Witches too hot to handle

IPSWICH WITCHES 53 KING'S LYNN 37IT was hot and it was sticky as Ipswich Evening Star Witches moved top of their British League Cup group.This was their biggest win of the season and the first time they have reached 50 points this year.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH WITCHES 53 KING'S LYNN 37

IT was hot and it was sticky as Ipswich Evening Star Witches moved top of their British League Cup group.

This was their biggest win of the season and the first time they have reached 50 points this year.

The humid conditions mattered little as the home riders got to grips with their task of not only comfortably beating Premier League King's Lynn but also grabbing the all-important aggregate bonus point as well.

With two home wins and three away defeats and the extra point already gained from Peterborough, Ipswich are well placed to finish top of the group and qualify for the quarter-finals.

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This will give the club and its fans something to cheer about in what has been a thoroughly depressing season so far.

A black cloud that has been hanging over Foxhall Stadium all season lifted to let in bright sunshine on a night when every home fan went home happy.

The racing was exciting with a pass or two in most heats as evenly-matched riders fought out every point.

To be fair, the previous home meeting that saw a victory over Eastbourne in the Elite League was well worth watching as well.

And there is no doubt that the power and drive of international-class riders like Scott Nicholls do add an extra ingredient to top level racing.

But this is not to deny the entertainment put on last night.

Skipper Paul Hurry followed up his 11 points in his only other League Cup meeting this season with a 14-point return this time.

This will surely improve his confidence as Ipswich set off on eight successive Thursday nights of Foxhall meetings.

His equipment looked fast and if the experienced rider can carry on this form from his reserve berth in the Elite League it will help Ipswich keep above Belle Vue and avoid the wooden spoon.

Ben Howe's van broke down on the way to the meeting so Witches junior Matthew Wright, who also rode in the corresponding away match, was given another reserve outing.

Danny Bird gave one of his best shows in a Witches race jacket only missing out on a maximum when he appeared to be run into and pushed almost into the fence on the first turn of the final heat.

He won heat one easily enough with Kim Jansson passing Czech Tomas Suchanek on the fourth bend for third place.

Wright briefly went ahead of James Brundle in the reserves' race – a heat that was won by Daniel King after he passed Mark Thompson on the second bend.

Daniel Nermark swapped places with Davey Watt a couple of times before the latter won heat three to level the scores.

Former Witch Tomas Topinka buzzed round the outside of the first corner to win heat five, before Bird and Jansson gated cleanly to gain a decisive 5-1 in heat six.

Hurry missed the start in the next race, but sped around the outside of Watt on the second lap to take the chequered flag, and then King suffered a chain problem when in third place on the last lap of heat eight.

Ipswich then went to town to slam home consecutive 5-1s and the bonus point was assured when Hurry made perhaps his best start of the year to be followed home by Bird in heat 13.

Heat 14 was a cracker. Nermark is certainly not short of fight and he refused to give up when trailing tactical substitute Watt.

On the run-in to the line the Swede made use of a slim gap between opponent and fence to just get his machine ahead as the riders crossed the line at full throttle.

This had the crowd on their feet, although a winning end to a highly enjoyable night was denied when Bird ended almost in the fence at the start of heat 15.

Hurry, though, made another good start and looked on fast equipment as he won without danger from Lynn's two best riders.

Ipswich next ride home and away to Oxford next Thursday and Friday and away to Peterborough on Monday week – all in the Elite League.

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