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Ipswich Witches boss happy after opening night win over Lions

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins holds a team meeting ahead of the Ipswich v Leicester match. Picture: Steve Waller       www.stephenwaller.com

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins holds a team meeting ahead of the Ipswich v Leicester match. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins says his side learnt a lot in their 48-42 win over Leicester in a challenge fixture at Foxhall on Thursday, writes Henry Chard.

Lions guest Rory Schlein is helped away by medics after his fall in heat five of the Ipswich v Leicester meeting. Picture: Steve Waller       www.stephenwaller.comLions guest Rory Schlein is helped away by medics after his fall in heat five of the Ipswich v Leicester meeting. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

The Witches held the lead throughout the meeting, but it was never too comfortable as their Championship opponents kept things relatively tight over the course of the evening.

Hawkins says it was a night for experimenting new things with the season starting for real next Thursday.

“We learnt a lot and I told the boys before the meeting that now is the time to try new things and learn a few bits,” said Hawkins. “If they want to test something and it does not go right, if they come last, it does not matter. It was a meeting to try different things and experiment and that is how we approached it.”

The boss was pleased to see every rider contribute to the win and was encouraged by the performances of Jake Allen and David Bellego.

Chris Harris inside Scott Nicholls in the opening heat. Picture: Steve Waller       www.stephenwaller.comChris Harris inside Scott Nicholls in the opening heat. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

“I think everyone had a race win or a paid win, so that is a big plus. I think the new boys, especially Jake got better every ride and improved massively over the course of the meeting. David had a couple of wins and then in the last two rides I got him to try something different and I put him in heat 15 to try something else just to experiment on the starts.”

The former skipper confirmed that Cameron Heeps came through the meeting unscathed after injuring his wrist last week and believes the Australian is getting back to his best.

“Cam rode really well and looked backed to his old self. I could see signs of how he was going when Cam rides really well. A bit sharper on the starts and he would have scored a lot more points, but I thought he looked quick.”

Hawkins is now looking forward to the East Anglian derby at Foxhall next Thursday against King’s Lynn in the Supporters Cup and says it is a must-win clash.

“The team are very excited to be at Ipswich and have seen how professional we are at the club and the new riders have been impressed by that. To ride in their first competitive meeting and have a big crowd there supporting us will be a big boost. We must beat King’s Lynn next week.”

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