Witches face in-form Norris

FORMER Witches' star David Norris will be looking to put a spanner in the play-off hopes of his former side at Foxhall Stadium tonight (7.30pm).The current Eastbourne man, who rode for the Witches between 1990-93, will be guesting for Oxford number one Greg Hancock, as the Oxford Silver Machine come to town.

FORMER Witches' star David Norris will be looking to put a spanner in the play-off hopes of his former side at Foxhall Stadium tonight (7.30pm).

The current Eastbourne man, who rode for the Witches between 1990-93, will be guesting for Oxford number one Greg Hancock, as the Oxford Silver Machine come to town.

Norris is having the season of his life at the moment, flying high at the top of the Eagles' averages and he will be an important member of the Team GB team in next month's World Cup.

Certainly Oxford will have looked long and hard for the best suitable guest with American star Hancock currently on the sidelines with a collarbone injury. In Norris they are putting great faith, as Hancock is always good value for a big score at the Suffolk circuit.

“David Norris is going extremely quickly at the moment,” said the Witches' Chris Louis.

“Of course they will miss Greg, but Norris is likely to prove an excellent replacement.”

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One of the main problems Ipswich have been suffering of late is the ability of visiting number ones to rattle up big scores.

The last four home meetings have seen Ryan Sullivan, Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Norris lose just three heats between them, with Adams and Crump picking up maximums. It has meant visiting clubs, who use the tactical ride rule with points counting double, being able to almost guarantee a six-point haul from their top man. It is something not lost on Louis.

“Too many visiting top riders are getting too many points and we must get among them more,” he said.

“Scott Nicholls has had his injury and Hans Andersen has just drifted slightly off form recently, but the signs are that they are back now and that is important.

“They must get among the top guys in the opposition and I'm confident they will.”

Tonight is the first part of a quick-fire double header against the Silver Machine, with Norris set to guest once more for Oxford at Cowley tomorrow night.

“The minimum we want from these two meetings is a home win and bonus point,” said Louis.

“If we continue to win our home meetings and pick up bonus points, we will be in the play-offs. I guess a couple more away wins will guarantee us a top-three place and perhaps make life a bit easier.”

Ipswich will at full strength against a side who beat them by two points at Foxhall last month - it was only the second home defeat of the season for the Witches.

That night Kim Jansson crashed out of the meeting early on, as did Daniel King later. It left Ipswich threadbare in the second half of the meeting as they paraded four heats with just one rider and it proved too much of a hurdle.

Last week's victory over league leaders Poole has renewed confidence in the home side of the Foxhall pits - and rightly so.

Oxford on the other hand are having a bit of wobble, losing four of their last five Elite League clashes after a good run last month. The Silver Machine lost at Peterborough last night when a victory would have catapulted them above the Witches in the Elite League table.

Teams

Ipswich: 1 Hans Andersen, 2 Danny Bird, 3 Jesper B Jensen, 4 Chris Louis, 5 Scott Nicholls, 6 Daniel King, 7 Kim Jansson

Oxford: 1 Sebastian Ulamek, 2 Travis McGowan, 3 Rafal Dobrucki, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen, 5 David Norris, 6 Joonas Davidsson, 7 Ryan Fisher

n Scott Nicholls, Jesper B Jensen and Hans Andersen are all included in the Team GB versus Denmark clash at Wolverhampton on Monday night. The meeting is a warm-up to the forthcoming World Cup.

Skybet Elite League

P W D L F A BP Pts

Poole 28 18 1 9 1354 1236 9 46

Wolverhampton 24 15 0 9 1153 1055 10 40

Ipswich 22 12 0 10 1013 1022 4 28

Arena Essex 21 11 0 10 985 942 5 27

Eastbourne 24 10 2 12 1126 1098 5 27

Oxford 21 11 0 10 978 978 5 27

Swindon 22 10 1 11 1030 997 3 24

Belle Vue 16 8 0 8 739 735 3 19

Peterborough 23 7 2 14 976 1145 1 17

Coventry 19 5 0 14 809 955 1 11

Last night's results

SkyBet Elite League: Poole 57 (R Sullivan 13+1) Swindon 38 (L Adams 16); Arena Essex 53 (P Hurry 13+1) Coventry 41 (B Janniro 11, A Jonsson 11); Peterborough 47 (L Richardson 13+1) Oxford 43 (R Fisher 9+2).

Premier League: Hull 54 (E Sanchez 15+1) Sheffield 40 (P Ashworth 16).

Conference League: Stoke 45 (J Elkins 14) Boston 45 (J Cockle 15+2).

Tonight's fixtures

SkyBet Elite League: Swindon v Poole 7.30, Ipswich v Oxford 7.30, Coventry v Arena Essex 7.45.

Premier League: Sheffield v Hull 7.45, Glasgow v Newport 7pm.

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