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WITCHES TOP THE TABLE

IPSWICH moved to the top of the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership with a 45-39 win over Oxford at Cowley.

The Spires remained in touch despite the non-arrival of Rohan Tungate due to travel issues in Poland, and the Witches were never allowed to build a large advantage.

They eventually went six points clear with a 5-1 from Emil Sayfutdinov and Jason Doyle in Heat 13, and although guest Scott Nicholls won Heat 14 as a tactical substitute the visitors only fielded one rider so the Ipswich win was assured – with the meeting then abandoned due to rain before the final race.

Doyle (9+2) and Sayfutdinov (9) led the scoring for the hosts whilst Nicholls top-scored for the Spires with 12 and Charles Wright picked up 10.

Ipswich manager Ritchie Hawkins said: “Really tough night for us with the conditions and against a very strong Oxford side but I’m very proud of the boys for how they battled and coped with everything.

“There was no complaining about the conditions, it was head down and we did what we needed to do. Oxford were very good, certainly missing Rohan weakened them, but we needed to take advantage and we did.”

Oxford boss Peter Schroeck said: “It’s been one of those days today. Rohan did everything he could to get over here. There was a traffic hold-up in Poland and, as a result, he missed his flight. After that, he drove 200km to another airport, only for the same to happen to him again.

“I think it’s important to also focus on the positives and there were plenty of those. Erik (Riss) put in a very encouraging debut for Spires from reserve and he was on for a double-figure score until the conditions started to deteriorate.

“Ashton (Boughen) put in an unbelievable ride to leave Jason Doyle – a former World Champion – in his wake in Heat 4. That was an incredible way to win his first ride at the top level and shows how fast he is and how talented he is.”

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Photo credit: JEFF HIGGOTT