‘It holds no fears for us’... Hawkins fires Witches up ahead of huge Poole clash tonight
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Poole Pirates v Ipswich Witches, Premiership play-off semi-final, first leg
Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says going to Poole tonight holds 'no fears' for his Ipswich Witches side.
The Witches are at Poole in the first leg of the Premiership semi-final play-offs and while they have only beaten the Pirates once in six clashes so far this season, home and away, Hawkins remains upbeat.
The second leg is at Foxhall Heath on Saturday night.
"OK, we haven't won at their place, but we have gone well there three times this season and everyone has had a good meeting there," he said.
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"It holds no fears for us, but it is a big task ahead of us, we are fully aware of that.
"We are the underdogs. But I have no doubt that we are capable of doing it if we get it right and that is what we will be trying to do."
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The Witches ended the regular season at Poole last Monday week, losing 39-51 in the process.
The meeting was closer than the score suggests, with the Witches right in it until the closing few heats.
"We thought there was a good chance we were going to go to Poole in the semi-finals, and we needed to make the practice we had last week pay.
"It does help having a meeting so recently at Poole.
"But we are taking on the reigning champions who have dominated for years so it is a big ask."
Poole and the play-offs go hand in hand and it was no surprise to anyone that they confirmed top spot in the Premiership with a win away at King's Lynn.
It gave them choice of opponents in the play-off semi-final and they opted to face the Witches.
The Witches have run the Pirates close on their own patch this season, picking up consolation points on two occasions in the league and cup after narrow defeats.
While Hawkins and his side will be racing to win tonight, keeping the score-line tight will provide a good base to finish off the job at Foxhall on Saturday.
"It's an exciting time and these are the meetings you ride all year to be involved in.
"We have been working towards giving ourselves this opportunity. Now it is down to everyone to make the most of it.
"I don't set targets, We will look to win tonight and we will look to win on Saturday at Foxhall. You cannot go into a meeting looking to try and lose by less than 10 or whatever."
Tonight's meeting is live on BT Sport