Mildenahll Fen Tigers narrowly miss out in two-legged KO Cup clash with Eastbourne Eagles
PUBLISHED: 16:48 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:48 25 April 2016
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Mildenhall Fen Tigers just lost out to the Eastbourne Eagles in a superb KO Cup tie between two well-matched teams, that went down to the wire over this weekend’s two meetings.
Eastbourne 50: Adam Ellis 15 (5 rides), Luke Harris 4 (4), Ellis Perks 9 (4), George Wood 6 (4), Jake Knight 12+1 (5), Nick Phillips 2 (1), Charley Powell 2 (7)
Mildenhall 38: Danny Halsey 5 (5), Alfie Bowtell 6+1 (4), Connor Mountain 10+1 (5), Connor Coles 5+1 (4), Jon Armstrong 6 (4), Sam Bebee 3 (3), Robert Parker 3+2 (5)
Saturday evening’s first leg at Arlington saw a spirited performance from the Fen Tigers at a track that is renown as being a difficult place for visitors, in a 50-38 defeat.
Saturday though was just the precursor for a high quality second leg on an excellently prepared track at Mildenhall stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Halsey set the tone for an afternoon that would ebb and flow as he flew from the gate to inflict a rare defeat on Eastbourne No 1 Adam Ellis in heat one, recording the fastest time at West Row this season in the process.
With the crowd still rocking heat two sent the decibels up a few levels as 15-year-old Sam Bebee, making his home debut, linked up with reserve partner Rob Parker for a storming 5-1 and the deficit was cut in half within two races.
Mildenhall 48: Danny Halsey 12+1 (5 rides), Alfie Bowtell 5 (4), Connor Mountain 11 (5), Connor Coles 4+1 (4), Jon Armstrong 9 (4), Sam Bebee 5+1 (5), Rob Parker 2+1 (3)
Eastbourne 42: Adam Ellis 14 (5 rides), Luke Harris 2 (4), Ryan Blacklock (G) 7+1 (4), George Wood 7+2 (4), Jake Knight 8 (5), Niall Strudwick 1 (3), Charley Powell 3+1 (5)
With shared heats and an exchange of 4-2’s the Fen Tigers remained six points behind overall going into heat eight.
Team manager Robert Henry made a bold call in heat eight, bringing Bebee in for Parker, in a heat the Fen Tigers needed an advantage from.
The confident youngster showed incredible composure for one so inexperienced to follow partner Alfie Bowtell home and reduce Eastbourne’s lead to just two points.
The crowd were now sensing a memorable day and when Connor Mountain chased Jake Knight in heat nine before executing a high class pass on the flying Eagle, the scores were level overall!
A shared heat ten when Bowtell fell chasing hard after visiting captain George Wood left the tie poised at 74-74 with five heats to go.
Although the Fen Tigers battled hard the Eagles’ No 1 Ellis won heats 11 and 13 to leave them two ahead with two to race.
A 4-2 reversal in heat 14 when Wood beat Connor Coles left the Fen Tigers with the unenviable task of needing a 5-1 in heat 15 to draw the tie.
When Ellis stormed from the gate again the game was up and the battling Fen Tigers finally had to accept defeat in a meeting that was a credit to the National League and will live long in the memory of supporters.
Fen Tigers promoter Kevin Jolly said: “Although we fell just short at the end of the day, I have nothing but praise for our lads.
“Young Sam (Bebee) is like a breath of fresh air and his smile is so infectious. He did himself, the club and his family proud this weekend.”
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