Wolves overcome Witches
Wolverhampton Wolves 55, Ipswich Witches 35IPSWICH Evening Star Witches were no match for the hungry Wolves in this Elite League clash at Monmore Green last night.
Wolverhampton Wolves 55, Ipswich Witches 35
IPSWICH Evening Star Witches were no match for the hungry Wolves in this Elite League clash at Monmore Green last night.
Superbly led by the Karlsson brothers, the home side were rampant leaving the visitors trailing from the start.
The Swedish duo are legendary in these parts, seemingly able to pull lines around the tight bends at will.
Time and again they were trailing the visitors into the first bend, but had the ability to turn on a sixpence and charge through on the inside as they went down the back straight.
Whilst the remaining home side riders all contributed fully to their side's cause, offering the Karlssons good back up, the Witches were virtually a two man side.
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Scott Nicholls and Jarek Hampel were good value and could not be faulted for effort although the remaining riders were poor. Joonas Kylmakorpi and Jeremy Doncaster both had one good win each, but that aside, Hampel and Nicholls were on their own.
Hampel led heat one into the first bend but was passed by Mikael Karlsson on the inside around the second and then Kylmakorpi held off a four lap challenge from home star reserve Adam Skornicki to win heat two.
Ipswich were in prime position after a lap of heat three, after Craig Boyce made a hard first corner to mess up the Wolves pairing.
However, Jesper B Jensen was through into the lead after a lap and Peter Karlsson followed soon after, as the Wolves went six up.
Things again looked good in heat four as Nicholls and Kylmakorpi got around the first turn ahead but somehow the home side pairing both got up the inside as they went down the back straight, to split the visiting pair.
Wolves extended their lead with a 4-2 in the next. Hampel chasing Peter Karlsson to no avail.
Mikael Karlsson won heat six as the home side went further ahead and then Ipswich finally pulled a couple back in heat seven.
Jeremy Doncaster rolled back the years to blast around the outside on the first, to join team-mate Boyce at the front, although Paul Hurry followed him through to gain second.
Hampel came in as a tactical substitute in heat eight, but he was taken out by David Howe on the first turn and left in no man's land.
He went under his team-mate Kylmakorpi on the third bend and then set after the Wolves pairing for the remainder.
He was trying for all he was worth, finally pulling off a stunning final bend blast to defeat Howe and snatch second place on the line.
Heat nine was restarted and when the race got away again Nicholls led from Peter Karlsson, who done away with the first bend challenge of Leigh Lanham.
He then dived under the inside of Nicholls going into the third bend, resisted his challenge coming out of the fourth and then pulled away as Wolves went 12 up.
Doncaster couldn't repeat his efforts, of a few heats earlier, in the next as Wolves hammered home a maximum advantage to lead by 16 and then Ipswich rallied again in a good heat 11.
Slabon went around the first bend ahead but was passed on the outside by team-mate Hampel and on the inside by Hurry as they went three abreast down the back straight.
He hung onto third with team-mate Hampel winning as the visitors pulled a couple back.
Nicholls was out as a tactic substitute in the first race after the interval, but despite his efforts, he was beaten by Peter Karlsson and with Skornicki going round Boyce on the second lap, Wolves were back to their 16 point advantage.
Mikael Karlsson won heat 13 after a hard fought first corner and then Wolves hammered home another 5-1 in the penultimate heat.
Heat 15 was a cracker and although nothing was at stake, Nicholls and Hampel rode a tremendous race to finally split the Karlsson brothers and at least have the satisfaction of spoiling Mikael Karlsson's maximum hopes.
There may have been little parting, but a close run heat left you on the edge of your seat with all four riders going flat out for a rousing finale.
Had Ipswich managed to reach the end of season play offs, with a fifth place finish, then there is every possibility that they would have faced another daunting trip here, to face this outfit who seemed destined for a second place finish.
As it is, their failure to qualify will have saved them from the seemingly impossible task of coming here looking to collect a win.