Ipswich Witches column: All eyes on Foxhall Heath as Panthers come to town
Ipswich Witches are in Premiership action against Peterborough Panthers on Thursday night at Foxhall Heath (7.30pm start), hoping for a strong finish to their regular season.
The Witches have eight Premiership clashes left, five of them against the bottom two, Peterborough and King’s Lynn Stars, as well as a KO Cup semi-final second leg clash with the Panthers.
And while a top-four play-off place hangs by a thread, the Witches do at least have a chance to pick up points and see where it takes them ahead of the play-offs in September.
Peterborough drew with Wolves in the midlands on Monday night – a result that showed their potential as a team despite their lowly position. However, Witches boss, Ritchie Hawkins wants his side to show the same effort they did at Belle Vue on Monday night.
“Peterborough put in a great showing at Wolves and I’m sure that took Wolverhampton and a lot of people by surprise,” he said.
“We can’t afford to be lax because Peterborough are a team that have punished us in the past even when they have been struggling everywhere else. We are going to need to be on our toes and give them the respect they deserve so that we do not get upset again at home.
“After recent results, the play-off positions are looking a long way off so we need to treat one meeting at a time. We need the same effort that we saw at Belle Vue from
the boys and there are still a lot of meetings to go and a lot to race for with the
Knockout Cup as well.”
IPSWICH: 1. Emil Sayfutdinov 9.80 2. Keynan Rew 4.00 3. Danny King 6.73 4. Erik
Riss 5.93 5. Jason Doyle 9.66 6. Danyon Hume 3.92 7. Dan Thompson (RS).
PETERBOROUGH: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen 7.07 2. Richie Worrall 6.15 3.
Benjamin Basso 5.98 4. Ben Cook 5.13 5. Vadim Tarasenko 5.00 6. TBC 4.62 7.
Jordan Jenkins (RS).
The Witches’ hopes of that play-off top four place were dealt a big blow after Belle Vue Aces
doubled Ipswich in the last week.
The Aces won a narrow 46-44 clash at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday and on Monday night raced to
an eight-point 49-41 victory in Manchester.
Belle Vue are the current champions, but Ipswich owner Chris Louis felt his team put in a decent
performance at the home of the Aces on Monday.
“I felt for the lads a bit because they hung in until heat 12 and then it got away from
us a little bit,” he said.
“We looked like we were bringing it back in heat 13 with Jason (Doyle) and Emil
(Sayfutdinov) but the decision went against Jason when he clashed with Dan
Bewley. To be fair it was the decision I expected from the ref, that isn’t me saying it
was the right decision.
“It was a better performance. I thought the lads tried very hard and it is a shame they
didn’t get more for their efforts.
“With the position we are in, it wasn’t enough, that is the bottom line. We won’t throw
the towel in whilst it is mathematically possible. In theory we have a few easier
meetings, and we will see what we can do and all we can do is try to win.”
Ipswich Tru Mix Witches’ young Aussie ace, Keynan Rew, has said he would welcome a return to
Foxhall next season, while admitting he still has plenty of unfinished business this year.
Rew has been picked in the Australian squad for the forthcoming World Cup, as well as currently sits
equal second in the SGP2 series with one round to go. It’s been a steep learning curve for the
amiable Aussie in 2023 as he debuts in England.
“It’s been a very up and down season for Ipswich and me,” Rew said. “I’ll be honest, I’ve found it
quite hard at times and quite nice at times.
“It’s just difficult adapting to all the new things, the tracks are different every week, nothing really
seems the same every week. The conditions last week against Belle Vue at Ipswich were, for me, not
something I’ve ever raced in before. But it was another new challenge and I’ll take it on.
“It’s quite frustrating as I know I can beat nearly everyone in England on a good day, it’s just I
struggle at times, losing races I shouldn’t be losing which is something I have got to fix and be a little
bit more consistent.”
Rew has indeed beaten some of the best riders in the Premiership and he is in no doubt he wants to
come back for more in 2024 – and with Ipswich.
“I would love to be back in English speedway next year, keep improving week on week and keep
adapting to the things and be a bit more consistent,” he said.
“Ipswich has been great for me this year, great all year. I’ve had hardly any pressure put on me being
my first year. The Club have helped me out as much as they can. Everyone has treated me well. I
wouldn’t have any problem coming back to Ipswich.”
WITCHES ace, Jason Doyle, suffered a torrid night in Malilla, Sweden, on Saturday night in the latest
Grand Prix round.
Doyle, who has enjoyed a fine start to the series so far and reached four finals, had a night to forget,
scoring just one point from his five rides, and finishing last.
It means Doyle dropped down the standings. He is now in equal fourth place on 69 points alongside
Martin Vaculik and Dan Bewley – the young Englishman winning the round in Sweden with a fine
ride in the final.
The next Grand Prix is in Latvia on August 12.
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 20 PETERBOROUGH (HOME) 7.30pm Prem
Mon., July 31 Leicester (away) 7.30pm Prem
Thurs., Aug 3 King’s Lynn (away) 7.30pm Prem
(Top 4 into play-offs)
Team P Pts
Belle Vue 19 35
Leicester 13 25
Wolves 15 24
Sheffield 13 20
Ipswich 16 15
King’s Lynn 14 7
Peterborough 14 3