Defiant Witches roar back

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches supporters were treated to a glorious night's entertainment as their team roared to their biggest win for nearly six years at Foxhall Stadium last night.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches supporters were treated to a glorious night's entertainment as their team roared to their biggest win for nearly six years at Foxhall Stadium last night.

The way they tore a plucky Eastbourne Eagles side apart gave notice that this team means business.

The hassle of the Hans Andersen saga of the last few days has not weakened the desire of the riders to be crowned Sky Bet Elite League champions.

This was patently obviously as every rider gave 110 per cent on a night of full throttle racing with the Eagles playing their part with a gutsy - if outclassed - display.

The aggregate bonus point went Ipswich's way as they moved above their opponents into third place in the table in a match that attracted a bumper crowd no doubt boosted by publicity surrounding the rights and wrongs of Andersen's role in the World Cup final controversy.

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Scott Nicholls scored his second maximum in two days as Ipswich put the memory of this week's defeats at Eastbourne and Poole behind them.

The Ipswich skipper had to fight tooth and nail with world champ Nicki Pedersen in the final race. They were competing for second place and involved in a titanic battle touching shoulders as they stormed down the straight to enter the final lap.

Pedersen ran out of room and baled out to hit the fence with force, but was able to walk back to the pits. There was a little difference of opinion between the two riders in the pits, but nothing major.

Jesper B Jensen and Chris Louis each dropped just one point, with the former losing out to Pedersen when the Dane's tactical rider points enabled the visitors to gain their only heat advantage.

Jensen showed the form his produced at the start of the season, and if he continues in this vein the Witches will be well served between now and October.

Sponsors Gemini Travel named Paul Pickering man of the match, and the Stoke rider was taken to by the crowd on his home Witches debut.

He featured in three 5-1s and on this performance will prove more than an adequate replacement for Danny Bird.

The rider replacement facility for Andersen accrued eight points and began with Nicholls beating David Norris after a mighty battle in heat one.

This set the tone for the match even though Kim Jansson was passed on the last bend and came last.

Daniel King turns 18 at the weekend and turned in another man's showing,

gating to win heat two. Pickering passed both visiting riders in the same inside movement on lap two.

Pickering passed Edward Kennett on the fourth turn in the only race where he was beaten by an opponent - Pedersen - in heat four.

Eagles' team manager Jon Cook used Norris as a tactical rider in heat five to no avail and he played his last card when Adam Shields came in as a tactical substitute in heat eight.

But Jansson showed his worth with a fine victory while Pickering won a lengthy battle with Adrian Miedzinski, although the Pole did his side no favours by holding up Shields who was on double points.

Heat nine was a stunner with Pedersen the meat in the sandwich as Jensen and Louis screamed past either side coming out of the second bend. They then team-rode superbly with Pedersen hot on their tails for the remainder of the race.

Jansson went from first to third and Louis dropped his only point, despite going from last to second in heat ten. Shields joined Pedersen as the only Eastbourne race winner.

Jansson had another great ride - with the big boys as rider replacement - in heat 13 as Ipswich continued to fire on all cylinders against an Eastbourne side that was put in its place in no uncertain terms.

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