It’s a mixed weekend for Mildenhall Fen Tigers as they win at home well but lose in Kent with Josh Bates unfit to race

Dan Halsey. Photograph: Jeff Higgott

Dan Halsey. Photograph: Jeff Higgott - Credit: Archant

Mildenhall Fen Tigers suffered defeat at Kent after a morale-boosting victory over Devon at the weekend

After an hour delay due to difficulties with the track preparation, a rampant Fen Tigers side put the Devon Demons to the sword with a powerful display resulting in a 60-33 victory.

The Demons already missing Matt Bates did suffer misfortune losing guest Dan Greenwood with a wrist injury following a nasty fall in his opening ride, and there were a number of falls as riders came to terms with the surface. The Demons however didn’t manage a heat advantage all afternoon apart from a chaotic 4-3 in Heat Seven when Ben Reade on a TR ride found his partner Dan Stoneman wasn’t on the same wavelength holding Reade at bay for all four laps! A second TR in Heat 10 was also negated when Captain Dan Halsey on his way to an immaculate 15 point maximum cruised to victory ahead of nominated rider Tim Webster. The highlight of the meeting though was the form of new Fen Tiger Brendan Johnson who scored a five ride paid maximum in only his second home meeting! Sharpe from the gate all afternoon Johnson was rarely troubled by visiting riders.

Club Chairman Kevin Jolly was pleased with the performance though quick to apologise for the delay –

“I must offer my sincere apologises for the delay and the condition of the track it was down to me, I took good advice before starting the track prep but clearly overwatered which meant a lot of work to get things sorted and allow the meeting to get under way. Once it did I felt we put in a fine performance, as I have said before I believe 100% in this team, they will just keep getting better.


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Brendan’s performance today was exactly the reason why we signed him, we know he is a good gater and his performance today was a big boost to him and the club. His ability in the middle order could well make a big difference to our chances of winning trophies and today he was excellent.”

Scores –

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Mildenhall 60 - J Sarjeant 8 + 1 (4), J Kingston 5 (4), J Bates 9 (4), B Johnson 12+3 (5), D Halsey 15 (5), C Mountain 5+1 (4) and C Coles 6 + 2 (4)

Devon 33 – T Webster 8 (5), M Bates R/R, B Reade 5+1 (5), D Stoneman 4+1 (5), D Greenwood 0 (1), J Shanes 13+1 (7) and R Andrews 3+1 (7)

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Already weakened by the loss of Joe Jacobs, the Fen Tigers management suffered further bad news prior to today’s meeting when British U21 Champion Josh Bates was declared unfit. After numerous telephone calls Kevin Jolly was grateful to Marc Owen for stepping into the breach and guesting for the Fen Tigers at Central Park. Their opponents too were missing riders with Rider Replacement being utilised for the injured Benji Compton whilst Danny Ayres was given an opportunity in the place of Brandon Freemantle.

From the start it was clear that the track held some mysteries to both sets of riders although Jack Kingston posted a fast time when he bolted from the gate in Heat One to inflict defeat on the home side number one Simon Lambert. Captain Dan Halsey suffered two falls when leading and Jack Kingston ground to a halt as he was about to join partner Connor Coles for a 5-1, but the battling Fen Tigers still found themselves two ahead 24-22 after eight heats. The falls and delays between races meant the match was dragging somewhat and the track was deteriorating. A nasty spill by Connor Mountain after he had passed Dave Mason denied the Fen Tigers again of a potential 5-1and although the Fen Tigers still lead by two there was a strong feeling amongst the travelling support that the gods were conspiring against them.

This was compounded when Jack Kingston clipped the back wheel of Ben Morley leaving bend two in heat eleven and went through the fence in a horrible looking crash. After some time thankfully Kingston was able to be assisted back to the pits battered and bruised but with nothing seemingly broken. Losing Kingston from the meeting seemed to take the wind from the Fen Tigers sails, and a further fall from Mountain on an increasingly difficult track saw the Fen Tigers slip four points behind and although they held both heats thirteen and fourteen a third fall for Halsey after he hit a spot on the exit of the second bend saw him lift and crash heavily. Although none the worse he was excluded from the re run where a 5-1 saw the Fen Tigers cruelly denied even one point, the very least their efforts warranted!

Chairman Kevin Jolly was pleased to see his charges all come out of the meeting unscathed

“It was a difficult afternoon for us without both Joe and Josh, but I have nothing but praise for the lads who gave everything on a difficult track that became more so as the meeting progressed. When I look back we really should have taken all four points, as we were in good positions in so many heats before the track or some inexperience stopped us in our tracks.

Jack in particular had a nasty looking crash and we were all relieved to see him up on his feet and assisted back to his pits, he was having a fine return to Kent and losing him was a body blow. We need to take the positives though from today and strange as it may seem there were plenty, the lads stuck together and kept fighting, no one threw in the towel and when we all click together which I am sure will be very soon, some team will need to watch out”.

Scorers –

Kent Kings 48 – 1. Lambert 7(4), 2. Chessell 1+1(3), 3. Mason 14+1 (6), 4. R/R, 5. Morley 15 (5), 6. Harris 6+1(6), 7. Ayres 4(6), 8. Strudwick 1+1 (1)

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 40 – 1. Owen (G) 7+1(5), 2. Kingston 6(4), 3. R/R, 4. Johnson 10(6), 5. Halsey 5(5), 6. Mountain 2(4), 7. Coles 10+2(6)

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