Witches show strength in defeat
IPSWICH Evening Star Witches slipped to their fourth consecutive league defeat – but it could have been so different.There were certainly signs from this performance to suggest the Witches' strength in depth could soon start to pay off and see them causing teams problems.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH Evening Star Witches slipped to their fourth consecutive league defeat – but it could have been so different.
There were certainly signs from this performance to suggest the Witches' strength in depth could soon start to pay off and see them causing teams problems.
At opposite ends of the betting odds there was no great void between the ability of the two sides on show.
In their previous league meetings Ipswich may have let the matches slide in the latter stages, although on this occasion Lady Luck had a hand in inflicting a defeat.
There was no lack of commitment, with many of the team worthy of more points than the score chart suggests.
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Daniel Nermark continues to show progress with each meeting he rides, to suggest confidence is returning after his horrific leg injury last term.
He was excluded from heat 14 just when the Witches were getting back into the meeting, which effectively scuppered their chances of gaining a victory.
Poole had built up an early lead which they clung on to with ease and they seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory.
However, Scott Nicholls and Jarek Hampel suddenly got the Witches back into the match, with a tremendous maximum heat advantage in heat 13.
Hampel had suddenly got his set-up right and roared into the distance ahead of Lee Adams and team mate Nicholls.
As they went down the back straight Adams momentarily reared, with Nicholls taking his chance and racing round the outside to join his partner.
Adams then re-passed the Ipswich man on the home straight before Nicholls changed his line and again swept past Adams, this time on the white line.
Somehow the Witches star then managed to cling on for the remainder of the race with no less than Adams and world champion Tony Rickardsson crawling all over him.
It was a tremendous heat that suddenly brought the Witches to within four points, with two to go, and silenced the home crowd.
There was all to play for now and when Nermark and Tom P Madsen made the better start in the penultimate race it looked good for the visitors.
However, disaster was to strike as Nermark shed a chain going into the first turn, causing all sorts of problems.
The race was immediately stopped, with a re-run ordered, with the exclusion of the Witches rider for being under power at the time.
Nermark and team manager Mike Smillie protested strongly to the referee on the pits phone, with Nermark adamant that Pole David Ruud had moved off his inside line and bumped into the Witches man's machine, causing his chain to jump off the teeth.
The referee ordered the re-run which Madsen needed to win.
However, it was not to be and after being slow away he ground to a halt on the first lap when his plug lead came adrift.
With nothing left to ride for, Nicholls had the satisfaction of again defeating Rickardsson in the final heat as the Witches slipped to a nine-point defeat.
Adams raced the fastest time of the season in heat one as Chris Slabon shed a chain while second.
Ipswich gained a reserve 5-1 in heat two with Danny Bird racing away at the front and Madsen winning the battle for second.
The Pirates hit back with their own 5-1 in the next to regain the lead before Rickardsson and Davey Watt made the better start in heat four.
Lukas Dryml won heat five, with Slabon and Hampel filling the minor places before Bird was involved in a lively heat six.
The Ipswich reserve certainly had the speed and was team riding with Nicholls when he slowed on the third lap, thinking it was the end of the race.
He quickly realised his mistake to rejoin Nicholls for a share of the spoils behind Adams.
Another shared heat followed in the next before Hampel came out as a tactical substitute in heat eight and roared for a tape to flag win.
In heat nine Nicholls was leading from Bjarne Pedersen with Bird in third.
He tried for all his worth to overhaul the Dane and at one time looked like joining Nicholls, but Dryml was gaining speed as the race progressed and took advantage to catch Bird out on the final bend, taking him high and wide around the boards.
Nicholls came out in heat 12 but was slow away and by the time he had joined Paul Hurry, Dryml was well away in yet another shared heat.