Witches face tough opener against Bees

IPSWICH Witches kick off their Sky Sports Elite League season with as tough an opener as they could have wished for.Coventry Bees, one of the title favourites in 2009, are at Foxhall tonight, boasting top three riders who all go well at Foxhall.

Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Witches kick off their Sky Sports Elite League season with as tough an opener as they could have wished for.

Coventry Bees, one of the title favourites in 2009, are at Foxhall tonight, boasting top three riders who all go well at Foxhall.

Chris Harris, Edward Kennett and Rory Schlein are all comfortable round the Suffolk circuit, as Witches rider/manager Chris Louis acknowledges.


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“This is the toughest possible start we could face in the Elite League,” Louis said.

“The team that Colin Pratt and Peter Oaks have assembled this year has a very solid look about it and with several Foxhall experts including Rory Schlein who served us so well last season it's going to be tough.”

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For the Witches, tonight's clash will only be their third meeting of the season. And bearing in mind the first one on opening night against Lakeside was curtailed early, the Witches haven't enjoyed too much track action so far in 2009.

It could be a problem for the home side, who have already had to deal with the loss of skipper Leigh Lanham and reserve Kozza Smith.

Tonight former Bee Morten Risager will be making his Witches debut having replaced Lanham, who is set to be out for a month.

Witches team boss Pete Simmons is pleased to have a full side available, the team not using rider replacement.

“I'm very pleased to be heading into this busy month with seven riders and I am sure Morten will be keen to show his old club exactly why we have brought him in to the team,” said Simmons.

“It is going to be vital that we make a confident start to this meeting and get points on the board because with so many competent riders this is not a team you want to be playing catch up with, I will be asking my lads to ride hard from the off.”

Schlein could be a big danger to Ipswich, having ridden for the Witches at the back end of last season.

“Obviously I did a few laps around there last year, and it should be a good track for us,” Schlein said.

“Myself and Chris Harris both like it, and I'm sure Edward Kennett gets around there well too.

“We'll need to start a bit better than we did at home to Peterborough last Friday and if we can do that I think we'll be okay.

“We need to hit the ground running in the League and get some results early on, and scare a few of the clubs who think they're going to coast through. To win at Ipswich would be good, but I think our win at Peterborough last week will scare a lot of people.”

Coventry include young American Ricky Wells in their line-up. He flew into Britain this week.

Tonight's teams

Ipswich: Jarek Hampel, Morten Risager, Tobi Kroner, Danny King, Piotr Swiderski, Dawid Stachyra, Carl Wilkinson.

Coventry: Chris Harris, Ben Barker, Oliver Allen, Edward Kennett, Rory Schlein, Jordan Frampton, Ricky Wells.

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