Fen Tigers left broken-hearted after last-heat defeat
- Credit: Archant
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 44 Isle of Wight 46 KOC Semi Final 2nd leg Replay (Aggregate 88-92)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers long campaign finally came to an end last night as they crashed out of the KO Cup in a pulsating end to their epic semi-final tie with the Isle of Wight Islanders.
The Fen Tigers already again suffering the loss of Aaron Baseby due to work commitments went behind in Heat One when Stefan Nielsen loped down the back straight. A tapes offence by Liam Rumsey saw a potential heat advantage lost in heat two and the Fen Tigers were four points behind overall after two races. With ex Fen Tigers Joe Jacobs and Ben Hopwood in fine form it was nip and tuck all the way, and another shared heat when Rumsey fell and was excluded saw the sides level on the night at 24 apiece after eight heats but the Islanders still holding their valuable two point advantage from the first leg.
An exchange of 5-1’s in Heats Nine and Ten saw the scores remain level, before a brilliant ride by Captain Dan Halsey saw him defeat Jacobs and with young reserve Connor Mountain winning a battle with star Islanders reserve Chris Widman the Fen Tigers were in front for the first time in the evening and the aggregate scores were level! After a shared Heat Twelve came the race of the night when Jacobs held off a charging Halsey and Nielsen in Heat thirteen and the aggregate scores remained level. Things looked bad for the Fen Tigers in Heat Fourteen when the Islanders gated on a 5-1 but guest Lee Payne was excluded after getting into trouble on the second bend and putting both wheels over the white line, this let Mountain and Rumsey through but there was further drama when Rumsey again fell and had to remount and coast home for the valuable point.
It all came down to Heat Fifteen after 59 races had failed to separate the two sides, and with the thought of a one off heat to decide the tie a real possibility! Unfortunately for the Fen Tigers it was not to be as Jacobs and Hopwood gated and as hard as Nielsen and Halsey tried they couldn’t find a way past and the Isle of Wight claimed their place in the Final against the Dudley Heathens.
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Club Chairman Kevin Jolly was in a philosophical mood after the meeting -
“Of course I am disappointed to lose out in what has been an incredible cup tie but full credit to the Isle of Wight and we wish them well in the Final. I feel particularly sorry for Dan (Halsey) and Stefan (Nielsen) tonight they have along with Josh and Jon carried the team on a number of occasions this season and have been brilliant for us, they were both upset after Heat 15 but they should both hold their heads high.
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It has at times been a difficult season but I feel our supporters have seen some excellent speedway meetings this year at Mildenhall. I would like to thank them for supporting the team so passionately, our excellent track staff and all the people behind the scenes for helping make Mildenhall speedway the success it is and assure everyone we will be working hard through the winter to build an exciting side that our supporters will enjoy watching and that will bring more success to the club in 2014”
Mildenhall 44 - Stefan Nielsen 11+1 (6 rides), R/R, Ben Morley 11 (5), Danno Verge 0 (3), Dan Halsey 13+1 (6), Connor Mountain 6 (5) and Liam Rumsey 3+2 (5)
Isle of Wight 46 - Joe Jacobs 14 (5 rides), R/R, Tom Perry 6 (4), Lee Payne 4+3 (5), Ben Hopwood 9+1 (5), Adam Portwood 2+1 (4) and Chris Widman 11+1 (7)