Ipswich Witches column: Home side keep play-off hopes alive with win over Peterborough Panthers at Foxhall Stadium
Ipswich Witches kept their play-off hopes alive with a convincing win over Peterborough Panthers at Foxhall Stadium last week.
The home side ran out 54-36 victors over the basement Panthers and, although the Witches play-off hopes are reliant on results elsewhere going their way, it was a good performance against a team who also stand in their way of a KO Cup final place next month.
Emil Sayfutdinov and Jason Doyle raced to maximum scores, while Danny King netted a paid 13. But it was down at reserve where the Witches shone, with youngster Dan Thompson impressing with a paid eight points; a score that pleased team boss Ritchie Hawkins.
“I’m obviously happy to win, and to win convincingly,” he said after the Panthers victory.
“There were lots of positives to take from the meeting. We certainly can’t get carried away with beating Peterborough because they’re struggling – but we can only beat who’s in front of us, and tonight we did a good, solid professional job.
“There aren’t many meetings we go into where we look stronger on paper at reserve, but we did tonight, and we certainly took advantage of that.
“I think there’s been real improvement in Dan over the last few weeks, he had a brilliant performance in the Under-21s where he was so close to winning it and becoming the British Champion, and you can really see his confidence is growing and he’s enjoying being here.
“He’s done very well again tonight and the improvement meeting on meeting is very pleasing.”
The win leaves the Witches in fifth place in the Premiership table, five points behind Sheffield, who have ridden three meetings less than the Witches. The top four qualify for the play-offs.
The Witches have a busy August ahead, while another appearance on Eurosport beckons on the final day of July.
There is no action at Foxhall until Thursday, August 10, when King’s Lynn arrive in Suffolk for the big derby clash.
However, between now and then the Witches are on the road three times, before ending August with three more Premiership meetings and a KO Cup clash.
On Monday, the Witches travel to Leicester in a must-win Premiership clash, which is being shown live on Eurosport, before travelling to Lynn for another Premiership meeting on Thursday, August 3, followed by yet another Premiership clash at Peterborough on Monday, August 7.
August finishes with three more Premiership meetings for the Witches and a KO Cup clash at Peterborough, the semi-final second leg, where Ipswich hold a 24-point lead – a busy summer indeed.
So, while the play-offs are still a distant hope, a cup final appearance most certainly isn’t.
It’s World Cup week now and Team GB will be looking to bring glory to the nation with victory in Poland.
The sport’s original team competition returns after a six-year absence as nine nations battle it out for the iconic Ove Fundin Trophy at Wroclaw’s Olympic Stadium.
The Lions took on Sweden, Czech Republic and Germany last night in semi-final one, with semi-final two featuring FIM Speedway of Nations world champions Australia, Denmark, Finland and France taking place tonight.
The winners of each semi join hosts and reigning champions, Poland, in the final on Saturday, while second and third-placed nations compete in the always epic Race Off on Friday.
The Witches are represented by Jason Doyle, who is skipper of the Australia side. Along with Poland, the Aussies are favourites for the title, but Team GB will be hoping for a strong performance, led by GP stars Dan Bewley, Robert Lambert and Tai Woffinden.
If you haven’t been to speedway at Ipswich before, why not try a night out on the Heath this summer? Admission for under-16s is free, as is car parking.
There are two big meetings on August 10 and 24, as well as a likely KO Cup final in September.
There is always a chance to meet the riders before and after meetings, getting autographs and photographs. It’s also a very family-friendly sport and Foxhall Stadium has good food and drink (even ice cream if it’s warm enough), to make it a fun night out.
Admission for fans on race night at Foxhall: Adults (17+) £22, concessions (65+) £20, children (16 and under) free, car parking is also free.
Mon., July 31 Leicester (away) 7.30pm Prem
Thurs., Aug 3 King’s Lynn (away) 7.30pm Prem
Mon., Aug 7 Peterborough (away) 7.30pm Prem
THURS., AUG 10 KING’S LYNN (HOME) 7.30pm PREM
(Top 4 into play-offs)
Team P Pts
Belle Vue 20 35
Leicester 14 27
Wolves 15 24
Sheffield 14 22
Ipswich 17 17
King’s Lynn 15 7
Peterborough 15 3