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Bad luck costs Witches

PUBLISHED: 20:00 14 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches squandered the points in this British League Cup fixture at Hoddesdon.

Even without Paul Hurry, who was still suffering from a blood infection – the legacy of a crash last season – they should have still have made their Elite League pedigree tell.

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches squandered the points in this British League Cup fixture at Hoddesdon.

Even without Paul Hurry, who was still suffering from a blood infection – the legacy of a crash last season – they should have still have made their Elite League pedigree tell.

Instead they failed to take control in a meeting where no more than six points separated the two sides at any one time.

Carl Baldwin was brought in at short notice, to cover for Hurry and he failed to score from his three rides. A fit Hurry would almost have certainly have scored freely.

This, combined with more cruel luck for Daniel Nermark, contributed to the Witches downfall. The visitors raced into a six point lead before allowing Rye to even the scores after four heats.

However, with four races to go Ipswich had reasserted their authority and were back six points in front and seemingly heading for victory.

When Nermark led heat 12, with ease, it looked like they would keep their advantage but his engine seized just yards before the finish, allowing both home riders to swoop past and suddenly give the home side a chance.

And when Brent Werner went round Danny Bird in the next race the Rockets had suddenly levelled the score.

Young Edward Kennett and a struggling Mark Courtney then stunned the travelling fans when they outgated Chris Slabon and Daniel King in the penultimate heat to inflict a crushing 5-1 which ensured the Rockets could not be beaten.

Ipswich still had the chance of a point from drawing the meeting and with half a lap of the final race remaining they looked like they would at least achieve this goal.

Nermark had made a fabulous start to make the early running and Bird had pulled off a superb outside pass to join him However, on the last lap Bird, with a little daylight between him and the following Scott Robson, glanced round and switched his line round the final corners.

Robson, sensing his chance, made one final push – finding some dirt on the inside of the final corner to edge past Bird as they raced for the chequered flag and earn the Rockets and unexpected victory.

Brett Woodifield was excluded from heat one after falling on the third lap, with Bird cutting back on the fourth bend to take the lead in the re-run.

King, riding with a maturity beyond his years, gated to victory in heat two and when Ben Howe cut back on the second bend, passing both Rocket riders the Witches had secured a six point lead.

Nermark was away in the third but slowed yards before the line to get past when he had the race for the taking. The Rockets pairing then gated to an easy 5-1 to level the scores in the next before Bird hit the fence when leading heat five, letting Robson past in a share of the spoils.

King kept the scores level with an impressive win in heat six. He was having a battle with Woodifield for second place down the back straight when Woodifield went too fast into the third bend, impeding his team mate Sadler, and allowing the young Witch to race through.

The Witches were back in front after a re-run heat seven but then the Rockets hit back with a maximum heat advantage in heat eight as the pendulum swung in the opposite direction.

King jumped out of the start in heat nine to inflict Robson's first defeat and with Howe finishing third it was level.

Slabon got a flier from the inside on the tenth, to team up with Nermark for a 5-1 to take the visitors back in the lead and when Bird made a good start from the outside in heat 11 the Witches were back six points to the good.

Then came Nermark's engine failure yards from the line which let the Rockets back into the meeting.


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