By Henry Chard
WHEN AND WHERE…
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to the West Midlands to face the Wolverhampton Wolves at Monmore Green on Monday 29th April in a Premiership fixture that starts at 7.30pm.
WOLVES: 1. Sam Masters 8.11 2. Kyle Howarth 4.84 3. Scott Nicholls 6.47 4. R/R for Nick Morris 6.60 5. Rory Schlein 7.92 © 6. Ashley Morris 3.57 7. Luke Becker 4.00. Team Manager: Peter Adams
IPSWICH: 1.Chris Harris 7.59 2. Richard Lawson 6.55 3. Danny King 6.36 © 4. David Bellego 6.11 5. Krystian Pieszczek 6.50 6. Cameron Heeps 4.72 7. Jake Allen 4.56. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: A. Steele
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The Witches are back in league action on Monday night as they take on Wolverhampton at Monmore Green. Ipswich were in Supporters Cup action last week against Swindon, losing at the Abbey before beating the Robins 48-42 at Foxhall last Thursday. The Suffolk side have one win from one in the league though having beaten the Belle Vue Aces at Foxhall in their Premiership opener.
Cameron Heeps returns to a track he knows well having started last season with Wolves and he will be out to prove a point after he was dropped by the club midway through the last season. The tight Monmore Green track will be a test for the Witches, but all seven riders have experience there including Krystian Pieszczek who scored nine points on his first visit there with Leicester last season. The Polish rider moves to the number five spot for this clash as team manager Ritchie Hawkins moves the riding order around. Richard Lawson moves to number two, Danny King goes to number three and David Bellego goes to number four. Ipswich number one Chris Harris won British titles at the track in 2007 and 2010 and with the reserve Jake Allen in phenomenal form after scoring 16 points last time out, the Witches will be hoping to bring back some points to Suffolk.
FROM THE MANAGER…
‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Monday’s clash…
“I think Wolves are a very strong team on paper, so it will be a tough one. If we can go there and click then we will be looking to win the meeting, why not?
“I have changed the riding order and changed the combinations a little bit. The 15-heat format in the league suits us better than the 13-heat cup format, so with the change around hopefully the boys will click. There is nothing wrong with changing things and seeing how they work.
“Wolves is a technical track, but we have people who go well at Wolves. Chris, Richard and Danny go well at Wolves and Krystian went there last year and did very well. With our reserves going so well, we go there in a positive frame of mind.”
Wolverhampton as always are tipped to compete for the Premiership title in 2019, having surprisingly missed out on the play-offs last season. They missed out on the title in 2017 by a point as they were beaten by Swindon in the Grand Final as they attempted to retain their title they won in 2016. Wolves started their league campaign with a narrow 46-44 win over Swindon which will give the Witches hope of a positive result on Monday.
Former Witch Rory Schlein captains the home team and he is joined by fellow Australian Sam Masters. Masters has been with Wolves for four seasons as he has grown into the number one spot. Ipswich legend Scott Nicholls rides at three, having come in for Jacob Thorssell who suffered an injury before the season began. The hosts will run rider replacement for Nick Morris at four who is out injured.
ON THE ROAD…
Wolves ride in black and orange kevlars and race at Monmore Green. The track measures at 264 metres with the track record belonging to Niels-Kristian Iversen who set a time of 52.69 in August of 2016. An adult ticket costs £18, concessions £14, juniors (aged 13-18 inc) £7, children (aged 6-12 inc) £1 and children under the age of 5 go free. For travel information head here.
For more information about the club head to Wolverhampton’s official website.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
King’s Lynn drew 45-45 away at Peterborough in the Premiership.
Belle Vue secured their place in the Premiership Supporters Cup final with a 54-36 win over Wolves last Monday afternoon at the National Speedway Stadium. The pair met again later that day at Monmore Green with Wolves running out 52-38 winners.
Swindon beat Ipswich 51-39 in their Supporters Cup group last Monday before the pair met again on Thursday at Foxhall with the Witches running out 48-42 winners.
Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway