Mike says: Witches fail to walk the walk at Wolves

The Witches enter the fray at Monmore Green, but it proved a frustrating night for the Suffolk side.

The Witches enter the fray at Monmore Green, but it proved a frustrating night for the Suffolk side. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Witches crashed to a 52-38 Premiership defeat at Wolverhampton last night in a meeting they could at least have done with gaining a point from to keep up their play-off hopes. MIKE BACON takes a look.

Paul Starke leading heat four before suffering bike problems for the second time.

Paul Starke leading heat four before suffering bike problems for the second time. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

GRABBING THE NETTLE

Wolves are a good team. Make no bones about that. Indeed they went top of the Premiership after this victory over the Witches.

But Ipswich had hung on in there during the first part of the meeting and after a 5-1 victory in heat eight through Paul Starke and Drew Kemp they were only two points behind at 25-23. That's when they needed to grab the nettle.

But they failed. Indeed they failed miserably. By the time the Witches had a chance to think of a bonus point, they were suddenly 12 points behind. It's not the first time this season the team haven't seized their opportunities. It's proved costly.

Craig Cook at the back in the dust in heat six

Craig Cook at the back in the dust in heat six - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

HEAT LEADERS RULE

Ipswich's heat leaders won just one race between them and that was Danny King in heat 15, compared to the Wolves heat leaders who won 10. That's no good.

If you are going to win away, your team's top riders need to perform.

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Sadly, Jason Crump again struggled on his return and he again will have been bitterly disappointed with his performance, as would have been Craig Cook. It says much when a reserve goes in the heat 15 top scorers' race, as Paul Starke did for Ipswich.

Ritchie Hawkins, reflected on the defeat at Wolverhampton.

Ritchie Hawkins, reflected on the defeat at Wolverhampton. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com

RITCHIE SAYS....

Ipswich boss Ritchie Hawkins had this to say after the meeting.

“We looked good at the halfway stage and were doing really well. The reserves were banging points and it is tough one because the top end were completely in the mix, they weren’t out of it, they looked like they could win races, but it wasn’t happening for them.

"However, if no one is winning races in your top end and you don’t win one until heat 15 then you are in for a tough night. It is disappointing but you wouldn’t criticise anyone and it was an entertaining meeting.

“I’m looking forward to having our 1-7 on track again and hopefully Anders will be back for our next home meeting. It was a tough night for Crumpy and he was certainly in the mix and making starts and wasn’t far off. I’m pleased for him to get that one out of the way and he’ll be better for it come our next home meeting.”

Paul Starke (left) and Drew Kemp. The Ipswich reserves both enjoyed a decent meeting at Wolves.

Paul Starke (left) and Drew Kemp. The Ipswich reserves both enjoyed a decent meeting at Wolves. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com

RESERVES POSITIVE

As Ritchie Hawkins said, the Witches reserves, Drew Kemp and Paul Starke were in good form throughout, outscoring the Wolves reserves by 19 points to six.

But it wasn't just the scoring they were doing, they both looked competitive in every ride they took part in. A positive note on a night when there were few to take.

Witches riders discuss the track and the meeting ahead at Wolverhampton.

Witches riders discuss the track and the meeting ahead at Wolverhampton. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

UP NEXT

The Witches are at home to King's Lynn in their next meeting on Thursday, July 29. There is no fixture at Foxhall this week.

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