By Henry Chard
WHEN AND WHERE…
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to Wiltshire face the Swindon Robins at the Abbey Stadium on Monday 26th August in a Premiership clash that starts at 7.30pm.
SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 9.14 © 2. Adam Ellis 6.64 3. Rasmus Jensen 7.92 4. Tobiasz Musielak 6.36 5. Troy Batchelor 7.72 6. Ellis Perks 3.17 7. Claus Vissing 4.43. Team Manager: Alun Rossiter
IPSWICH: 1.Chris Harris 6.83 2. Richard Lawson 6.75 3. Danny King 6.42 © 4. Jake Allen 5.80 5. R/R for Cameron Heeps 6.26 6. Krystian Pieszczek 5.36 7. Edward Kennett 5.71. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: P. Carrington
VENUE: Abbey Stadium
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches start a big week of racing on Monday as they travel to the Abbey Stadium to take on the Swindon Robins. Ipswich took on a depleted Peterborough side last Thursday and returned to winning ways with a 54-36 victory at Foxhall. Swindon stormed to a 53-37 victory at Foxhall the week before that win, but the Witches know they are capable of picking up points in Wiltshire having lost by the narrowest of margins back in July as they were beaten 46-44 in a last-heat decider.
Ipswich are without Cameron Heeps on Monday after the Australian was involved in a crash on Friday at Edinburgh. Heeps has suffered internal bruising and chest injuries and rider replacement will be used at five. They will be hoping their two reserves can have a repeat performance of their last visit to the Abbey. Now at reserve, Krystian Pieszczek scored 12 whilst riding at number five and Edward Kennett racked up 10 points. There is a change to the riding order too with Ritchie Hawkins moving Danny King to number three. With just four fixtures left to race, the play-offs draw ever closer and the Witches know that any points collected on their travels would go a long way to confirming their spot in the top four.
FROM THE MANAGER…
‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Monday’s clash…
“We need some more points to confirm our place in the play-offs. Swindon is a place we have gone well at twice this year, but they have hit form at the right time and are going really well at the minute. We need to go there and perform like we did earlier in the season with a lot of determination, spirit and belief more than anything. We will go there looking for points.
“We have had a bit of a tough time, but we must go there with the attitude we have had for the vast majority of the season. We have gone everywhere and performed on every away track on occasions this season. We know we have gone well there, they are a very good team and we know we need to be on top of our game to win and fight for it.
“Swindon have hit form and Poole look really good with points in the bag. Most teams are in the fight apart from Peterborough. We need to focus on ourselves and make sure we keep picking up points and make sure we don’t slip up at home. Our away form has been very good and so if we can get some more away points that will help the cause.
Swindon look to have found their form at just the right time in recent weeks and have put themselves in a strong position to make the play-offs. At the start of August, the race for fourth was wide open but a strong month has seen the Robins put themselves in a position not only to claim fourth but to make the top two. Their away form had been letting them down in 2019 but they have picked up six points on their travels in the last month, more than they had accumulated in the whole season prior to that. They remain unbeaten at home and will be confident of things staying that way to seal their spot in the play-offs.
In Jason Doyle and Troy Batchelor, they arguably have the strongest top two in the division. Doyle recorded a paid maximum at Foxhall as did Batchelor and the two riders have been piling up the points in recent meetings. The Aussie duo will be hard to beat on home shale and the hosts know that they will need to be at their best against a side that has run them close already this season.
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.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Last Thursday, King’s Lynn thrashed Belle Vue 55-35 at the Adrian Flux Arena to keep their play-off hopes alive whilst Swindon beat Poole 53-37 in convincing fashion to go third in the Premiership table. Ipswich beat a depleted Peterborough side 54-36 at Foxhall to go level on points with leaders Poole.