Ipswich Witches Column: Team ‘out for revenge’ in tough clash against Wolverhampton Wolves at Foxhall
Ipswich Witches will be out for revenge at Foxhall Stadium tomorrow night as Wolverhampton Wolves come to town (7.30pm), in a Premiership clash.
Last time Wolves visited Foxhall, they left with all the points after an impressive victory that damaged Witches’ hopes of a play-off place.
Since then, Ritchie Hawkins’ side have bounced back well at Foxhall with a few impressive wins and some outstanding action.
Wolves are led by Aussie stars Sam Masters, Rory Schlein and Ryan Douglas, and always ride Foxhall well, while Ipswich-born Scott Nicholls is drafted in to guest for the injured Luke Becker.
The Witches see a change in riding order, with Emil Sayfutdinov going to No.1 for the first time this season, while Danyon Hume drops back down to reserve after a good June saw him pick up some solid points.
Ipswich boss Hawkins knows it will be a tough clash.
“Wolverhampton will come to us with great confidence after their result at our place earlier on in the year,” he said.
“In that meeting we got ourselves in great positions and kept throwing it away right at the start of the meeting and gave them the opportunity to pounce late on. That is something we need to cut out this time and make sure we make every point count and don’t make so many silly errors this time.
“We are only halfway through the season and things can change very quickly after a few surprise results here and there. For us, we need to concentrate on winning speedway meetings, starting on Thursday.
“Winning our home meetings is important but we need to win away from home as well. We will take it one meeting at a time at the moment and make sure we get two points on the board on Thursday, that is the main and first objective.”
IPSWICH: 1. Emil Sayfutdinov 9.80 2. Erik Riss 5.93 3. Danny King 6.73 4. Keynan Rew 4.00 5. Jason Doyle 9.66 6. Danyon Hume 3.92 7. Dan Thompson.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1. Sam Masters 8.24 2. Steve Worrall 6.51 3. Scott Nicholls 7.00 4. Ryan Douglas 6.45 5. Rory Schlein 6.79 6. Zach Cook 4.38 7. Leon Flint.
Erik Riss has admitted he has been left feeling grateful the Witches have stood by him during what has been a worrying time for the 27-year-old German.
Riss was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension, a build-up of pressure around the brain, after just a few weeks of the new season. It was a worrying time for him, and he has had to endure three lumbar punctures and much medication to alleviate the problem.
Now, and with the Witches standing by him throughout his lay-off, he says he’s feeling good and wants to repay the Club’s faith in him.
“I’m feeling back to normal now, probably two weeks ago I was like, ‘okay, I’m feeling normal again,’” he said.
“It’s been a long process. It wasn’t a quick improvement, but I’m pleased to say the symptoms have gone and the improvement has happened.”
Throughout his time away from the track, Riss was in constant dialogue with the Ipswich Witches management.
“I really appreciate Ipswich waited it out for me to get better,” he said.
“For them it was sort of the same thing as me, they didn’t really know when I was going to get better. I couldn’t give them a clear answer. The fact Ipswich waited is nice for me and makes me feel they really want me in the team.”
So, feeling better and raring to go, Riss says his season starts now and helping Ipswich into the play-offs is a No.1 target.
“There is still plenty left of the season,” he said.
“I still feel I’m at the start of the season though. Before I was out, I’d only done three meetings. I am still catching up on engine set-ups. But, yes, the goal is the play-offs for me and the team. And we can do that.”
Danyon Hume is hoping tomorrow night’s clash with Wolves can springboard the Witches into the play-off places.
Hume has been riding at No.2 for the Witches throughout June but is back at reserve for July. He is confident Ipswich can enjoy a good second half of the season, but he knows they need to make things count.
“We need wins to get into the play-offs of course we do, especially away ones and even big wins for aggregate bonus points, he said. “We need to show people we mean business.
“But we know we can do it, on paper we are a good side and if we were to get into the play-offs, which I believe we can, there are plenty of teams who won’t look forward to facing us.”
So, back at reserve, Hume has a crucial part to play in a month that sees the Witches involved in six Sports Insure Premiership fixtures.
“When I went to No.2, it really didn’t faze me. I don’t mind where I ride,” he said.
“Having had a taster being there though means that is where I want to get back to again. And I didn’t feel I struggled in the main body of the team either. I had some decent meetings and some good race wins.
“I stood on my own two feet and proved I could do it. I just want to keep pushing and pushing to where I want to be.”
Did you know Ipswich Witches are one of the most successful speedway clubs in the United Kingdom?
The Witches have won the British Speedway League title on four occasions (1975, 76, 84 and 98).
The only other clubs to have won more Division One league titles are, Belle Vue Aces (13), Poole Pirates and Wembley Lions (10), Coventry Bees (8), Wimbledon Dons (7), Oxford Cheetahs, Swindon Robins and Wolverhampton Wolves – all five each.
When it comes to the First Division KO Cup, again the Witches are up among the big winners.
Again, Belle Vue Aces lead the way with 14 KO Cup wins, followed by Wimbledon Dons (11), Cradley Heath Heathens (8), then come the Witches (1976, 78, 81, 84 and 98), alongside Bradford Dukes, Wembley Lions and Poole Pirates, all with five each.
Can the Witches add to any of those titles this year?
Admission for fans on race night at Foxhall: Adults (17+) £22, concessions (65+) £20, children (16 and under) free, car parking is also free.
THURS., JULY 6 WOLVERHAMPTON (HOME) 7.30pm Prem
Mon., July 10 Sheffield (away) 7.30pm Prem. Live on Eurosport
THURS., JULY 13 BELLE VUE (HOME) 7.30pm Prem
(Top 4 into play-offs)
Team P Pts
Belle Vue 16 29
Wolves 12 20
Leicester 11 20
Sheffield 11 15
Ipswich 12 13
King’s Lynn 12 7
Peterborough 12 2