Maximum effort at Foxhall

BOTH sides put in maximum efforts – and both left Foxhall Stadium satisfied.Amazingly, Scott Nicholls for Ipswich and Adam Shields for Eastbourne were both unbeaten by an opponent in last night's Sky Sports Elite League meeting.

By Elvin King

BOTH sides put in maximum efforts – and both left Foxhall Stadium satisfied.

Amazingly, Scott Nicholls for Ipswich and Adam Shields for Eastbourne were both unbeaten by an opponent in last night's Sky Sports Elite League meeting.

Their paths did not cross during an eventful night of racing where the joy of a third league victory for the Evening Star Witches was tempered somewhat by the lost off the aggregate bonus point.

Shields, an Eastbourne reserve whose main priority lies with the Isle of Wight in the Premier League, had already clocked up a brilliant paid 21-point full house by the time the tapes went up for the last heat.

The home side needed a 5-1 to grab the extra point having lost 50-40 to the Eagles in the corresponding A fixture at Arlington.

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Nicholls, Ipswich's skipper and without doubt their number one rider, duly won from the tapes, but Jarek Hampel got himself in a bad position on his entry to the first corner.

He got into a muddle and was squeezed out by Joe Screen and Joonas Kylmakorpi to be left trailing as the riders came out of the second turn.

The Pole did not have the speed to successfully play catch-up and the drawn heat meant that the extra point went to the Eagles.

There was never any real doubt that Ipswich would win the match. Every one of their riders won at least one race and the rider replacement facility for the injured Paul Hurry accrued a more than acceptable paid ten points.

The Eagles had Coventry's second string Billy Janniro as a guest for broken arm victim Mark Loram, who was cajoling his team-mates in the pits.

This choice back-fired as the American only managed two points, featured in three 5-1 reverses and did not beat an Ipswich rider.

Without Shields, and Screen and Kylmakorpi to a lesser extent, Eastbourne would have been thrashed.

But a surprise point by Peter Ljung when he took advantage of an error by Tom P Madsen on the second lap of heat two proved crucial.

If Ljung had been kept at the back, the overall scores would have been level and a head-to-head between Nicholls and Shields for the aggregate bonus point would have been well worth watching.

Madsen is the most vulnerable of the Ipswich riders if any changes are made to the side, and he did his case no favours with that reserves' race slip-up.

Kylmakorpi broke the tapes in heat three and then started too early from 15 metres adrift in the re-run.

Daniel Nermark and David Norris then swapped places a couple of times before Ipswich increased their lead to four points.

In heat four Nicholls, on the same machine that he failed to fire on last week, waited for Madsen in an attempt to team ride, but Screen went bursting past the Dane on the fourth bend.

Janniro and Barker suffered their second 5-1 reverse in race five as Ipswich made advances towards the bonus point, but Shields' lightning fast start in heat six – and Screen's pass of Slabon on the fourth bend – kept Eastbourne interested.

Bird damaged a clutch and fellow reserve Madsen had to come in to replace him in heat seven. A good start and fine assistance by Nicholls on the first corner, saw the Ipswich pair achieve a 5-1.

Shields and tactical substitute Screen reduced the Eagles' deficit, before they combined again in heat nine, but this time both Nermark and Hampel passed Screen on the first corner.

Shields won for the third consecutive heat in race ten, with Hampel winning a mighty battle with a rejuvenated Kylmakorpi for second place.

Janniro and Barker were again on the receiving end in heat 11. However, Eastbourne looked set for a 5-1 in the next race until Kylmakorpi spun on the fourth turn.

He looked up from the ground to see Bird racing towards his head. There was the smallest of gaps between head and fence and somehow Bird managed to find this.

In doing so he saved Kylmakorpi from serious injury but wrecked his bike and damaged his own knee. Bird, consequently, took no further part joining David Norris, who had been withdrawn after two starts by the doctor because of tennis elbow.

In the re-run, the inevitable happened with Shields taking the chequered flag.

Screen passed Hampel on the fourth bend of heat 13 as Nicholls collected yet another win, before Eastbourne put the aggregate bonus point back in the melting point with a Shields/Kylmakorpi maximum in heat 14.

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