By Henry Chard
WHEN AND WHERE…
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Swindon Robins at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 15th August in a Premiership clash that starts at 7.30pm.
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IPSWICH: 1.Chris Harris 6.83 2. Cameron Heeps 6.26 3. Danny King 6.42 © 4. Jake Allen 5.80 5. Richard Lawson 6.75 6. Krystian Pieszczek 5.36 7. Nico Covatti (g) 5.71. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 9.14 © 2. Adam Ellis 6.64 3. Rasmus Jensen 4.51 4. Tobiasz Musielak 6.36 5. Troy Batchelor 7.72 6. Ellis Perks 3.17 7. Kevin Doolan (g) 4.43. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter
REFEREE: C. Gay
VENUE: Foxhall Stadium
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.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches return to Foxhall for a home fixture against the play-off chasing Swindon Robins on Thursday. Ipswich suffered the frustration of a rain-off last Thursday at Poole and the team will be eager to get back on track following their defeat to King’s Lynn last time out. Thursday’s meeting is also a re-arranged fixture after the original staging was also called-off in June, but the Robins have been at Foxhall once in the Supporters Cup this season with Ipswich running out 48-42 winners in a tight contest.
Ipswich will be pleased to have Cameron Heeps in the side following his crash during the King’s Lynn meeting. The Australian suffered tendon and ligament damage to the knee and ankle and was due to miss last week’s meeting in Dorset. However, he has now been declared fit enough to ride and returns to the side. However, they will be without Edward Kennett at reserve after he was handed a 10 day ban for his part in an incident whilst riding for Championship side Eastbourne against Glasgow earlier this month. There is a popular face deputising though as former Witch Nico Covatti guests at number seven and he is sure to get a warm Foxhall reception after several impressive seasons for Ipswich in recent years. The Witches have struggled to find their top form at Foxhall in recent times and will hope that Thursday could start a run of consistent and improved performances over the summer as they look to build up momentum and confirm their place in the play-offs.
FROM THE MANAGER…
‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Thursday’s clash…
“Swindon on paper are a very strong side and we will have to perform well to get the win. They will really want away points to strengthen their bid for the play-offs and I am sure they will come to Ipswich confident of a result. We will need to be on top of our game to get the win.
“Both teams will look for a strong start as it sets you up for the rest of the night. It would be nice to have a strong start at home as we haven’t had one for a few weeks. We have shown all season that we battle in every race for all 15 heats and Swindon will be strong, so we need to start well and push throughout the meeting if we want the three points.
“Cam’s knee has come on really well and he has taken it upon himself to get his physio sorted. He has had a lot of sessions with Brian Simpson and Cam does not want to miss any meetings. I wouldn’t expect anything to hinder him on Thursday and he is someone who is very good at Foxhall and having a good season. He has been a massive part of our season and we need him performing because his performances have made a massive difference.
“I haven’t had too much involvement with what has been going on with Eddie this weekend. He was amazing in the win over Belle Vue and we want to have our full team out, but we are able to bring Nico in and he was the obvious replacement. Everyone loves Nico at Ipswich and he was terrific for a number of years at Foxhall and knows the place very well, so he will fit in straight away.”
Swindon are well placed to make the play-offs at this stage of the season but know that their away form has to improve if they are to secure a place in the end of season shootout. The Robins have been excellent at the Abbey Stadium and are unbeaten but away from home it is a different story. They have lost all seven meetings on their travels, picking up just three consolation points in the process. The battle for the top four is likely to go the wire and Alun Rossiter will know that they need a result on their travels to help their bid, with Thursday being a big opportunity for them.
Jason Doyle is the league’s only full-time Grand Prix rider and is second in the league’s averages. The former world champion is a threat anywhere he goes, and he scored 13+1 on his previous visit to Suffolk in April. He is backed up by Troy Batchelor who is enjoying a good season and the two Australians are two of the leading heat leaders in the division. Like Kennett, Robins reserve Claus Vissing was also handed a 10 day ban for his part in the incident at Eastbourne and Swindon will use Kevin Doolan in his place.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Last Thursday, Swindon won a last-heat decider to beat Wolverhampton 46-44 at the Abbey whilst Ipswich’s clash away at Poole was postponed due to a waterlogged track.
Belle Vue beat Swindon 48-42 at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday whilst Wolves thrashed Peterborough 56-34 at Monmore Green.
Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway