Author Archives: Henry Chard

About Henry Chard

Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway

HAWKINS: IT’S BEEN A GREAT SEASON

By Henry Chard

Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins said that it has been a great season for the club after they finished as Premiership runners-up in 2019.

Ipswich defied the odds all season to reach the Play-Off final against the Swindon Robins and going into Thursday’s second leg at the Abbey, the odds were once again stacked against them following a 41-49 defeat at Foxhall in the first leg. On this occasion they could not pull off a shock as they were heavily beaten 62-27 by the Robins as Swindon completed a league and cup double in 2019.

Hawkins said he was disappointed with the way things went in the second leg but admitted that Swindon were just too good for his side over two legs.

“Tonight did not go the way we wanted, and everyone is a little bit disappointed,” said Hawkins. “Swindon were absolutely superb and thoroughly deserved the win. They were better than us at the right time in the final. They have set the benchmark for us now and we know how good we will need to be next season to try and win the league.”

The boss reflected on the club’s first season back in the top division of British speedway and was already looking ahead to next season.

“Overall, I think everyone will be in agreement, it has been a great season and thoroughly enjoyable for the supporters. We have given you some great moments and it has been a pleasure for me working with everybody. We were written off in our first season back in the Premiership and we got to the Play-Off final. We will now work to go one better next season.”

Despite being eight points down after the first leg of the final up against a Swindon side who had not lost all season at home, the manager said that his side still approached the tie with the belief that they could win.

“We came here to beat them, but they were untouchable on their home track and we could not do anything about it. There was no lack of effort or belief, it was just one of those things, they were better than us this week and well done to them.”

Hawkins once again paid tribute to the fans who backed their team in good numbers in Wiltshire.

“We have had brilliant support all season and the crowds have been great. We keep saying it all season and it is right we keep talking about how brilliant they have been. Thanks to everyone for coming to support us and I hope we have done you proud this season.”

On Friday, the club hosts its annual End of Season Awards Night and Hawkins said that 2019 has been one to look back fondly on, despite missing out on the title.

“We will have a good night tomorrow night. We might need to lick our wounds for a bit but on reflection we have got to be happy with what we have done this season. It is a great platform to build on for next season.”

Click here for the full raceday review.

RACEDAY REVIEW: SWINDON 62–27 IPSWICH (111-68)

Les Aubrey Photography

By Henry Chard

THE SCORES…

SWINDON 62: Jason Doyle ©13+2 (Paid maximum), Tobiasz Musielak 12+3 (Paid maximum), Rasmus Jensen 11+1 (Paid maximum), Troy Batchelor 9, Adam Ellis 8+1, Claus Vissing 5, Ellis Perks 4. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter

IPSWICH 27: Jake Allen 11, Chris Harris 6, Niels-Kristian Iversen 5, Danny King © 3+1, Cameron Heeps 1, James Sarjeant 1, Richard Lawson 0. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Turnbull

VENUE: Abbey Stadium

FINAL PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Team Meetings Points               
Poole 24 52
Swindon 24 50
Wolverhampton 24 43
Ipswich 24 42
Belle Vue 24 41
King’s Lynn 24 31
Peterborough 24 20

PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES

SEMI-FINALS:

Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)

Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)

FINAL:

Ipswich 41-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 62-27 Ipswich (2nd Leg)

WHAT HAPPENED?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches were comprehensively beaten 62-27 at the Abbey Stadium on Thursday night as the Swindon Robins won the Premiership title.

Ipswich had a mountain to climb having lost the first leg of the Premiership Play-Off final by eight points at Foxhall on Tuesday and they never threatened to pull those points back as the home side ran riot. The hosts recorded 12 heat advantages and the contest was all over after 10 heats to the delight of the home fans. Jake Allen top scored for the Witches with 11 points.

The evening did not get off to a good start for the visitors as number one Niels-Kristian jumped the start and suffered a tapes exclusion in heat one. Allen replaced the Dane and led early on, but Jason Doyle dived under the Ipswich reserve on the fourth turn of the opening lap and went on and won a shared race despite seemingly riding with both wheels over the white line at one point. Allen won heat two and it looked like being another 3-3 but Ellis Perks suffered an engine failure whilst in third, promoting James Sarjeant to third which gave the Witches a 4-2. Heat three was called back after Tobiasz Musielak jumped the start but he made the gate in the re-run with Chris Harris pushing him hard in second. Harris was trying all he could to get past the home rider but went too wide and allowed Rasmus Jensen through for a Robins 5-1 that put them 10-8 up on the night and 59-49 ahead on aggregate.

