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IPSWICH Witches will NOT be able to defend their Premier League 4s after they were sensationally left out of the eight teams who have qualified for the semi-finals and final at Peterborough next month.

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IPSWICH Witches will NOT be able to defend their Premier League 4s title after they were sensationally left out of the eight teams who have qualified for the semi-finals and final at Peterborough next month.

The ‘Sackers’-sponsored Suffolk side have been left out of a competition they won at Leicester in October last year, leaving director of speedway Chris Louis calling the decision ‘bizarre’.

“It makes no sense on any level,” Louis said.

“OK, so the qualifying procedures are to do with teams’ top four averaged riders and we are not one of the top eight teams in that respect. But we built our team around seven riders, not four.

“We are the holders of the competition and Ipswich is one of the closest tracks to Peterborough. We would have taken hundreds of fans to the East of England Showground. I find the whole decision bizarre.

“Rules change and it would seem to have made sense to at least make sure the current holders are in the finals each year, even if you allow for a wild card.”

It certainly appears a huge own goal by the sport’s administrators, with Witches fans likely to have flocked to Alwalton next month.

The Witches are already in the League Cup semi-finals and KO Cup quarter-finals and have a strong top four to compete for a title they won in style last year.

The teams who have qualified are: Plymouth, Somerset, Workington, Newcastle, Berwick, Leicester, Glasgow and Scunthorpe.

The Witches are at home on Thursday to Glasgow in the Premier League.

What do you think. Drop us a comment.

Follow @Mike_Bacon on Twitter

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