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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Home agony for Witches

PUBLISHED: 20:00 06 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches suffered another big home defeat in the Sky Sports Elite League.

And after current champions Wolverhampton's comfortable victory at Foxhall Stadium last night there is little evidence to suggest results will improve in the second half of the season.

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches suffered another big home defeat in the Sky Sports Elite League.

And after current champions Wolverhampton's comfortable victory at Foxhall Stadium last night there is little evidence to suggest results will improve in the second half of the season.

It is now clear that Ipswich do not have a side good enough to make an impact in the top flight.

Just five race winners and one heat advantage tells its own tale and shows why John and Magda Louis have been so keen to bring in a fresh face.

Regardless of the restrictions in team building because of rolling averages, the facts are that every Ipswich rider is under-performing.

Whether Freddie Eriksson would have made any difference last night is debatable, but a fresh face is badly needed.

And if Paul Hurry or Daniel Nermark were to drop down to reserve to accommodate the Swede it would make the Witches tail that much shorter.

But all would still not be right, as Ipswich just do not have the top end power to worry their opponents' better riders.

A very disappointing Hurry was paid for five points and the only opposing rider he beat – apart from David Howe, who crashed in heat five – was rookie reserve Magnus Karlsson.

Hurry, who rides in a world championship long-track event in the south of France this weekend, may still be suffering from his damaged hand, but he would have wanted to score far more points.

Rider replacement for Jarek Hampel – on Polish championship duty – accrued just a paid four points and with skipper Nicholls not coming to life until he altered his timing, there was precious little opposition for the Wolves' top men.

Chris van Straaten, the Wolverhampton promoter who helped to veto Eriksson's move to Ipswich in his capacity of BSPA chairman, was conspicuous by his absence as the visitors gained revenge for their 47-43 Foxhall defeat in the corresponding A fixture.

A subdued atmosphere was understandable as Ipswich failed to show any real spark after Danny Bird and Tom P Madsen managed a 5-1 in heat two.

Predictably, they both fell off the pace after that and scored just one more point between them – when Nicholls' chain broke in heat 11.

Veteran Sam Ermolenko found a fast engine from somewhere to score freely, while Pole Adam Skornicki enjoyed the race of the night when he forced his way through from third to first to beat two

tactical substitutes in heat 12.

Both Mikael Max and Peter Karlsson were unbeaten until Nicholls got going in what was a thoroughly depressing night for the home side.

Monday's trip to basement club Belle Vue will offer more punishment unless Ipswich's riders step up a gear.

Bird gated to victory in heat two, with Madsen losing second place after hitting trouble on a patchy piece of track on the third bend. The Dane regained his position when James Grieves made a similar error next time around.

Heat three took an age to run with first Ermolenko rolling at the tapes. Then the American tangled with Nermark coming out of the gate.

In the third attempt, Nermark spun on the third bend of the second lap and Skornicki landed on his damaged shoulder as he tumbled over him; causing machinery damage for Nermark.

Skornicki, who was riding his first match since recovering from injury,

finally combined with Ermolenko to put the visitors level.

The visitors gained a lead they never looked like losing when Peter Karlsson held off Nicholls on the first lap of heat four.

Nermark then went hard under Howe in a passing movement that saw the latter slide into the third bend fence, with Hurry going perilously close to the fence when riding out a 3-3 in the re-run.

Peter Karlsson passed the quick-gating Slabon on the second lap to win heat six, before Ermolenko found an amazing turn of speed to launch himself around the outside of both Ipswich riders on the first corner of heat seven.

Slabon rode well to hold off Howe in race eight, but a 4-2 to Wolves in heat ten saw them six points ahead.

Nicholls and Bird were in a 5-1 position in the next outing – and there was glimmer of hope that the home side might fight back.

But just as Howe was going beyond Bird for second place, Nicholls suffered his chain problems. On the last lap Max went beyond Bird.

Skornicki then had his great ride going inside Slabon on the inside of the fourth bend and taking advantage when Nicholls lifted on the following circuit.

At last home fans were able to blow their whistles when Nicholls won heat 13 and Nermark made a great first turn in the next heat to lead to more whistling.

Nicholls showed his class in the final race, but it was too little, too late.

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