Allen replaced Sarjeant in heat four as Troy Batchelor worked hard on the opening lap to get the better of him for the win, but the Witches man did enough to keep Claus Vissing behind him although a 4-2 to the home team extended their lead. Jensen moved at the start of heat five but got away with it and he was followed home by Musielak for a 5-1 with the tie quickly running away from the Witches. Allen was the early leader in heat six but both Doyle and Adam Ellis used their home track knowledge to pass him for another Swindon maximum that put them 24-12 up and 73-53 ahead on aggregate.

Batchelor won heat seven as Harris split the Robins pair with Perks third for a Swindon heat advantage. Ellis won heat eight ahead of Danny King and it was another 4-2 to the home team as Vissing claimed a point. Jensen and Musielak combined for another 5-1 in heat nine to put them 37-17 up and on the brink of winning the title, with an 86-58 aggregate lead.

The Robins confirmed their victory in heat 10 as Doyle and Ellis raced to a 5-1, and with five races to spare they knew they would be lifting the Premiership trophy at the end of the night in front of their home fans. Heat 11 was stopped as Batchelor locked up on the first turn forcing King to lay the bike down and the Robins man was excluded from the heat. However, in the re-run King also fell whilst in third and was excluded. Iversen won the third attempt of the race ahead of Perks, meaning a 3-2 to the away side. Musielak got the better of Allen to win heat 12 as the Witches man kept Vissing behind him to limit the hosts to a 4-2 that made the score 48-23 on the night and 97-64 on aggregate.

Batchelor and Doyle cruised to a 5-1 in heat 13 to pile on the misery for the Witches. Sarjeant jumped the start in heat 14 and was warned as Jensen beat Harris in the re-run with Perks third for a Robins heat advantage. The night finished with another 5-1 to Swindon in heat 15 as Doyle and Musielak completed their paid maximums to make the final score 62-27 in the second leg, giving them a resounding 111-68 victory on aggregate as they were crowned Premiership champions.

RIDER OF THE NIGHT…

Allen was the only Witch to provide any real resistance to the Swindon onslaught, scoring 11 from reserve.

KEY MOMENT…

The home side were dominant all night with the Witches unable to land a blow and the title was sealed in heat 10 as captain Doyle and partner Ellis raced to a comfortable 5-1.

WHAT IT MEANS…

Les Aubrey Photography

Swindon are the 2019 Premiership champions; their second trophy of the season having lifted the Premiership Supporters Cup already this year. The Robins were too good for everyone this campaign. For the Witches, they end the season as runners-up in their first season back in the top flight.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have now finished the 2019 season. Thank you for your support throughout the season. Have a great winter and we will see you at Foxhall in 2020.

Click here for reaction from team manager Ritchie Hawkins.

SWINDON (49) V (41) IPSWICH: RACEDAY PREVIEW

By Henry Chard

WHEN AND WHERE…

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches face the Swindon Robins at the Abbey Stadium on Thursday 17th October in a Premiership Play-Off final fixture that starts at 7.30pm, live on BT Sport.

THE TEAMS…

SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 8.96 © 2. Adam Ellis 6.49 3. Tobiasz Musielak 6.21 4. Rasmus Jensen 7.86 5. Troy Batchelor 8.82 6. Ellis Perks 3.57 7. Claus Vissing 4.43. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter

IPSWICH: 1.Niels-Kristian Iversen 7.54 2. Danny King 6.83 © 3. Richard Lawson 5.78 4. Chris Harris 6.16 5. Cameron Heeps 6.30 6. Jake Allen 5.56 7. James Sarjeant 3.26. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Turnbull

VENUE: Abbey Stadium

FINAL PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Team Meetings Points               
Poole 24 52
Swindon 24 50
Wolverhampton 24 43
Ipswich 24 42
Belle Vue 24 41
King’s Lynn 24 31
Peterborough 24 20

PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES

SEMI-FINALS:

Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)

Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)

FINAL:

Ipswich 41-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon v Ipswich (Oct 17)

WHAT’S THE STORY?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches race their final meeting of the 2019 season as they travel to Swindon for the second leg of the Premiership Play-Off final. The two sides met at Foxhall on Tuesday as the Robins came away with a 41-49 victory that makes them firm favourites to finish the job off on home shale and lift the trophy. However, this Witches side have not got to the Premiership Play-Off final without a fight and although the task is a hard one, it is far from impossible. Ipswich were 10 points down after the first leg of the semi-final and managed to overcome reigning champions Poole in the second leg at Foxhall. Although the circumstances are different this time around, having the second leg away from home, the Witches will give it everything they have got one last time.

