Ipswich Witches boss Hawkins not worried by poor start to season

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins admits it has been a tough start to the season for his side but is not worried after a 54-35 defeat at Lakeside in the Championship Shield on Friday, writes Henry Chard.

The Witches started brightly on the night and kept within striking distance of the Hammers but the possibility of any away points faded from heat 10 onwards as the hosts continued to stretch their lead and win comfortably.

It was the first time that Michael Härtel, Cameron Heeps and Danyon Hume had raced at the Arena Essex Raceway and Hawkins says it was an eye opener for the three of them.

“I think you could tell there was a big difference from the boys that have never rode here and it was a really tough night for them,” said Hawkins. “Nico (Covatti) hasn’t been here very often and he improved every race as did Danyon and how Connor (Mountain) rode was a massive positive tonight.”

The boss said that the three will all have learnt from their first experience of the tight circuit ahead of the return to Essex in the Knockout Cup.

- MORE: Witches crash to defeat at Lakeside

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“It was really tough on Michael as he got excluded and only got two rides and I don’t think he did too badly considering he has never rode a track like this before.

“They have learnt a lot to go into the Knockout Cup match here and that is really important to us.”

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The former skipper was delighted with Mountain’s performance as he scored 10 from reserve and says that qualification from the group is still possible.

“The track suited Connor, he made good starts and he was superb and it was brilliant to see. He deserved all he got.

“Mathematically it is still possible to qualify and I don’t know the exact points at this moment but we will need a massive home win on Saturday and a four-point win at Peterborough and that is what we have got to look at doing but the main thing is to improve a lot.”

Hawkins added: “It has been a tough start for us, we have not had regular meetings and the boys are getting rained off and a lot of people are in the same boat. We just need to settle in and improve. It’s two bad meetings not two bad months.”

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