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Witches plan for top flight return

Whitemoor’s first season in division one couldn’t have gone much worse, six home defeats and no away wins leaving them bottom of the final standings, which sees them begin SL20 as a second tier side for a sixth time. Signs from pre-season are that the year ahead will be a much better one for Trevor Walker’s side, they are two wins from two against top flight opposition in the warm ups, the Witches beating Cambridge 43-47 on the road before racking up a 19 point victory over champions New Forest at the Sheepcroft this week. A month of warm weather training in the Canary Islands seems to have done Phil Cooper a world of good, the 22 year old looks the pick of the reserves in the league to date, he averaging 8.00 in the Witches number seven race jackets so far in the preliminaries. Walker’s loan signing of Iain Liddle from Chalvington looks a shrewd one, the former world number ten dropped nearly two points from his average after poor season for the Chiefs in SL19, Whitemoor now benefit as he comes in on a mark of just 7.89, which in turn means more room for the likes of Cooper and Robin Pohonen. The latter starts the campaign in the Witches second string berth following a £40,000 switch from Smethwick, the three times Finnish Champion was once a nine pointer with Pori in the European League, however having joined the Meerkats he has struggled for consistency, not helped by the fact he’s ridden in just 27 meetings over the past two seasons, 13 of those on loan at March. A paid eight against New Forest this week suggests he could be a key member of Walker’s side as they bid for an immediate return to the top flight, especially at the Sheepcroft, where he’s fast becoming a fans favourite.


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