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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Witches' fate in Lynn's hands

PUBLISHED: 15:49 20 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

Ipswich Witches 47 Peterborough Panthers 43: UNTIL Jarek Hampel ground to a halt in heat ten, Ipswich Evening Star Witches looked on course for a place in the final of the Craven Shield.

Now they must pin their faith in King's Lynn doing them a favour by beating Peterborough in one of the two meetings between the Panthers and the Knights.

UNTIL Jarek Hampel ground to a halt in heat ten, Ipswich Evening Star Witches looked on course for a place in the final of the Craven Shield.

Now they must pin their faith in King's Lynn doing them a favour by beating Peterborough in one of the two meetings between the Panthers and the Knights.

For the first time ever Witches fans will be cheering Lynn on. If Peterborough double the Norfolk side they will qualify for the final after winning the aggregate bonus point at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Ipswich, who doubled Lynn in this competition last week in the three-team eastern group, were ten points up after four races, and with Hampel looking unbeatable in his opening three rides a win by more than 12 points looked on the cards.

This is the score the Witches lost by at the East of England Showground on Wednesday night.

Then Hampel experienced problems with his exhaust and had to switch machines.

The Pole did not look as potent on his second bike and Ipswich had to fight hard to win the match.

Their lead had been whittled down to just two points with two heats left – with a home defeat unthinkable for the Witches.

This would have meant that the Panthers would only have to take one point off Lynn to top the group.

But thankfully for home supporters, who would appreciate one more competitive match at Foxhall before the curtain comes down on a frustrating season, Joonas Kylmakorpi and then Scott Nicholls came up trumps in the final two races to leave the visitors with just the aggregate bonus point.

Nicholls was his usual good value and his races with Stowmarket-based former World Champion Mark Loram were worth the admission money alone.

Unlike the previous night, Nicholls and Hampel were given solid support with Kylmakorpi and the two reserves doing their jobs.

Craig Boyce had one race win but otherwise failed to impress for a team that scored seven points from the rider replacement facility for Chris Slabon.

Already without number one Ryan Sullivan (broken collarbone), Magnus Zetterstrom (food poisoning) and Hans Clausen with a long term injury, the Panthers were certainly not weakened by the loss of Piotr Protasiewicz with flu.

Loram scored 18 points and proved a fine replacement for Sullivan, while Rye House's Nigel Sadler, Loram's lodger, came in for Zetterstrom with rider replacement being used for Protasiewicz and scoring four points.

Loram and Nicholls both trust each other and consequently go to the edge in their races. They were well worth watching.

After Boyce and Kylmakorpi had put the Witches six points ahead after three races, crowd favourite Kim Jansson joined Nicholls in heat four for another 5-1 as the Witches went ten ahead.

Kylmakorpi shed a chain on the first bend of heat five as the Panthers hit back with a maximum of their own before Hampel won the next race comfortably.

A fit-again Danny Bird battled well for third place in heat seven and Jansson tried to go inside too early and went through the first bend safety fence in heat eight.

Boyce was lucky to get a point in heat nine when Chris Harris fell on the final bend and Hampel suffered engine failure when an exhaust stud broke, in the first race after the interval.

Heat 11 saw Nicholls and Loram change places four times before the Ipswich rider ran out victor.

The Panthers got within four points of Ipswich one heat later and then Loram got revenge over Nicholls in race 13.

The impressive Kylmakorpi gated to victory in the penultimate race before Nicholls passed Loram down the back straight of the third lap in the final heat to secure victory for his side.

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