Ipswich Witches remain top of the Premiership despite basement dwellers Peterborough Panthers pushing them all the way at Foxhall.

The injury-hit visitors made the home side work hard for the victory, taking it to a last-heat decider, won by Chris Harris, ahead of Witches men, Jason Doyle and Danny King;

This wasn't an especially impressive performance from the home side on a subdued night at Foxhall and they will have to be much better when the play-offs start at the end of this month.

How it all unfolded at Foxhall

Indeed, the Witches were indebted to Doyle and King who kept them ahead throughout, while Peterborough had Scott Nicholls at reserve, the former Ipswich man revelling in that position.

A two minute silence was held before start time for fans to pay their respects to Her Majesty, The Queen, and both teams wore black armbands, with the flags on the centre-green flying at half-mast

And it was a quiet Foxhall Stadium that the two teams were introduced to.

Ipswich Star: Riders and officials taking part in a 2-minute silence ahead of the meeting at Foxhall.Riders and officials taking part in a 2-minute silence ahead of the meeting at Foxhall. (Image: Steve Waller)

Ipswich got off to the perfect start with Doyle and Aaron Summers gating to a maximum, Doyle's time the fastest of the season so far at 55.7 seconds.

But the visitors levelled it up immediately in the next, Cameron Heeps, returning as a guest for the Witches, unable to make an early impact.

It was a third 5-1 on the bounce in heat three and again the Suffolk side went ahead, King and Rohan Tungate looking sharp.

Harris dived hard under Troy Batchelor on turn three of the next to win the Panthers' first race of the evening.

Harris made it back to back wins as Tungate chased hard with the Witches still four ahead at 17-13. Nicholls passed Doyle down the back straight on lap one of heat six, the Aussie changing line to return the favour in an exciting heat six.

Ipswich Star: Danny King and Rohan Tungate racing to a 5-1 over Benjamin Basso in heat three.Danny King and Rohan Tungate racing to a 5-1 over Benjamin Basso in heat three. (Image: Steve Waller)

The visitors pulled to within two points of the Witches with Benjamin Basso winning and Batchelor at the back. Nicholls continued his good form in heat eight with the scores now at 25-23.

The Panthers were giving as good as they got and making life difficult for the league leaders.

However, King and Tungate got the better of Nicholls in heat nine and the home side were now six up. Nicholls was excluded for not getting to the tapes within two minutes as Doyle made it three out of three and Ipswich closed in on victory at 34-26.

But Panthers hit back again as Drew Kemp produced his best race of the night alongside Harris to bring the scores to within four, Ipswich leading 35-31

Ipswich Star: Troy Batchelor ahead of Chris Harris early in heat fourTroy Batchelor ahead of Chris Harris early in heat four (Image: Steve Waller)

Rowe passed Lambert, as King won again and the Witches were now up by six. Doyle made it four wins out of four after a tough opening first bend in heat 13.

But Peterborough made sure it was a last-heat decider as Nicholls won heat 14 and Basso passed Heeps on the final lap to set up an exciting finale.

Ipswich: Jason Doyle (3,3,3,3,2)=14; Aaron Summers (2*,0,2,1)=5+1; Danny King (3,1*,3,3,1*)=11+2; Rohan Tungate (2*,2,2*,1)=7+2; Troy Batchelor (2,0,1,0)=3; Cameron Heeps (0,2,0,0)=2; Anders Rowe (1,1*,1*,1)=4+2.

Peterborough: Chris Harris (1,3,3,2*,2,3)=12+1; Drew Kemp (0,0,3,0)=3; Simon Lambert (0,1,0,0)=1; Benjamin Basso (1,1*,3,2,1*2*) =10+3; R/R; Scott Nicholls (2*,2,3,1,ex/t,2,3)=13+1; Jordan Jenkins (3,0,0,0)=3.

*denotes bonus point

Heat details

1. Doyle, Summers, Harris, Kemp 55.7 5-1

2. Jenkins, Nicholls, Rowe, Heeps 57.9 6-6

3. King, Tungate, Basso, Lambert 56.8 11-7

4. Harris, Batchelor, Rowe, Jenkins 57.9 14-10

5. Harris, Tungate, King, Kemp 57.0 17-13

6. Doyle, Nicholls, Basso, Summers 57.6 20-16

7. Basso, Heeps, Lambert, Batchelor 58.6 22-20

8. Nicholls, Summers, Rowe, Jenkins 57.6 25-23

9. King, Tungate, Nicholls, Lambert 57.6 30-24

10. Doyle, Basso, Summers, Jenkins, Nicholls (ex/t) 58.3 34-26

11. Kemp, Harris, Batchelor, Heeps 57.8 35-31

12. King, Nicholls, Rowe, Lambert 56.8 39-33

13. Doyle, Harris, Basso, Bathelor 56.8 42-36

14. Nicholls, Basso, Tungate, Heeps 57.7 43-41

15. Harris, Doyle, King, Kemp 58.0 46-44

Witches 3 pts. Panthers 1pt.

Top Witch: Jason Doyle: Another inspirational meeting from the Witches No.1


Team Meetings Pts.

Ipswich 19 43

Sheffield 17 37

Belle Vue 17 35

Wolverhampton 19 34

King's Lynn 17 21

Peterborough 19 13