By Henry Chard
‘Tru Plant’ Witches rider Jake Allen has spoken of his enjoyment of riding for Ipswich in his first season at the club as they prepare for the Premiership Play-Off final against Swindon.
Allen played a key role in Ipswich’s semi-final win over Poole and said that their poor form towards the end of the regular season played in their favour ahead of the play-offs.
“It has been really good,” said Allen. “We started the year really good and we were top of the table for a while. Maybe we got a bit complacent and tailed off at the end, but we regrouped and had a chat with the management. Once we knew we were in the play-offs we knew that it was all to play for again. It might have been good that we did drop off in form ahead of the play-offs because maybe teams thought we were weaker than we were. That played in our favour against Poole, they thought they had it won but we made sure they didn’t.”
The Australian has been hugely impressive in his first year in Suffolk, starting the season in terrific form at reserve before moving into the main body of the team. A shoulder injury slowed his progress mid-season, but he is now back to the best and scoring highly.
“I have had quite a good year, I set out some goals for myself at the start of the year. One of them was to become a number one in the Championship, I have done that. The other was to move into the main body of the team at Ipswich and I have done that as well.
“The injury slowed me up mid-season which I think everyone saw with my scores, they were not as good as they were at the start of the year. I am learning how to manage it better and the shoulder is getting stronger again. I think it shows on track, I am more confident and doing what I want on the bike whereas a month or two ago I was hesitant and worried about doing more damage. I scored double figures in both legs of the play-off semi-final so hopefully I can replicate that in the final.
“Once I am finished for the year, I will start getting the ball rolling to be able to get the shoulder sorted as soon as I can.”
The 24-year-old has been impressed with the professional set up at Ipswich and said he wants to remain with the club in 2020.
“Compared to every other club I have dealt with during my time In England for a couple of years they are very professional. They want you to do well as much as you want to do well. There has never been a problem if I have asked for advice or help. It was a good for me to go to a new club and I am glad it was Ipswich. I have really enjoyed my time here and hopefully if all goes to plan, I will be here next year and for years after that.”
The Brisbane-born rider scored double figures in both legs of the semi-final against Poole and explained why victory tasted so sweet.
“We knew we had our work cut out at the start of the second leg being 10 points down but after two heats that was down to two. When the 5-1’s were going back and forth we just needed to kill that one pairing. Once we got that 4-2 against them and killed that pairing, that was the end of it.
“It was such a good feeling beating Poole, especially after how cocky they were down at Poole, jumping in our faces thinking they had won it with one leg to go. Them doing that, lit a fire. We wanted to beat them, but we wanted to beat them even more after the way they reacted down there. To get the win in front of your own fans and to beat the table-toppers, which is the first time anyone has done that in the history of the Premiership play-offs, was a great feeling.”
Allen was full of praise for the support at Foxhall and said the positivity has been a refreshing change.
“It has been really good, I have enjoyed my time with the club and the fans have been unreal. They always say hello when you are walking from the changing rooms and they are always friendly. Even when are struggling they don’t slag you off. They might send you a message on Facebook saying: ‘chin up, we know what you can do’, and they try to keep things positive which is another big thing. Clubs I have been at in the past, if you have a couple of bad meetings, they want you sacked, so it is nice to have the backing of the fans, management and your teammates.”
The 2017 Queensland state champion is predicting an exciting encounter in the play-off final against the Robins.
“At the end of the day it is 0-0 at the start of the meeting and we have got to do what we did to Poole when we are at home and run them close away. It will be a really good meeting against Swindon.”