‘I’m like a kid at Christmas’ – admits Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King. But why?
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King admits the new fixture list – for him personally – is ‘brilliant’ this season, writes Henry Chard.
Some fans have been left surprised by the lack of meetings penned in at Foxhall – and other Championship clubs – in 2018, with teams only meeting once home and once away in the Championship race to the play-offs.
Last season all teams met twice.
Coupled that with just two guaranteed League Cup meetings, one KOC clash, the 16-lapper and the British U19 final – that’s only 15 home meetings assured throughout the six-month summer period at Foxhall Stadium.
Hopefully, from the Witches’ fans point of view, the team enjoy success and qualify for further rounds of the League Cup and KO Cup, as well as the end-of season play-offs to keep the season ticking along nicely.
However, for King, who is also riding for Leicester in the Premiership and is doubling up with the Witches, the reduction in fixtures is a blessing.
“The new fixture list is brilliant, it sounds really silly but it means I get to do all the meetings and it is better spaced out this year, due to less meetings in the Premiership,” King said.
“My schedule looks nice at the minute and we are not doing any 12 in 12 days, it’s steady and consistent which is nice and there are no clashes with the Lions and Witches.
“I am lucky because I can double up, so my schedule is about three meetings a week which is perfect. If you are only doing one league it is not enough meetings and it will be tough. I organise it as I go along and I have the same mechanics throughout so we look at it a couple of weeks ahead at a time and plan it like that.
“It is usually pretty simple as I live quite central and I don’t have to stay over too often unless we have another meeting the next day up that way but there are no northern tours this year so it is case of looking a couple of weeks ahead and planning.”
King is set to be a pivotal figure in the Witches line-up again this season – a campaign that starts for the Suffolk club on Good Friday, March 30, with home and away clashes with Lakeside.
Meanwhile, the Witches have been left frustrated by the weather in a bid for pre-season practice.
The team were due to head to France last week for a full team session but have had to cancel those plans due to the freezing conditions.
Manager Ritchie Hawkins said: “We were supposed to be in France last week and the boys were all looking forward to seeing each other but the weather has scuppered our trip.
“It would have been good for them to get together and had two days of track time to get that bike going again ready for the new season.
“Having a sustained period of time together with new boy Michael (Haertel) would have been good too instead of just dipping in and out of meetings or a press day where you are really busy.
“We would have had plenty of time going for dinner and whatever and we could have all got to know each other, but I am sure he will fit in well. We are a good bunch of boys and everyone will welcome him and give him a lot of help.”
But back to King – and he admits the season can’t come round quick enough.
He’s well prepared, as always, and admits he feels like a ‘kid at Christmas’ as he puts together his new bikes for 2018.
“It has been a busy winter but a good one,” he said.
“The bikes are complete now and we can’t wait to get going. Training has been going OK.
“I couldn’t start as early as I would have liked due to my broken wrist. I generally just go to the gym and do running, cycling and general fitness stuff as cardio is the most important.
“I am back to full fitness now though after Christmas and the bikes are built and everything is coming together. You need upper body strength but that comes naturally with the riding, I don’t do too many weights as I don’t want to put on too much muscle but you have to be strong at the same time.
“I have been doing it long enough now to know what I need to do.
“Everything arrives for the bike in kit form and we will have an empty bench and we will get a set of forks, a diamond, a back end, a set of wheels and pile it all together so we have got a chassis.
“The engine plates will get drilled and put in and you just build from there.
“Put the clutches in, the silencers, the exhaust, carburettor, controls, clutch, and throttle. Get it all wired up and then hopefully it starts!
!I love that part of the year, I am like a kid at Christmas. I get all the bits ordered and lay them all out on the bench, it’s like coming down on Christmas morning and looking at your new toys, I love doing the bikes.”