Double blow for Witches

PUBLISHED: 10:33 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 04 March 2010

CARL Wilkinson and Robert Miskowiak were in the wars last night as Witches' hopes of avoiding the relegation play-off against the Premier League champions took a double blow yesterday.

Elite League

Poole Pirates 53 Ipswich Witches 40

CARL Wilkinson and Robert Miskowiak were in the wars last night as Witches' hopes of avoiding the relegation play-off against the Premier League champions took a double blow yesterday.

First, Belle Vue announced Grand Prix leader and red-hot favourite to lift this year's World title, Jason Crump, had rejoined the Aces, who are involved in a three-horse battle to stay clear of bottom spot along with Poole and the Witches.

Then Ipswich slipped to a plucky 53-40 defeat at Wimborne Road which saw the Dorset club move within three points of the seventh-placed Suffolk outfit.

Witches were made to pay for a poor start as they trailed 24-12 after only six races on the south coast as they aimed to turn round their whopping 59-33 defeat at Poole on July 8.

It wasn't until Ipswich had got a fortunate 7-2 in heat eight - when Pirates' Joe Screen contrived to throw away a vital point for his side when he unsuccessfully tried to team-ride Steve Boxall home for a 6-3 behind runaway leader Robert Miskowiak - that Witches forced their way into the meeting.

Troy Batchelor and Danny King then won races as Ipswich applied the pressure on the home side, before Chris Holder took the chequered flag in heat 11 to keep Poole five points in front.

But Witches, despite Miskowiak (11), King (nine) and Scott Nicholls (nine), leading the charge, still left Dorset without any reward.

Earlier, Wilkinson and Boxall had exchanged angry words on track just outside the pits entrance after heat two as the battle to avoid the drop played on both side's minds.

Boxall had barged past the Witch on the third lap to steal third place and salvage a 3-3 for Poole with both riders close to the safety fence and fortunate not to fall.

Tempers flared even more after race 10 when Hans Andersen and Miskowiak got involved in handbags at 10 paces when the Poole rider had snatched second place from the Pole on the run-in.

A 5-1 then would have left Ipswich only 33-30 behind, but, with King way out front, Miskowiak lifted on the last bend, giving Andersen room to charge past on the inside.

Poole's rider noticably slowed in front of Miskowiak just before they crossed the line, probably to try and help his partner Screen, with the Witches rider clearly not impressed by the move.

Belle Vue's signature of Crump, meanwhile, puts added pressure on Ipswich, who are still six points clear of basement boys Aces after last night's defeat in Dorset.

Crump, who has replaced Tomasz Chrzanowski, wasn't signed in time to line up for the Manchester-based outfit at Foxhall in the league tonight, but he can appear in the other three clashes between the sides before the end of the season.

Poole: Hans Andersen 11+1, Joe Screen 4+2, Leon Madsen 7+1, Bjarne Pedersen 8+1, Chris Holder 15, Ben Wilson 3+1, Steve Boxall 5+1.

Ipswich: Scott Nicholls 9, Rider replacement for Tobias Kroner, Robert Miskowiak 11, Danny King 9+1, Troy Batchelor 6, Dawid Stachyra 5+1, Carl Wilkinson 0.

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