Witches duo call for the side to dig deep and pull off a stunning result at Somerset to progress to the Grand Final

Gino Manzares

Gino Manzares - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Morten Risager and Gino Manzares have called on their Ipswich Witches team-mates to dig deep and pull out all the stops in their bid to reach the play-off Grand Final.

The Witches travel to Somerset on Friday in their final play-off group meeting – and it’s a simple equation.

Somerset need to win by seven points or more to reach the final, while Ipswich can afford to lose – but by only six points or less. The winners meet Edinburgh in the Grand Final.

“We know what we have to do, nothing is impossible,” Manzares said.

“It’s going to be like a war. We all need to be ready for it. Not one rider can be off-form, we need the mind set but we can do it. It needs all of us to be ready to do it.”

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The Witches had an opportunity to win at Scunthorpe last Friday and qualify for the final against an injury-hit Scorpions side, but went down by eight points.

It was a disappointing result, but Risager doesn’t think the Witches can look much into that.

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“Scunthorpe is a tough track to go to, just like Somerset,” he said.

“It was what I would say was the first autumn meeting of the season. It was dark and cold and I think with the pressure of the play-offs, it affected one or two of our younger riders.

“We can’t afford that to happen at Somerset. It’s a good place to go, with good facilities and we must give it our all. I believe we can do it. We only lost there by eight in the KO Cup. But what’s the point of going if we don’t think we can win?”

The Witches still have a knock-out cup final to look forward to, against Edinburgh or Newcastle, but the play-off Grand Final is the big one.

The Rebels are the current Premier League champions and know what is required. They were runners-up to Scunthorpe in 2012.

“This is probably our biggest match of the season to date,” said Somerset promoter Debbie Hancock, “it being the proverbial winner takes all meeting with a place in the Grand Final at stake.”

Somerset: O Allen, R/R, C Wright, P Aspgren, N Morris, T Kurtz, P Starke.

Ipswich: R Tungate, C Heeps, M Risager, G Manzares, R Worrall, R Hawkins, A Ellis.

Witches at Somerset this season: League Cup – lost 27-67 KO Cup – lost 41-49 Premier League – lost 31-59

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