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.
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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
PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FIXTURES
Poole 50-40 Ipswich (1st Leg), Ipswich 54-36 Poole (2nd Leg)
Wolverhampton 39-49 Swindon (1st Leg), Swindon 58-32 Wolverhampton (2nd Leg)
Ipswich v Swindon
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.”
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.