Ipswich Witches face big test at Wolves tonight, here are the key talking points

Team manager Ritchie Hawkins gives a pre-match team talk.

Ipswich team manager Ritchie Hawkins gives a pre-match team talk. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Witches face their toughest Premiership meeting of the season so far - away at Wolverhampton tonight. MIKE BACON takes a look at the talking points.

FIERY WOLVES

Wolverhampton began their 2021 season with a crushing 58-32 victory at King's Lynn on Thursday night.

And while the Stars were bad, the Wolves laid down a marker of intent in no uncertain terms. While the Witches are still unbeaten with two wins and a draw, there is little doubt this will be the acid test for Ritchie Hawkins' team so far.

However, many of the Witches go well at the tricky Monmore Green circuit, and you write the Witches off at your peril.

Anders Rowe discussing the track conditions with Witches skipper Danny King.

Anders Rowe discussing the track conditions with Witches skipper Danny King. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

RESERVES KEY

Both the Witches and the Wolves have outstanding reserves. Anders Rowe and Drew Kemp were in cracking form in the Witches win over Sheffield last week, while young American Broc Nicol proved a big hit for the Wolves at Lynn.

Most Read

Certainly, heat two, the reserves race, will be fascinating and the performances of the reserves could be key.

Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

'We are more than capable', Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

HAWKINS SAYS

Ipswich team boss Ritchie Hawkins views the meeting like this: “Wolves have not ridden at home this year yet so hopefully that will help us a little bit.

"They are fancied by many and I think the league is very even. I think we are more than capable of going to Wolves and performing.

"Our riders are more than capable of scoring points around Wolves, it will be tough, like every night this season and they’ll be on a high from their result on Thursday but we will prove a tougher test than they have had."

Jason Crump waves to fans after his victory in heat 10.

Jason Crump waves to fans after his victory in heat 10. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

AUSSIE ROOLS

There will be no fewer than eight Aussies in the pits tonight at Monmore Green.

Both Wolves and Ipswich have four Australians in their side, but it's Ipswich who have the most decorated, in Jason Crump.

Crump is a three-time world champion and a rider all the other Aussies on show look up to. If the weather is good, maybe a barbie or two will take place after the meeting!

Witches promoter Chris Louis talks with Rory Schlein. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.c

Former Witch Rory Schlein, right, with Witches owner Chris Louis - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

KEY WOLVES

Looking for key riders in the Wolves team is like looking for trees in a wood.

They are not one of the title favourites for nothing and in Sam Masters, Nick Morris, Ryan Douglas and former Witch Rory Schlein, they have match-winners throughout.

Make no bones about it, if the Witches want to grab a point or win tonight, they will have to be at their very best.

Chris Harris, leading the Witches against the Panthers. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwalle

Chris Harris, guided the Witches to a draw last time at Wolves - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

THE LAST TIME

It was back in July 2019 the Witches last went to Wolverhampton, where they came away with a very creditable 45-45 draw.

Chris Harris inspired the Witches to a valuable two points, with three wins in four heats as he and Richard Lawson secured a last heat 4-2.

The 2021 Ipswich Witches, together for the first time ahead of the meeting against Sheffield.

The 2021 Ipswich Witches, together for the first time ahead of the meeting against Sheffield. Back row, left to right: Jason Crump, Cameron Heeps, Jordan Stewart and Anders Rowe. Front kneeling left, Jake Allen, right, Drew Kemp. On bike Danny King. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

TEAMS

WOLVES: 1. Sam Masters 7.35 2. Luke Becker 5.27 3. Nick Morris 5.38 4. Ryan Douglas 4.66 5. Rory Schlein 6.65 © 6. Broc Nicol 4.00 7. Tom Bacon (RS). Team Manager: Peter Adams

IPSWICH: 1. Jason Crump 8.00 2. Jordan Stewart 4.00 3. Cameron Heeps 6.30 4. Jake Allen 5.56 5. Danny King 6.66 © 6. Anders Rowe 3.00 7. Drew Kemp (RS). Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Durno


PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Ipswich 3 meetings, 7 points.

Belle Vue 2 and 5

Wolverhampton 1 and 4

Sheffield 2 and 1

Peterborough 0 and 0

King's Lynn 2 and 0


DID YOU KNOW?

Natives of Wolverhampton are called 'Wulfrunians'.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter