The ‘Tru7.com’ Witches take on the reigning champions the Edinburgh Monarchs on Thursday (7.30pm) at Foxhall as they look to kick-start their Premier League campaign.
It’s been an underwhelming start to the new campaign for the Witches as they crashed out of both the League Cup and Knockout Cup at the first hurdle and are yet to get a point on the board in the Premier League.
With the Premier League in its early stages though the Witches will be eyeing a play-off spot at the end of the season and with the league now the sole focus a win on Thursday will be the first step towards that goal.
The disappointing start to the campaign has forced the management into a team change with Ollie Greenwood replacing Darryl Ritchings at number seven. There will also be a change in riding order with Lewis Kerr moving to number two, James Sarjeant to number four and Morten Risager to three.
The Scottish outfit have been the team to beat in the Premier League in recent history winning the past two Premier League play-offs as well as the Knockout Cup in 2014 and the League Cup in 2014 and 2015.
The Monarchs have been forced into some changes over the winter due to averages and talisman Craig Cook wanting to focus his attentions on a future Grand Prix spot. The champions are led by Sam Masters who appeared in last year’s Australian Grand Prix as a wildcard. Edinburgh have ridden just two Premier League meetings with one win at home and a defeat away from home. The Witches were resounding winners at Foxhall when the sides last met in 2015 beating the Monarchs 52-38 in the League Cup semi-final.
Team Manager Ritchie Hawkins is hoping a fresh face in the pits will give the team the lift they need and is hoping Greenwood grabs his opportunity.
Hawkins says the team are under pressure to perform but ruled out wholesale changes in the near future, keeping the faith with his top five.
Thursday will see the first meeting with the new riding order in place and although the boss thinks he got it right at the start of the season he believes a change could do the team some good.
Despite a few changes to their title winning side Hawkins still believes the Monarchs have a strong side led by good friend Sam Masters.