Hawkins heaps praise on debutant Greaves but feels Witches are only at 70% – with plenty of improvement left in them

Kyle Newman inside Scorpions pair Stefan Nielsen (yellow helmet) and Josh Auty during an exciting h

Kyle Newman inside Scorpions pair Stefan Nielsen (yellow helmet) and Josh Auty during an exciting heat nine at Foxhall on Thursday. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says his side still have tougher tests to come this season after a dominant 59-32 win over Scunthorpe Scorpions on Thursday at Foxhall.

The away side were depleted by injuries on the night, losing the services of Ryan Douglas and Stefan Nielsen, but says his side did a professional job and still have improvement left in them.

“It was a shame really as I thought we were in for a good meeting,” said Hawkins.

“Obviously Carl Wilkinson could not ride which made it tougher for them and then Ryan went out in heat three. It was always going to be tough for them after that but we just had to do a professional job.

“We’ve had a great start to the season at home and we have had a lot of big wins but we cannot rest on that.

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“There are a lot tougher tests to come this season and I think we are probably only racing at 70%. I think we have a lot of improvement in us.”

The boss was delighted with debutant Nathan Greaves and says that Justin Sedgmen withdrawing from his last ride was just precautionary.

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“Nathan was brilliant, he improved every race and he deserved heat 15 and that was the best he rode all night. He was excellent.

“Justin had a big crash in Italy at the weekend and took another bang tonight and there was no point in going out in his last ride but before that he was excellent.”

Hawkins feels Newman is getting better with every meeting and also sent his best wishes to the injured Scunthorpe riders.

“Kyle you can see is a bit race rusty and he was involved in the race of the night which unfortunately he came last in but it was good for him to be back racing and he is getting better every race.

“I hope both Ryan and Stefan and are back on track soon, it looks like a broken collarbone for Stef, which is nasty. Everyone at the club wishes them both a speedy recovery.”

The Witches will certainly face stiffer competition next week as they race Sheffield Tigers home and away – the home meeting being on Wednesday at Foxhall.

If they can produce a result at the fast Owlerton bowl next Thursday then, if the Championship world hasn’t already sat up and taken notice of the team Chris Louis and Ritchie Hawkins have put together, they will then.

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