Will Witches' move be justified?

PUBLISHED: 12:15 05 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 04 March 2010

FOUR meetings in five days, three of them away from home, and Ipswich Witches fans will surely know by Friday night whether the decision to replace Jarek Hampel and Piotr Swiderski has been justified.

FOUR meetings in five days, three of them away from home, and Ipswich Witches fans will surely know by Friday night whether the decision to replace Jarek Hampel and Piotr Swiderski has been justified.

Because that is sure to be the situation as Scott Nicholls and Troy Batchelor come into the Witches fold at Peterborough tonight, before the Witches travel to Poole on Wednesday, entertain Wolves on Thursday and then race at Coventry on Friday.

It's a tough schedule, but just like London buses it seems Elite League speedway meetings only come along in batches of three or four, with plenty of breaks inbetween.

Nicholls, who top-scored for Coventry in their victory ironically against Peterborough on Friday night, having top-scored for his Swedish team Vargarna on Tuesday, will be keen to keep his decent form going.

Witches team manager Pete Simmons is pleased to have him on board: "It is disappointing to see Jarek leaving as he is such a professional and consistent points scorer.

"That said, the chance to work with such an exciting rider as Scott is something that I am really looking forward to. He has not performed to his best this season but I am very confident that a move closer to home is what he needs to put things right."

Simmons, who has pulled his hair out at times this season with some of the Witches' efforts, is also looking forward to having Batchelor on board.

"Troy is a rider I have watched closely since his very first laps here in the UK and he is determined to finish the season in style," Simmons said.

"One thing is for sure, Thursday nights have a very different look about them and our fans can rest assured that there will be no lack of entertainment at Foxhall during the run up to the play-offs, and we intend to push for them all the way."

Witches promoter John Louis added: "I have to say that I am very happy to see the inclusion of these two exciting riders in the team. I would like to thank both Coventry and Swindon for the professionalism and co-operation shown during the loan negotiations."

All the nice words however will count for nothing if the Witches don't start doing the business home and especially away. They are still the only Elite League club yet to pick up an away point which is a disgraceful situation, with it never being easier to pick up points on the road.

Tonight at Peterborough it won't be easy either, with the home club coming in for criticism from promoter Mick Bratley and owner Rick Frost.

Bratley said: “Watching our riders gate just lately is a painful experience. A lot of them are gating like novices and this is making it far too hard for us to dispose of the opposition. Ipswich, following their recent changes, will be no easy pickings, I expect we will see another close contest - unless of course our guys decide that they can gate, for once."

Owner Frost added: "I agree with Mick's comments and would add the lack of consistency and commitment from certain riders is not acceptable. Decisions will be made after tonight's meeting to decide if immediate changes will be made to the team. In short I am not happy at the moment and that usually spells trouble."

It all makes for an intriguing clash and one Ipswich will want to pick up something from.

Teams

Peterborough: N Iversen, A Dryml, M Korneliussen, K Hansen, K Bjerre, C Vissing, H Bager.

Ipswich: S Nicholls, T Kroner, R Miskowiak, D King, T Batchelor, D Stachyra, C Wilkinson.

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