Lanham lines up against Witches
LEIGH Lanham, at the top of the tree in the Premier League, can deal Ipswich Evening Star Witches a punishing blow tonight.The Ipswich-based 25-year-old shares a reserve berth in the Witches Sky Sports Elite League side with Danny Bird, but his main preoccupation is leading Arena-Essex from the front in the Premier League.
By Elvin King
LEIGH Lanham, at the top of the tree in the Premier League, can deal Ipswich Evening Star Witches a punishing blow tonight.
The Ipswich-based 25-year-old shares a reserve berth in the Witches Sky Sports Elite League side with Danny Bird, but his main preoccupation is leading Arena-Essex from the front in the Premier League.
The Hammers from Purfleet are at home tonight to the Witches in the British League Cup – and Lanham is predicting a close run match.
"Ipswich are stronger on paper than teams we meet in the Premier League, and it could well be close," said Lanham today.
The former British Under-21 champion has one of the highest averages in the lower league, despite struggling to make an impact in the Elite League.
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"Things have been going well at Arena," he added. "We have a good side and everyone is doing their job. It should be fun tonight with Witches fans swelling the crowd.
"I have only ridden three meetings for Ipswich this year, and that part of my season has not really got off the ground yet.
"I rode against Danny Bird on Monday when I guested for Swindon at the Isle of Wight. And he is also disappointed with his performances for Ipswich.
"But it is hard when you are at the bottom end of a struggling side." Lanham is set to ride for Ipswich on Monday in their bottom-of-the-table clash with Belle Vue in Manchester.
"The Belle Vue circuit is similar to Arena-Essex and hopefully I can score well in both matches."
Jason King scored a paid double figure score from a reserve berth for Arena last Friday in their 65-24 win over Newport. He comes up against his younger brother Danny tonight.
Sixteen-year-old Danny is now an Ipswich asset and has recovered from a badly bruised ankle. Ironically, the brothers meet again on Sunday when Mildenhall race Peterborough in the Conference League at West Row.
Joonas Kylmakorpi, an Ipswich rider last year, is now doubling up with Arena and Eastbourne, while Lee Herne also has Foxhall connections.
He was born in Ipswich and worked in the pits with Craig Boyce for much of the last two seasons. The vastly experienced Kelvin Tatum leads the home side.
The British League Cup is divided into regional qualifying groups with Ipswich, Arena-Essex, Peterborough, King's Lynn and Rye House in one league.
This is the Essex club's first meeting with Ipswich having beaten Peterborough at home, but lost to Rye House away.
Witches skipper tonight, Paul Hurry, rode for the Hammers in their championship-winning year of 1991 – and also in 1994 and 1995.
Hurry and Dane Tom P Madsen will be looking to improve their confidence, while Swede Daniel Nermark has a big part to play as third heat leader.
The first race is 8pm with admission £10 (programme £1.50).
Arena-Essex: K Tatum, H Bager, J Kylmakorpi, L Herne, L Lanham, A Galvin, J King.
Ipswich: D Bird, TP Madsen, D Nermark, K Jansson, P Hurry, D King, B Howe.