Heat leaders praised as Ipswich Witches defeat Redcar to strengthen grip on second
PUBLISHED: 01:45 03 September 2017 | UPDATED: 01:47 03 September 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches' team manager Ritchie Hawkins praised heat leaders Danny King and Rory Schlein after they led the team to a 51-39 win over Redcar on Saturday night at Foxhall.
It was a tight meeting with the Witches holding just a four-point lead going into the final three heats.
King and Schlein played a crucial role in the win with 5-1s in heat 13 and 15, with the captain completing a 14+1 paid maximum.
“The scoreline at the end does not show just how tight it was,” said Hawkins.
“They got in front quite early on but we were strong and Rory and Danny sealed the meeting in heat 13 really. It was a good performance from the boys, we stuck in there and got those 4-2s and ground out the result.
“Danny and Rory looked a class above all night. Rory had one bad ride but they never looked like getting beat.
“It fills you with a lot of confidence knowing you have got two top riders, two of the best in the league and I wouldn’t change them for anyone in the league. It fills me with confidence knowing you can put them out in the pressure heats.”
The boss said there were no nerves despite going behind early on as he believed his side would get stronger as the meeting went on.
“I wasn’t nervous at any point, I knew we were going to be stronger as the meeting continued,” Hawkins added.
“Kyle (Newman) has had a really busy period and he didn’t have his best night but we covered really well. Mark Riss had a tough first ride but looked quite good so I was confident he was going to go on and score plenty of points afterwards, and he did.
“Nathan (Greaves) and Connor (Mountain) chipped in with some vital third places to get those 4-2s too.”
With Glasgow losing at home to Sheffield on Saturday, the Witches strengthened their grip on second spot.
Hawkins explained: “We won’t finish top as Sheffield have that wrapped up.
“However, to finish second with all the injury troubles we have had, I think we have done remarkably well.
“Hopefully we can get our fitness levels up for the play-offs.”
The former skipper said that the battle for fourth spot did not enter his thoughts prior or during the meeting.
“I would expect Sheffield to pick either Redcar or Edinburgh and it is looking like we will finish second or third so it probably does not affect us anyway who finishes fourth.”