Last-lap agony as Witches lose

IT was a case of last-lap misery as Ipswich Evening Star Witches wasted a golden chance to get back on track.A 5-1 to bottom of the table Coventry in the final heat saw the Bees steal victory – after being behind from the second race.

IT was a case of last-lap misery as Ipswich Evening Star Witches wasted a golden chance to get back on track.

A 5-1 to bottom of the table Coventry in the final heat saw the Bees steal victory – after being behind from the second race.

Oxford did the same to the Witches at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday – and this is turning into a highly frustrating time for Ipswich speedway supporters.

This was their fourth defeat on the trot and puts them right back in the pack, but if they had not been passed on four separate occasions on the last bend, Ipswich would have comfortably completed their fourth win of the season over the Bees.

And in heat eight the Witches were in a 5-1 position when Kim Jansson hit the fence on the second turn of the final circuit.

Witches' riders were left to reflect on a thoroughly miserable night after a long-winded meeting that did not finish until gone 10pm.

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They did have the consolation of taking the aggregate bonus point having beaten Coventry 54-41 in the corresponding B fixture at Foxhall Stadium earlier in the season.

But this reverse does nothing for their hopes of qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs to see who will become the Elite League champions.

They had some excuse, with skipper Scott Nicholls aggravating ligament damage to his left knee on the first corner of his first race. It may be some while before the star in the Ipswich side is back to his very best – which is a huge concern as the team slips down the table.

Kim Jansson was still feeling the effects of the shoulder injury he suffered last Thursday and consequently was not given an extra ride with his reserve partner Daniel King struggling.

In heats, four, five, seven and 14 an Ipswich rider was passed on the last bend.

Home rider Tomasz Piszcz was taken to hospital with a broken ankle sustained in the second race with 16-year-old fellow Coventry reserve Morten Risager being paid for 13 points from seven rides.

He notched a vital victory in the re-run of heat 11 ahead of Danny Bird and Witches' number one Hans Andersen.

Neither of the Witches' top men fired consistently although Jesper B Jensen made three cracking starts in his paid 11 point return.

Heat 15 saw Ipswich needing just two points to win the match but they were caught out when Jensen crashed into the second bend fence on the first turn.

Ipswich were down 5-1 at the time and in the re-run Andersen had no answer to the starting power of Andreas Jonsson and Billy Janniro with the home fans going wild, hardly able to believe that their lowly team had managed to pull an unlikely victory out of the fire.

The home pair won the race comfortably with Andersen unable to make up any ground.

A disappointing night for Ipswich who will look to get their season back on track when they entertain Swindon at Foxhall Stadium on Monday night.

The visitors started with Andersen making a superb gate to beat Coventry star man Jonsson in the first race. Bird made an error on the third lap to be passed by Jason Bunyan.

In heat two, Pole Piszcz was leading on the third lap when he lost control and went heavily into the fence.

Coventry were in a 5-1 position at the time with Risager having gone beyond Kim Jansson on the third bend of the first lap.

In the first re-run, Risager made the start only for King to lose control on the second turn and spin off causing Jansson to hit the fence and suffer a heavy fall.

King was excluded from the second re-run, which saw Jansson burst from the gate to collect three points.

Heat three saw Jensen flying from the start to gain his first victory and Chris Louis did well to hold off Chris Harris for third place on the last bend.

In heat four, Nicholls won from the starting tapes but a 5-1 for Ipswich did not materialise when Jansson made an error on the last turn and was passed by Risager.

Coventry's Janniro, just back from injury, won heat five from the start with Bird being passed by Harris on the final turn.

Ipswich had their lead reduced to just one point in heat six when Jonsson took the chequered flag and King, who was second at the time, spun on the fourth bend and finished last.

Heat seven saw Jensen make another superb start, but Ipswich lost out for the third time on the final turn when Louis was passed by Robson yards before the finishing line.

Heat eight and Ipswich had more last- lap misery when Jansson was left thumping the ground in fury after he rode into the second bend fence on the last circuit when he was in a 5-1 position with Bird.

Coventry had no right to still be in the match, but they made the most of Ipswich's errors in a meeting that was held up a number of times while damaged air fence sections were replaced.

King rode into the second bend fence at the start of heat nine but thankfully was able to get to his feet and in the re-run Nicholls had to admit second best to Janniro.

Another drawn heat followed when Jonsson won from the tapes and in heat 11 Ipswich were on a maximum return on the second bend when Robson rode into Bird.

The Coventry man was excluded and after Bird recovered from the knock he finished second in the re-run, with 16-year-old Risager holding off both Ipswich men.

This was a blow to the Witches' hopes of a much-needed win, although they were still in the lead. This was maintained in race 12 when Jensen found room round the outside coming out of the second bend to win well. King was in last place.

Heat 13 saw Coventry in a damaging

5-1 situation and although Jonsson went on to win, both Ipswich riders went beyond Robson – Andersen on the second lap and Nicholls on the final bend.

This kept Ipswich in a one point lead as they went into the penultimate race. The Witches looked on course to sew up the match with Louis and Jansson making the best start.

And they team rode superbly until the riders reached the last turn. The visiting men had kept Risager and Harris at their back wheels, but Risager took his last chance when he cut inside Jansson to finish in second place.

Louis became the sixth Ipswich rider to win a race, but it was another last-lap heartbreak for the Witches and meant that the 5-1 to the home team in the last race won them the match.