Big talking points: Ipswich Witches boss tinkers with his line-up


Jake Allen leads the way at Belle Vue the last time the Witches rode there, when they lost by 20. Allen moves to No.5 tonight. - Credit: Taylor Lanning

Ipswich Witches head to Belle Vue, Manchester, tonight looking for points to boost their Premiership play-off hopes. MIKE BACON takes a look.


Drew Kemp leads the way at Belle Vue. He was in good form the last time the Witches rode in Manchester. - Credit: Taylor Lanning


There is little doubt the Witches will be gunning for any point they can get hold of tonight. Belle Vue are a strong unit, although haven't always had it all their own way on their fast National Stadium track.

Peterborough took them to a dramatic last heat decider and Wolves won comfortably on the Aces home patch recently. However, Ipswich didn't fare well on their previous visit this season, losing by 20 points, with only Jake Allen (11) and Drew Kemp (9) showing any type of form.

Craig Cook wins heat four

Craig Cook wins heat four at Foxhall on Thursday. Cook returns to one of his former tracks tonight - Credit: Steve Waller


If the Witches can grab, even a losing point tonight, and then follow it up with a big win over Sheffield, their nearest rivals for that final play-off place, on Thursday night at Foxhall, they will be right back in the play-off hunt.

Tonight sees all the six Premiership clubs in action, with Sheffield racing at King's Lynn. Oh, how the Witches would love their Norfolk rivals to do them a favour.

Jason Crump and Team manager Ritchie Hawkins.

Jason Crump and Witches manager Ritchie Hawkins. Crump is still not fully fit as yet. - Credit: Steve Waller

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Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins has tinkered with the line-up tonight. Here are his thoughts on the clash.

“We head to Belle Vue with R/R at one and I have had a tinker with the line-up, moving three around and we will see if that will make a little bit of difference. We are performing well away from home and I don’t think there is a lot wrong with our form on the road to be fair.

“Every club is riding so there is not the option for a guest at one even if we wanted one. At times R/R can be a better option than a guest and vice versa, you never know. Jason needs a bit more time to recover from his crash at Plymouth. After next week we have got a week off and we will know more then."


Anders Rowe, one of a number of talented Brits on show at Belle Vue - Credit: Taylor Lanning


There is a real battle of young British talent on show tonight. For the Aces, Dan Bewley is a super young rider and now at No.1 for the Manchester side, while at reserve Belle Vue have the new British U-21 champion, Tom Brennan.

The Witches on the other hand have two of the sport's best up-and-comers in Anders Rowe and Drew Kemp. The young guns could have a big say in the outcome of this meeting.

Danny King and Paul Starke.

Danny King and Paul Starke, will be hoping for a Witches win tonight - Credit: Steve Waller


BELLE VUE: 1. Dan Bewley 7.66 2. Richie Worrall 5.32 3. Steve Worrall 5.58 © 4. Charles Wright 6.21 5. Brady Kurtz 7.46 6. Tom Brennan (RS) 7. TBC. Team Manager: Mark Lemon

IPSWICH: 1. R/R for Jason Crump 8.00 2. Anders Rowe 5.38 3. Craig Cook 7.56 4. Danny King 7.10 © 5. Jake Allen 5.15 6. Drew Kemp (RS) 7. Paul Starke 4.82. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Ackroyd