Witches bid for points on appeal

PSWICH Evening Star Witches could be in for a welcome points boost.The third from bottom club are continuing to push for their home B Sky Sports Elite League meeting against King's Lynn to be re-staged.

By Elvin King

PSWICH Evening Star Witches could be in for a welcome points boost.

The third from bottom club are continuing to push for their home B Sky Sports Elite League meeting against King's Lynn to be re-staged.

The Suffolk side, who entertain Belle Vue in a league fixture at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm), have made an official complaint to the Speedway Control Board over referee Frank Ebdon's handling of the drawn match a fortnight ago.


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The result of the appeal could be crucial as Ipswich still harbour hopes of climbing up the table to reach a top five qualifying position for the end-of-season play-offs.

A fuming Jeremy Doncaster was left standing when the starting tapes went up quickly at the beginning of heat six.

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Starting marshall John Fitch admits that he was taken by surprise and he confirmed that the tapes were still being pushed down on to their magnets when Mr Ebdon pressed the button to start the race.

A startled Doncaster watched as the other three riders completed a drawn heat. Ebdon threatened Doncaster with a hefty fine after the Ipswich rider publicly accused the referee of stopping Ipswich from winning the match.

Witches director Magda Louis said today: "It was dangerous and ridiculous. If Mr Ebdon had to rush away from Foxhall and did not have time to run the meeting properly then he should not have been refereeing.

"We have sent video evidence and a strong letter to the Speedway Control Board asking for the match to be re-staged. We are eagerly waiting their reply.

"We don't intend to let the matter drop. Mr Ebdon's rush to get the match completed effectively cost us the match."

Ipswich bring in Oxford's Steve Johnston to replace Jarek Hampel at number one. Hampel was yesterday diagnosed to have pneumonia although he intends to return to the Witches side for their next match – at Belle Vue next Wednesday.

Johnston guested for Lynn at Belle Vue last Monday, and always proves a wholehearted replacement, helping Lynn to draw the match at Foxhall with a 5-1 with Nicki Pedersen in the final heat.

Hampel has had injections to improve his situation, but his right lung is still causing problems. Ipswich will be looking for a good score from skipper Jeremy Doncaster who turned 41 last month.

He failed to score at Coventry in the 49-41 defeat on Saturday after travelling back from a Friday grass-track meeting in France. He is riding in the Italian League this season and has more foreign bookings.

"It is clear for all to see that Jeremy's extra continental commitments are affecting his Ipswich scores," said Mrs Louis. "But we are sure he will get back on track for us soon, hopefully starting tonight."

Joonas Kylmakorpi is programmed to make his Ipswich return tonight, and will also be under considerable pressure as the Witches have not ruled out further changes to their side. Kylmakorpi, who has been riding for table-topping Swedish League side Kaparna for the last month after injuring his back in May, moves down to reserve next week.

Chris Slabon, who scored a paid five points from four starts including a heat two 5-1 over Ipswich assets Toni Svab and Savalas Clouting guesting for Poole against Eastbourne last night, will be replacing Kylmakorpi in the team proper.

Tonight's visitors include Grand Prix star and Foxhall expert Jason Crump. They have brought in Coventry's Stuart Robson to replace former world champion Sam Ermolenko.

The American is expected to be out for the season after an horrific crash while riding in the Golden Gala open meeting in Lonigo, Italy last weekend. He was hit by Johnston, who had nowhere to go, and suffered a badly broken hand that required surgery.

Robson was paid for 13 points guesting for Ermolenko in a big win over Lynn on Monday, and was immediately booked for last night's televised match at Oxford as well as tonight's meeting.

Aces reserve Blair Scott wants to move to Workington but this has been put on hold until Belle Vue can find a replacement.

The Manchester club's promoter John Perrin is due to re-arrange his team following Ermolenko's injury with new names at both ends of the team. Chris Manchester is set to replace Ermolenko.

There is no way the Aces will complete their league fixtures by the August 31 deadline as they still have eight home matches left. "We can still reach the top five if we can pick up points in the few away matches we have left," said Perrin. This will be Belle Vue's first visit to Suffolk this year.

Tonight's line-ups -

Ipswich: S Johnston, J Doncaster, C Boyce, J Kylmakorpi, S Nicholls, L Lanham, C Slabon.

Belle Vue: S Robson, K Laukkanen, J Lyons, B Karger, J Crump, T Jedrzejak, B Scott.

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