Ipswich are unchanged for this clash but there is a switch in riding order as Ritchie Hawkins shuffles his pack. Captain Danny King moves to number two with Cameron Heeps going to number five. Richard Lawson swaps with Chris Harris to move from number four to three and reserve Jake Allen switches to number six with James Sarjeant going to seven. It has been a mixed bag of results at the Abbey for the Witches this season. The Suffolk side suffered a 51-39 defeat early on in the season in a Supporters Cup tie before losing 46-44 in the league after losing out in a last-heat decider. Their most recent visit was one to forget as the Robins ran riot winning 66-24, as team changes by the management followed soon after.

There will be a large away following in Wiltshire with plenty of fans from Suffolk making the long journey down and the Witches will be hoping to produce a magnificent comeback to make it a happy trip home as they look to end 2019 as Premiership champions.

FROM THE MANAGER…

Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Thursday’s clash…

“It is a big ask of course, it was a big ask before we started. We go into Thursday with the mindset of clawing ourselves back into the meeting, winning the tie and taking the title. It would be an amazing achievement and a massive shock, but strange things happen and why can’t we do it?

“I don’t think previous results have much relevance on Thursday. We are starting eight points down with 15 heats to go and we have got to fight as hard as we can and that is all we can do. If we leave on Thursday knowing we put everything into it, either way we can hold our heads up high.

“Eight points can be clawed back in two heats, we can do it. Like I said we are massive underdogs, even more so now but we will go there and do the town proud. I am sure plenty of fans will be there cheering us on until the end and we will fight until the end because that is what they deserve.”   

THE ROBINS…

Swindon go into the second leg with an eight-point lead, putting them in a very strong position to go on and win the title. The Robins are unbeaten at home in 2019 in all competitions, the last time they did not win at the Abbey was back in May as Poole held them to a 45-45 draw. Since then they have been dominant on home shale and the Robins have won all home three meetings against the Witches this year. The Wiltshire club won the Premiership in 2017 and a win on Thursday would see them claim a domestic double having already won the Premiership Supporters Cup.

As we all know, the Robins have a powerful side. Former world champion Jason Doyle spearheads the side, with a former Grand Prix rider Troy Batchelor at five. Add into that Rasmus Jensen who is averaging over nine points at home this season, Adam Ellis and Tobiasz Musielak and you have a formidable top five. With home advantage in the second leg and the Premiership trophy waiting on the centre green, the Robins will be determined to make it a night to remember for their club.

ON THE ROAD…

Swindon ride in red and orange kevlars with white and black and race at the Abbey Stadium. The track measures at 315 metres with the track record belonging to Jason Doyle who set a time of 60.30 in July of 2019. An adult ticket costs £18, concessions £15, children (aged 11-16) £5 and children under the age of 11 go free. For travel information head here.

For more information about the club head to Swindon’s official website.

HAWKINS: WE’LL PUT EVERYTHING INTO IT AT SWINDON

By Henry Chard

Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins said his team will give it absolutely everything in the second leg of the Premiership Play-Off final at Swindon on Thursday after they were defeated 41-49 by the Robins at Foxhall on Tuesday.

There was nothing to separate the two teams after 10 heats of the first leg, but the Robins finished strongly to build an eight-point lead, making them firm favourites to finish the job and lift the Premiership title on Thursday in the second leg.

Hawkins said that his side will do everything they can on Thursday in Wiltshire and see where it takes them.

“It is a Grand Final and it was always going to be tough,” said Hawkins. “We didn’t quite get on top early enough and it is half-time now and we are losing. Obviously, I would rather we were eight points up, but we have just got to go to Swindon now and put absolutely everything into it and see what happens.”

There were plenty of falls throughout the night as the likes of Jason Doyle, Adam Ellis and Tobiasz Musielak hit the deck but the boss said that his side have nothing to lose in the second leg now.

