Witches skipper Scott on strike

IPSWICH Witches were shocked today when their skipper and number one rider, Scott Nicholls, boycotted the club.The 24-year-old was busy in his workshop in Foxhall Road instead of taking part in the club's official press day at Foxhall Stadium.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Witches were shocked today when their skipper and number one rider, Scott Nicholls, boycotted the club.

The 24-year-old was busy in his workshop in Foxhall Road instead of taking part in the club's official press day at Foxhall Stadium.

Nicholls is refusing to ride for the Elite League club until he receives better terms.

He said: "At the moment my deal gives me less money than last season.

"I have gone up from being an assistant to being a manager and there is no way that I will ride for less cash."

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The official photographs for the 2003 season that begins for the Witches with a home challenge match against Swedish club Kaparna next Thursday, did not contain Grand Prix rider Nicholls, who is rated as the next British world champion.

Nicholls added: "The Ipswich management would not be able to get a ten-point rider for the same money as they have offered me.

"I do want to race in England and I only want to race for Ipswich. I have no other club in mind and unless there is an injury or two there does not appear to be any vacancies elsewhere.

"I rode in 36 matches in 2002, missing four because of injury. With a reduced number of sides this year I am only guaranteed 30 Ipswich meetings.

"Consequently, my money will be reduced – and this is something I cannot let happen.

"My bikes are in the van and my kit ready, but as I did not receive a call from Ipswich to discuss my deal I am refusing to go to Foxhall.

"I appreciate that this looks stupid for both parties but I can only add that I have always been loyal to Ipswich, even being fined last season for being late to a Grand Prix so that I could take part in a match.

"One answer might be if they would let me ride in the British League Cup side as I have been told I am eligible, but I don't think this will happen.

"If nothing is sorted then I will continue to ride in Sweden, Poland and in the Grand Prix series and also find work for two or three days a week in Ipswich."

John and Magda Louis, who run the club, were both at Foxhall today with the rest of the squad as they went through their paces.

They said: "We have no comment to make on the current situation regarding Scott Nicholls."

A lot of hard work has gone into building a young side for this speedway season and although rated as rank outsiders for the title there was plenty of optimism that it could be a memorable season.

However, without Nicholls as a spearhead, the chance of this isconsiderably reduced.

It is believed that the Witches lost £18,000 last season, hence their official application to join the Premier League next year if they suffer similar losses this time round.

It is believed that Nicholls signed a contract to ride for Ipswich in January although this has not been logged yet.

He also announced at the 2001 supporters' club dinner in November of that year that he had agreed a two-year deal with the club.

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