Ipswich Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins says his team have 'done all our practice' and need to go into their first Premiership clash of 2022 tonight with confidence, as they take on Belle Vue Aces, at Foxhall (7.30pm).

The Suffolk side had a dreadful League Cup campaign, losing all four of their meetings.

They have not been helped by illness and an unsettled starting septet. But they are back to full strength tonight, with new signing Ben Barker on board. Barker replacing Cameron Heeps.

“It’s our first Premiership meeting and the league season starts now," Hawkins said.

"We have done all our practice now and we need to go into it with confidence that we can start our campaign off with a win. We have made a change to the side, and we look forward to welcoming Ben Barker back, someone we all know well at Ipswich, and we know what a good job he can do.

“We welcome back Paul Starke and Anders Rowe as well. We really missed them last week, so we are delighted to have them back in the side, that strengthens us up."

The Witches come up against an Aces side who thrashed champions Peterborough 64-26 on Bank Holiday Monday in what was their opening Premiership clash of the season. The Aces have also strengthened up, bringing in the experienced Matej Zagar to bolster their team.

“Belle Vue now look like they have got a strong top end but when you look at us, we have got a very strong top end and I think that will make for a cracking meeting," Hawkins added.

The Witches will be desperate to get their first win of 2022 on the board in what is again a quick sprint of just 20 meetings towards the top-four and the play-offs later in the season.


IPSWICH: 1. Jason Doyle 8.96 2. Erik Riss 5.08 3. Danny King 7.76 © 4. Ben Barker 4.84 5. Troy Batchelor 5.67 6. Paul Starke 4.47 7. Anders Rowe (RS). Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

BELLE VUE: 1. Max Fricke 8.81 2. Jye Etheridge 5.22 3. Matej Zagar 7.48 4. Charles Wright 5.92 5. Brady Kurtz 7.27 © 6. Norick Blödorn 4.00 7. Tom Brennan (RS). Team Manager: Mark Lemon