“Starting is important anywhere you go but I don’t think it was any more important than normal tonight. There is going to be incidents, everything is on the line now and it is the last effort at the end of the season. There were a couple of times when we were in good positions and then in the re-run, we didn’t get back in that position and it went against us.

“We are down and have nothing to lose going into Thursday and we will do what we have done all season and fight with every ounce of our bodies.”

As expected, there was a big crowd at Foxhall, and the manager said that his team will head to Wiltshire still believing they can win the tie.

“We have had good crowds here all season and whatever happens on Thursday it has been a wonderful season for the club. There are still 15 heats to go and get a win. We are both in the Grand Final on merit. They have won here but we need to go there believing we can win there which we can.”

Click here for the full raceday review.

RACEDAY REVIEW: IPSWICH 41-49 SWINDON

By Henry Chard

THE SCORES…

IPSWICH 41: Niels-Kristian Iversen 9+2, Jake Allen 9+1, Richard Lawson 7+2, Cameron Heeps 6+1, Chris Harris 6+1, Danny King © 4, James Sarjeant 0. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

SWINDON 49: Tobiasz Musielak 12+1, Jason Doyle © 11, Rasmus Jensen 8+1, Adam Ellis 8+1, Ellis Perks 5, Troy Batchelor 4, Claus Vissing 1+1. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter

REFEREE: M. Bates

VENUE: Foxhall Stadium

MEETING SPONSORS…

Simply Climate Control – What sets Simply Climate Control apart from other conventional air conditioning businesses is their commitment to their core company values. Transparency, integrity and passion.

FINAL PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Team Meetings Points               
Poole 24 52
Swindon 24 50
Wolverhampton 24 43
Ipswich 24 42
Belle Vue 24 41
King’s Lynn 24 31
Peterborough 24 20

PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES

SEMI-FINALS:

Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)

Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)

FINAL:

Ipswich 41-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon v Ipswich (Oct 17)

WHAT HAPPENED?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches were beaten 41-49 at Foxhall on Tuesday night as the Swindon Robins won the first leg of the Premiership Play-Off final.

It was a tight encounter with plenty of incidents throughout and there was nothing to separate the two sides after 10 heats. However, the away side found another gear and finished strongly to build up an eight-point lead ahead of the second leg at the Abbey on Thursday. Niels-Kristian Iversen top scored for the Witches with 9+2.

It looked like being the perfect start in heat one as Iversen and Cameron Heeps made the gate, but Jason Doyle fell on the first turn and failed to clear the track, meaning a re-run. Adam Ellis seemed to anticipate the start in the re-run and made a flying gate to win comfortably, meaning a 3-3. Jake Allen produced a classy ride to win heat two as the points were shared again. Tobiasz Musielak won heat three for the Robins ahead of Chris Harris and Richard Lawson meaning the score was locked at 9-9 after three races.

Troy Batchelor won heat four as the points were shared once again before a second Swindon rider hit the deck in heat five. Doyle made the start ahead of Harris with Ellis chasing the Ipswich man hard for a couple of laps, but in attempting to pass Harris on the outside going into turn one, he fell and was excluded from the re-run. There was another fall for a Robin in the re-run as Doyle was squeezed out in the first turn and all three riders were called back. The Swindon captain won the third attempt of the race for a yet another 3-3. The deadlock was broken in heat six as the Witches took the lead courtesy of a 5-1 from Heeps and Iversen which gave the hosts a 20-16 lead.

That lead did not last long as the visitors hit straight back in heat seven with a maximum from Rasmus Jensen and Musielak. The 3-3’s were back in heat eight as Ellis took the chequered flag with Allen second and Heeps had to work hard to pass Claus Vissing for a point. Ipswich were back in front after heat nine as Lawson and Harris raced to a maximum to put the Witches 29-25 ahead.

Iversen led heat 10 but there was another faller for the Robins as Musielak and Heeps went into turn three of the opening lap side by side, but with the Witches man on the inside, Musielak fell and Heeps was adjudged to be the guilty party, meaning he was excluded. The Robins took advantage in the re-run to record a 1-5 that levelled the score again. Swindon went ahead in heat 11 as Doyle and Ellis combined for a maximum. The Robins extended that lead as Musielak won heat 12 ahead of Allen and Ellis Perks won the battle for third against Harris on the race to the line, meaning a 2-4 to the away side that put them 33-39 up.

