DRAWN meetings appear to be the Buildbase Bees' speciality at present - this all-square clash in a last-heat decider at Ipswich being their fourth 45-45 result in just over six weeks.
And it was the result which officially confirmed that Coventry will not be involved in this season's relegation race-off as their 29-point total cannot be exceeded by Peterborough, or indeed Monday's opponents Belle Vue.
The match at Foxhall could easily have gone either way and Bees may feel they had enough opportunities to win it - but with the team once again heavily depleted, it was still a point gained against a home team who were well dialled-in after a convincing 52-38 win over Poole in the first half of the double header.
Bees had little time to prepare given the time constraints of the meeting, but despite conceding three early 5-1s they remained in touch and took a draw with a 4-2 in the last race.
It was Bees who got off to a winning start in a re-run Heat 1 with the visitors in a 5-1 position before Steve Johnston fell on the second lap after disputing second place with guest Bjarne Pedersen. The re-start followed a similar pattern with Pedersen - replacing the unwell Hans Andersen - and Olly Allen gating ahead of Piotr Swiderski and scoring a convincing maximum heat advantage.
But the Witches were always likely to take that back in Heat 2 given the lack of track knowledge of Filip Sitera and Josh Auty, and the home side moved in front for the first time with a fast win for Robert Miskowiak in Heat 3 and mechanical problems for skipper Chris Harris on the third lap which allowed Davey Watt through and gave the Witches guest a shot at Billy Janniro on the last bend, which the Bees man just about saw off.
With rider replacement still in operation for Simon Stead, Bees again had to pair their reserves in Heat 4 and Rory Schlein and Chris Schramm took full advantage - but there was a great response from Allen and Pedersen with some good team-riding to keep Watt at bay and post another 5-1 in Heat 5.
There was a blow in Heat 6 with Swiderski, who was somewhat up and down, gating well to lead and the lively Schramm holding Janniro at bay in a battle which saw them re-pass on a couple of occasions, and that put the Witches 21-15 up - but at that point, much better support for Pedersen and Allen was forthcoming.
Schlein was squeezed out from the inside in Heat 7 and could not make it through from the back as Harris led Johnston, with Janniro holding on to third place - but Schlein did find a way through the traffic in the next, when he was taking the rider replacement outing and ended Allen's unbeaten run with an inside passing move on lap three.
Auty, however, chased Schramm and saved a 3-3 with an impressive move on his own going into the last lap to keep the gap at four points.
Heat 9 was somewhat controversial, especially during a three-way battle for second place involving Sitera, Miskowiak and Harris behind the clear leader Watt, with Harris finding himself totally boxed-in and unable to complete a pass on his Polish opponent. Miskowiak, however, dived inside Sitera on the last bend and when Sitera fell, referee Chris Gay excluded the Ipswich man for unfair riding - much to the Witches' dismay.
That dismay was multiplied in Heat 10 when Harris and Janniro sped away to a 5-1 over Swiderski and Miskowiak to level the scores and virtually end Ipswich's chances of securing the 21-point win they needed to overhaul Swindon and book a semi-final tie at Lakeside.
Schlein swept wide on turn two in Heat 11 to inflict what would be Pedersen's only defeat of the evening, Allen holding third place ahead of Johnston - and Ipswich then went back in front with Harris suffering more problems in Heat 12, this time throwing a chain on the start-line.
Fortunately the Witches' advantage was limited to a 4-2 by Sitera passing Schramm in mid-race, and this two-point lead was maintained in the next two races thanks to Pedersen's win in Heat 13 and Janniro doing likewise in the next - the bustling Sitera just failing to get on terms with Miskowiak for third place.
Bees therefore required a 5-1 in Heat 15 to snatch the win, and hopes of doing just that increased when Schlein had problems just before the race and was forced into a late switch on to Watt's machine - with plenty of adjustments taking place whilst the other riders were ready to race.
Swiderski was never a factor and with Pedersen going clear, it was all about Schlein and Harris in the battle for second place, and although Harris twice overtook his fellow Bees asset, he never had the drive to maintain his place and Schlein made it back past on both occasions. Clutch problems, in fact, had Harris fearful that he wouldn't finish the race, but he came home third for the 4-2 which squared the match - a satisfactory result under the circumstances.
IPSWICH 45 Piotr Swiderski 1 3 1 2 0 = 7 Tobias Kroner Rider Replacement Davey Watt 1 1 3 3 = 8 Robert Miskowiak 3 0 X 0 1* = 4+1 Rory Schlein 3 0 3 3 1* 2 = 12+1 Steve Johnston X 3 2 0 2 = 7 Chris Schramm 2* 2* 2* 0 1 = 7+3
BUILDBASE BEES Bjarne Pedersen 2* 3 2 3 3 = 13+1 Olly Allen 3 2* 2 1* 0 = 8+2 Chris Harris R 3 1* 3 R 1 = 8+1 Billy Janniro 2 1 1 2* 3 = 9+1 Simon Stead Rider Replacement Filip Sitera 1 1 0 2 2 0 = 6 Josh Auty 0 0 1* = 1+1