By Henry Chard
IPSWICH 41: Niels-Kristian Iversen 9+2, Jake Allen 9+1, Richard Lawson 7+2, Cameron Heeps 6+1, Chris Harris 6+1, Danny King © 4, James Sarjeant 0. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
SWINDON 49: Tobiasz Musielak 12+1, Jason Doyle © 11, Rasmus Jensen 8+1, Adam Ellis 8+1, Ellis Perks 5, Troy Batchelor 4, Claus Vissing 1+1. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter
REFEREE: M. Bates
VENUE: Foxhall Stadium
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FINAL PREMIERSHIP TABLE
PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES
Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)
Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)
Ipswich 41-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon v Ipswich (Oct 17)
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches were beaten 41-49 at Foxhall on Tuesday night as the Swindon Robins won the first leg of the Premiership Play-Off final.
It was a tight encounter with plenty of incidents throughout and there was nothing to separate the two sides after 10 heats. However, the away side found another gear and finished strongly to build up an eight-point lead ahead of the second leg at the Abbey on Thursday. Niels-Kristian Iversen top scored for the Witches with 9+2.
It looked like being the perfect start in heat one as Iversen and Cameron Heeps made the gate, but Jason Doyle fell on the first turn and failed to clear the track, meaning a re-run. Adam Ellis seemed to anticipate the start in the re-run and made a flying gate to win comfortably, meaning a 3-3. Jake Allen produced a classy ride to win heat two as the points were shared again. Tobiasz Musielak won heat three for the Robins ahead of Chris Harris and Richard Lawson meaning the score was locked at 9-9 after three races.
Troy Batchelor won heat four as the points were shared once again before a second Swindon rider hit the deck in heat five. Doyle made the start ahead of Harris with Ellis chasing the Ipswich man hard for a couple of laps, but in attempting to pass Harris on the outside going into turn one, he fell and was excluded from the re-run. There was another fall for a Robin in the re-run as Doyle was squeezed out in the first turn and all three riders were called back. The Swindon captain won the third attempt of the race for a yet another 3-3. The deadlock was broken in heat six as the Witches took the lead courtesy of a 5-1 from Heeps and Iversen which gave the hosts a 20-16 lead.
That lead did not last long as the visitors hit straight back in heat seven with a maximum from Rasmus Jensen and Musielak. The 3-3’s were back in heat eight as Ellis took the chequered flag with Allen second and Heeps had to work hard to pass Claus Vissing for a point. Ipswich were back in front after heat nine as Lawson and Harris raced to a maximum to put the Witches 29-25 ahead.
Iversen led heat 10 but there was another faller for the Robins as Musielak and Heeps went into turn three of the opening lap side by side, but with the Witches man on the inside, Musielak fell and Heeps was adjudged to be the guilty party, meaning he was excluded. The Robins took advantage in the re-run to record a 1-5 that levelled the score again. Swindon went ahead in heat 11 as Doyle and Ellis combined for a maximum. The Robins extended that lead as Musielak won heat 12 ahead of Allen and Ellis Perks won the battle for third against Harris on the race to the line, meaning a 2-4 to the away side that put them 33-39 up.
Ipswich clawed two points in heat 13 as Iversen got the better of Doyle and Danny King held off Batchelor for third for a Witches 4-2. Jensen won heat 14 for Swindon ahead of Lawson and with Perks third that sealed victory on the night for the away side. Doyle won the final race of the night beating Iversen and Musielak collected a point for another Robins heat advantage that gave them a 41-49 win on the night.
SIMPLY CLIMATE CONTROL RIDER OF THE NIGHT…
Our meeting sponsors chose Allen as their rider of the night after he scored 9+1 from reserve.
Heat 11 seemed significant. After 10 races the scores were level at 30-30 but after the Robins recorded a maximum via Doyle and Ellis to make it back-to-back 1-5’s for the away side, the momentum had swung in their favour and they had quietened the big Foxhall crowd.
WHAT IT MEANS…
The Witches have work to do if they are to be crowned Premiership champions. They head to Swindon on Thursday for the second leg knowing they need to win by more than eight points with the Robins heavy favourites for the title.
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches will race the second leg of the Premiership Play-Off final at the Abbey Stadium against the Swindon Robins on Thursday 17th October, live on BT Sport.