Just ten days after winning the Premiership’s first-ever tie-break race against Sheffield, the Crendon Panthers found themselves facing exactly the same situation at Foxhall after a tremendous, battling display from their depleted side.But although the brilliant Chris Harris won the race, second and third places for Witches duo Jason Doyle and Danny King ahead of guest Justin Sedgmen secured the result for the Witches.And whilst in previous years, an away draw was worth two league points, defeat in the Super Heat meant Panthers were reduced to just one.Rob Lyon’s side were without both Michael Palm Toft and skipper Scott Nicholls due to injury, but they have a strong record at Foxhall and were always in the contest, with Benjamin Basso putting in another crucial display at reserve.Harris and Basso combined for an early 5-1 over Troy Batchelor in Heat 4 to cancel out the Witches’ initial four-point advantage, but Panthers conceded maximum points in the next to King and Erik Riss.There was controversy in Heat 6 when Ipswich’s Paul Starke crashed into team-mate Jason Doyle, with the home side astonished to see Doyle disqualified – and Harris and Basso took full advantage with another 5-1 in the re-run.A series of shared races saw Sedgmen take a strong win in Heat 8 whilst Harris quickly cleared Riss in Heat 9, before Doyle and Starke inflicted a blow with a 5-1 over Hans Andersen and Ulrich Ostergaard in the next.But Panthers hit straight back with fast gating from Harris and Sedgmen in Heat 11 to see off Batchelor – and the match turned completely in the following race, with Basso and Andersen gating whilst King came to grief as he looked to get back on terms.It gave Panthers a four-point lead to defend, and they were happy to pack in behind Doyle for a shared Heat 13 – whilst Heat 14 was competitive with Riss just seeing off Ostergaard whilst Basso got past Danyon Hume on the third lap for a 3-3.So the Witches required a 5-1 from the last race to set up the Super Heat, and to Panthers’ frustration they did just that as King and Doyle hit the front and had the answers to every challenge from Harris and Sedgmen to make it 45-45.The same four riders came to the tape for the decider and this time it was Panthers who made the better starts – but Doyle made a key move inside Sedgmen, which enabled King to force his way into third place, with the Witches’ second and third places worth more on this occasion than Peterborough’s race win from Harris.Ipswich celebrated another late triumph at home, leaving Panthers with just one league point to show for their considerable efforts.Lyon said: “Considering the problems we’ve had in terms of getting here with a team in the first place after the last couple of days, it’s a credit to the boys who performed tonight.“We took it to Ipswich and didn’t quite pull it off, but it’s been a good meeting and I think we’ve shown tonight that we’re back as a team.“Yes, we would have liked three points out of it obviously, but we’ve got one – I think we deserved a tad more, but that’s the way it goes. In the decider I could sort of see it coming down the back straight, but that’s racing.“There were lots of positives to take out of it. Bomber is flying, and Benjamin had a good night although he’s a bit battered and bruised, and Justin was a superb guest.“Ulrich and Hans chipped in with vital points as well, so it was a team effort as always, and it’s just a shame we couldn’t pull it off – but fair play to Ipswich, they managed to get over the line.”
IPSWICH 45: Jason Doyle 11+1, Danny King 11, Erik Riss 7+1, Danyon Hume 6, Troy Batchelor 5, Paul Starke 4+2, Broc Nicol 1.PETERBOROUGH 45: Chris Harris 14+1, Benjamin Basso 11+2, Justin Sedgmen 9+2, Hans Andersen 7+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 4+2, Jordan Jenkins 0. Michael Palm Toft r/r.