may not have won on Sunday but we did ourselves and the Premier League proud.

“All credit to the lads - we know that the away leg is going to be very hard, but we’ll be going for it!”

Children will be allowed in free tonight if dressed in Halloween costume – with a paying adult.

All the youngsters will parade in the centre green to decide the best dressed.

There will be prizes for the top three selected by Witches riders.

Chris Louis, Ipswich director of speedway, said: “It’s a bit of fun and all the kids who get involved will be invited to the infield at the interval.

“Witches skipper Danny King will pick the top three, who will each receiving a voucher to spend in Toy Attic, Heath Road, Ipswich with the winner also being presented with a junior season ticket for 2011.”

Tonight’s line-ups

Ipswich: S Nicholls, C Slabon, D King, A Dryml, R Miskowiak, D Stachyra, R Hawkins.

Newcastle: K Larsen, rider replacement for J King, C Mills, R Bach, S Robson, S Lambert, A McKinna.

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