Ipswich Witches' play-off dreams were extinguished at Belle Vue as the home side completed the job they started at Foxhall Heath on Thursday.

Belle Vue ran out 55-35 winners on the night and 107-73 winners on aggregate. They will meet either Wolves or Sheffield in the final.

The Aces, already 14 points up after the first leg, took the meeting by the scruff of the neck early on, showing no signs of nerves, to leave the Witches with just pride to race for.

How the meeting unfolded.. heat by heat

Led by world No.5 Robert Lambert, the Aces were too hot at the top end for the Suffolk side, who battled throughout, but couldn't land any major blows, winning just two heats all night.

It was a disappointing play-off experience for Ritchie Hawkins' side after what has been a very good domestic 2022 season for the Witches.

Sudbury Mercury: Close action at Belle Vue, but it was the home side who came through to win.Close action at Belle Vue, but it was the home side who came through to win. (Image: Tim Abell)

The Witches won the toss on what was a dry and pleasant evening in Manchester. They took the inside gates in heat one.

But it was Brady Kurtz off the outside who shot across all three riders to take the win as the Witches stayed in the minor placings in a shared opener.

Norick Blodorn won the next, Jye Etheridge passed Anders Rowe on the final lap as Belle Vue took the lead. Matej Zagar won the next and the Aces stretched their lead to 18 on aggregate.

Etheridge made an electric gate in heat three as Lambert, who was guesting for fellow GP ace Max Fricke, joined him at the front and the Aces gained their first 5-1 of the night.

Sudbury Mercury: Ipswich No.1 Jason Doyle reflects at Belle VueIpswich No.1 Jason Doyle reflects at Belle Vue (Image: Tim Abell)

Doyle was the Witches first heat winner in race five, with Summers in third with the Witches gaining their first heat advantage. Troy Batchelor made it two wins on the bounce for Ipswich in the next as the Witches pulled two more points back.

Lambert made it two out of two for himself in heat seven and Tom Brennan won his first race of the night in the next.

Sudbury Mercury: Aaron Summers and Jason Doyle in heat one at Belle VueAaron Summers and Jason Doyle in heat one at Belle Vue (Image: Tim Abell)

Batchelor couldn't reproduce the form of his previous race as the Aces notched their second 5-1 to put them ten points up on the night and as good as home.

And they were home in the next as Kurtz won a thriller over King as the Witches 2022 season came to an end.

Sudbury Mercury: Witches riders on track walk ahead of the tie at Belle Vue.Witches riders on track walk ahead of the tie at Belle Vue. (Image: Tim Abell)

There was still time for Lambert to get the better of Doyle in heat 11 and again in heat 13, passing the Ipswich No.1 in thrilling style.

Tungate split the Aces in the penultimate heat before Doyle and Zagar had a real ding-dong in the final race, with the Slovenian downing the Aussie's colours.

Top Witch: Jason Doyle. Won a heat and was in the mix all night against the fast Aces riders.


Belle Vue: Brady Kurtz (3,2,3,0)=8; Tom Brennan (0,0,3,1)=4; Matej Zagar (3,2,2*,3,2*)=12+2; Charles Wright (1,0,3,3)=7; Robert Lambert (3,3,3,3,3)=15; Norick Blodorn (3,0,1,1)=5; Jye Etheridge (1,2*,1,e/f)=4+1.

Ipswich: Jason Doyle (1*,3,2,2,1)=9+1; Aaron Summers (2,1,2,0)=5; Danny King (0,2,2,1*,0)=5+1; Rohan Tungate (2,1*,0,2)=5+1; Troy Batchelor (0,3,1,1*)=5+1; Paul Starke (2,1,0,2)=5; Anders Rowe (0,1,0,0)=1.

* bonus point

Heat details

1. Kurtz, Summers, Doyle, Brennan 3-3

2. Blodorn, Starke, Etheridge, Rowe 7-5

3. Zagar, Tungate, Wright, King 11-7

4. Lambert, Etheridge, Rowe, Batchelor 16-8

5. Doyle, Zagar, Summers, Wright 18-12

6. Batchelor, Kurtz, Starke, Brennan 20-16

7. Lambert, King, Tungate, Blodorn 23-19

8. Brennan, Summers, Etheridge, Rowe 27-21

9. Wright, Zagar, Batchelor, Starke 32-22

10. Kurtz, King, Brennan, Tungate 36-24

11. Lambert, Doyle, Blodorn, Summers 40-26

12. Zagar, Starke, King, Etheridge (e/f) 43-29

13. Lambert, Doyle, Batchelor, Kurtz 46-32

14. Wright, Tungate, Blodorn, Rowe 50-34

15. Lambert, Zagar, Doyle, King 55-35

Aggregate: Belle Vue win 107-73 and will meet either Wolves or Sheffield in the final