Ipswich clawed two points in heat 13 as Iversen got the better of Doyle and Danny King held off Batchelor for third for a Witches 4-2. Jensen won heat 14 for Swindon ahead of Lawson and with Perks third that sealed victory on the night for the away side. Doyle won the final race of the night beating Iversen and Musielak collected a point for another Robins heat advantage that gave them a 41-49 win on the night.

SIMPLY CLIMATE CONTROL RIDER OF THE NIGHT…

Our meeting sponsors chose Allen as their rider of the night after he scored 9+1 from reserve.

KEY MOMENT…

Heat 11 seemed significant. After 10 races the scores were level at 30-30 but after the Robins recorded a maximum via Doyle and Ellis to make it back-to-back 1-5’s for the away side, the momentum had swung in their favour and they had quietened the big Foxhall crowd.

WHAT IT MEANS…

The Witches have work to do if they are to be crowned Premiership champions. They head to Swindon on Thursday for the second leg knowing they need to win by more than eight points with the Robins heavy favourites for the title.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches will race the second leg of the Premiership Play-Off final at the Abbey Stadium against the Swindon Robins on Thursday 17th October, live on BT Sport.

Click here for reaction from team manager Ritchie Hawkins.

KING: I WANT SUCCESS FOR THE FANS

‘Tru Plant’ Witches captain Danny King spoke of his desire to bring back a trophy to Foxhall Stadium ahead of the Premiership Play-Off final against Swindon.

Ipswich have qualified for the final in their first year back in the top flight of British speedway, having defeated defending champions Poole in the semi-final and will face the Swindon Robins in the final.

King missed the majority of 2018 with a serious nerve injury in his arm, but he has been pleased with his personal performance and the team’s in 2019.

“It has been a rollercoaster year,” said King. “We started the year like a house on fire, picking up points home and away, probably more so than anyone else. Then we came to a head at the end of the year and were struggling everywhere. We only just scraped into the play-offs and it wasn’t ideal form to be going into the play-offs, but we got there, did our job and are in the final.

“During the winter I was just trying to get myself fit. I got plenty of practice in and was feeling good on the bike but no matter how good you feel, you are not race-sharp. Missing a season took its toll but I am pleased with this season. I have had a lot of success and long may it continue. When you look at last year, I have got to be happy with this season.”

The 2016 British champion has captained Ipswich since 2015 and said that this year’s team has been one of the most enjoyable sides to be a part of.

“It has been great, and it has been one of the better years, we have got a good bunch of lads and mechanics. The whole atmosphere in the pits is good, there are no rivalries, everyone gets on and helps out. As a captain that makes the job a lot easier. When there is division in the camp that can make it difficult, but we haven’t had any of that.”

The 33-year-old looked back at the semi-final victory over Poole and said it was a night he will never forget in front of a big home crowd at Foxhall.

“It had everything. It was like a fairy-tale at Poole, everything was going well. We were 12 up and we thought worst case scenario we would keep it close. To come away losing by 10 was heart-breaking. We were disappointed with ourselves for letting it slip away and we were fired up by the way they celebrated in front of us. They celebrated like they had won the league, everyone left there dying for Saturday to come as we wanted to put it right and we did that.

“The crowd reaction on Saturday was unbelievable and was one of those things I will never forget and hopefully we will have more of that in the final. I believe we can beat anyone home and away on aggregate and we have. It is there for us to take and we need to finish the job.”

King has spent 11 seasons in Suffolk and is desperate to bring success to the club that he calls home.

“Everyone knows I am Ipswich speedway through and through, like a stick of rock! It is my home in speedway and I want success for the fans, the club and the town. I have never won the top division trophy. I have won the National League, the Championship but never the Premiership, so it would be the icing on the cake.”

The skipper spoke of the atmosphere around play-off ties and admitted you do feel the pressure of the situation as a rider.

“It is very strange situation when you are a rider, you feel the atmosphere. Once you put that helmet on your head, all eyes are on you and it is your turn to go out and do your job, there is a lot of pressure on that when it is play-offs. It is not like mid-season where you can perhaps afford a slip-up, there is no room for error in the play-offs. This is what the season has come down to and it is a very lonely ride when you are pushed off riding around to that start line with that pressure!”

The ’Tru Plant’ Witches take on the Swindon Robins in the Premiership Play-Off final with the first leg at Foxhall Stadium on Tuesday 15th October.

