Ipswich Witches: Ritchie Hawkins hopes his side can celebrate legendary season after taking an 18-point lead in the Premiership Grand Final first leg against Sheffield Tigers
Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches team boss, Ritchie Hawkins, says his team have the chance to make this a ‘legendary season’ after rattling up an 18-point lead in the first leg of the Premiership Grand Final, at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The Suffolk side head to Sheffield tomorrow evening looking to defend their 54-36 first leg lead against the Tigers which, if they should do so, would see the Witches complete a league and cup double, having already won the KO Cup two weeks ago.
The Witches were led by maximum men, Emil Sayfutdinov and Jason Doyle, on a night of high drama at Foxhall with the Suffolk side finishing strong with three maximum 5-1 heat advantages in the final four races.
“I’m happy with the result, it was a tough battle,” boss Hawkins said.
“We managed to come through it and get a decent lead, so I’m delighted with all seven of them on a tricky track due to the weather we had on Monday night. I’m delighted with the boys, and it is a good lead, but we know Sheffield are going to come strong on Thursday.”
The Witches had to rearrange the clash with the Tigers because of poor weather on Monday – and in doing so went up against Ipswich Town’s home Championship clash with Hull City at Portman Road.
However, another huge crowd turned out to support the Witches, as Hawkins acknowledged.
“We had concerns about having to move it to a Tuesday and clashing with Ipswich Town who are doing great this season but wow, the fans came out in force again,” Hawkins said.
“I spoke to everyone on the mic to reiterate again, thank you for all the support, they have made the world of difference to get us in the position we are in. We have come from the brink, and we now have a great opportunity to make this a legendary season.”
The Witches have won the ‘double’ on three previous occasions – 1976, 1984 and 1998. They hadn’t won any major team silverware since that ’98 season, but they already have the KO Cup in the Foxhall trophy cabinet this season.
Scorers from Monday night:
IPSWICH 54: Emil Sayfutdinov 13+2, Erik Riss 5, Danny King 10, Keynan Rew 5+1, Jason Doyle 15, Danyon Hume 5+1, Joe Thompson (G) (RS) 1+1.
SHEFFIELD 36: Robert Lambert 9, Kyle Howarth 3+2, Chris Holder 2+1, Josh Pickering 8, Richard Lawson 6, Connor Mountain 3, Jason Edwards (RS) 5.