ALLEN: THE FANS HAVE BEEN UNREAL

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.”

The ’Tru Plant’ Witches take on the Swindon Robins in the Premiership Play-Off final with the first leg at Foxhall Stadium on Tuesday 15th October.

SWINDON & ROTHERHAM: TAKE PRIDE IN IPSWICH

By Henry Chard

We are back again with our latest ‘Take Pride in Ipswich’ competition! As part of our partnership with Ipswich Town Football Club, we are holding several joint competitions on social media as we look to encourage the Ipswich public to back their professional sports teams with the hashtag #IpsWitchTown.

This week, we are giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets for Tuesday night’s big play-off final clash at Foxhall against the Swindon Robins and a pair of tickets for the League One match at Portman Road between Ipswich Town and Rotherham United on Wednesday 23rd October.

Sound good? To enter, follow the instructions below.

To enter via Facebook, all you have to do is make sure you ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post and like our page on Facebook.

To enter via Twitter, all you have to do is ‘retweet’ this tweet and make sure you are following us on Twitter.

To enter via Instagram, all you have to do is ‘like’ this post and make sure you are ‘following’ us and Ipswich Town.

Entries will close at 10pm on Monday 14th October. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via their social media channel.

The winner must be able to attend the meeting at Foxhall on 15th October and the game at Portman Road on Wednesday 23rd October.

LOUIS: THE SUPPORT HAS BEEN UNWAVERING

By Henry Chard

‘Tru Plant’ Witches promoter Chris Louis said that their return to the Premiership has been an enjoyable year as they prepare for the Play-Off final against Swindon.

The 2019 team have the defied the odds to reach the final and he thanked the fans for their loyal support throughout the season.

“It has been enjoyable,” said Louis. “It has been made enjoyable by the team who have been great to work with and the fans. The support we have had has been unwavering and they have trusted in us from the beginning and shown their support in numbers, the whole thing has been fun.

“We had a poor run at an important time and changes had to be made but the fans supported those changes and got us through to the play-offs and now we are in the final. It couldn’t have gone any better, we expected it to be tough. We have not breezed our way here, everything has been a battle but when we have had to battle that is what the lads have done.”

The former world number three revealed that many fans had been in touch following the semi-final victory over Poole to comment on how good the atmosphere was at Foxhall that night.

“I have had many phone calls and they have all had the same message. Obviously, they have congratulated the team on making the final but a lot of it was focused around Saturday night at Foxhall and how something special happened.

“They felt like it was how it used to be, which is something I have heard a lot and how good the atmosphere was, and it was like old school speedway. I guess everyone is a good mood because we were victorious and got the job done and you go home happy. It seemed to conjure up a lot of old emotions that perhaps we don’t see enough of these days. It was a special night.”

Louis says the ‘feel-good factor’ is back in the town with the Witches in the play-off final and Ipswich Town top of the League One table.  

“It is up 100% and what certainly added to the atmosphere on Saturday night was that the football team are doing well. They have gone down a league and I guess you wouldn’t expect the following to be as strong as it is but that is Ipswich and Suffolk people. I think it helped us and we fed of that atmosphere and the lads responded.”

The promoter said that everyone at the club is feeling positive ahead of the final against the Robins.

“Preparations are going the same as for the semi-final. Every conversation with every rider whether it is concerning the meeting directly in front of us or not, you are careful of what you say because you want them to feel nothing but positive and confident. To be honest they already feel that, they have earnt their right to be in the final and fought for it. When something has been that tough you don’t give it up easily.”

The ’Tru Plant’ Witches take on the Swindon Robins in the Premiership Play-Off final with the first leg at Foxhall Stadium on Tuesday 15th October.

IPSWICH V SWINDON: RACEDAY PREVIEW

By Henry Chard

WHEN AND WHERE…

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Swindon Robins at Foxhall Stadium on Tuesday 15th October in a Premiership Play-Off final clash that starts at 7.30pm.

MEETING SPONSORS…

Simply Climate Control – What sets Simply Climate Control apart from other conventional air conditioning businesses is their commitment to their core company values. Transparency, integrity and passion.

THE TEAMS…

IPSWICH: 1.Niels-Kristian Iversen 7.54 2. Cameron Heeps 6.30 3. Chris Harris 6.16 4. Richard Lawson 5.78 5. Danny King 6.83 © 6. James Sarjeant 3.26 7. Jake Allen 5.56. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 8.96 © 2. Adam Ellis 6.49 3. Tobiasz Musielak 6.21 4. Rasmus Jensen 7.86 5. Troy Batchelor 8.82 6. Ellis Perks 3.57 7. Claus Vissing 4.43. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter

REFEREE: M. Bates

VENUE: Foxhall Stadium

FINAL PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Team Meetings Points               
Poole 24 52
Swindon 24 50
Wolverhampton 24 43
Ipswich 24 42
Belle Vue 24 41
King’s Lynn 24 31
Peterborough 24 20

PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES

SEMI-FINALS:

Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)

Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)

FINAL:

Ipswich v Swindon

TICKET OFFICE…

Tickets are available on the gate and are priced at £18 for adults, £16 for concessions (60+), £5 for students (16-17). Children 15 and under go free. Official programmes are priced at £3 and are available at the stadium. Car parking is free for all supporters.  Debit and credit card payments are accepted. Season tickets are not valid for this meeting although holders will still be able to purchase their tickets at the Season Ticket gate.

WHAT’S THE STORY?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host their home leg of the Premiership Play-Off final against the Swindon Robins on Tuesday night at Foxhall. The recent bad weather has meant a long wait for the Witches to discover their opponents in the final with the semi-final between the Robins and Wolverhampton postponed several times. However, the opposition and date are now confirmed as the Witches look to lift the title for the first time since 1998. Monday’s planned staging of the first leg at Foxhall was postponed on Sunday due to the bad weather forecast with the fixture moved to Tuesday.

It has been some season for the Witches, who were tipped by many to finish bottom of the pile on their return to the Premiership after eight years away. The Suffolk side held a place in the top four all season and defied the odds once again as they defeated table-toppers Poole in the play-off semi-final despite being 10 points down after the first leg.

On Tuesday, they take on the Swindon Robins, looking to build a healthy advantage ahead of the second leg at the Abbey on Thursday. Ipswich are at full strength for this huge meeting with number one Niels-Kristian Iversen recently finishing third in the Polish Speedway Grand Prix in Torun. As was the case in the semi-final, everyone will need to perform on the night from top to bottom to secure a good result before heading to Wiltshire.

The support from the terraces has been fantastic all season and it promises to be another big attendance on Tuesday, so get behind the boys and let’s create some more history for the club.

FROM THE MANAGER…

Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Tuesday’s clash…

“The final is finally here, and it has been a long build-up for us. The excitement and anticipation have finally led to this and we can’t wait to get going on Tuesday night. The whole town took so much joy from that semi-final win and we can’t wait to get going now.

“It is the Grand Final and whoever you are racing is going to be the toughest test. Both sides thoroughly deserve to be there. We got a good win over Swindon to get ourselves into the play-offs in the first place and now we need another team performance to create the opportunity to do something special. As it stands, Swindon are standing in our way to achieve that. We need the same commitment and belief to fulfil our dreams and become champions.

“I have made no secret of my understanding of what this means to the town, not just the club but for everyone in Ipswich. The whole team understand that now and you could see that from the reaction after just making the final. Everyone is well aware of what it would mean to the town to bring a title back after so long. The atmosphere two years ago when we made the Championship final was amazing and I am quite sure we will replicate that on Tuesday. It is time to rise to the occasion.”

THE ROBINS…

Although they finished second in the table, Swindon certainly came into the play-offs as the team in form. Halfway through the season they had plenty of work to do just to make the top four, but they went on a remarkable run that saw them threaten to finish top of the pile, narrowly missing out to Poole in the end. In the play-off semi-final the Robins hammered Wolverhampton over two legs. Much of the work was done at Monmore Green as rain took away home advantage for the Wolves and the Robins made them pay taking a 10-point win. The Wiltshire club finished off the job with a big win at the Abbey to seal their spot in the final against the Witches.

The Robins have enjoyed some success against Ipswich in 2019, beating them heavily home and away in August. However, the Witches have beaten them at Foxhall, most recently in September and have run them close at the Abbey losing by just two points back in July.  Swindon are led by former world champion and current Grand Prix star Jason Doyle and he has powerful back-up from Troy Batchelor. The pair have both scored heavily on their visits to Foxhall this year and it is clear to see why the Robins are in the final with such a powerful side.