Mildenhall Fen Tigers 48 Dudley Heathens 42
- Credit: Archant
There are never dull meetings when these two sides meet, and yesterday certainly was no exception. The Fen Tigers went into the meeting as most people’s underdogs, but produced a display of commitment, skill and passion to overcome their arch rivals 48-42.
They had a flying start courtesy of Stefan Nielsen and Jon Armstrong, Nielsen recording a time 0.8 of a second outside the track record.
From then on it was nip and tuck as four drawn heats followed by successive 4-2s to the visitors saw the meeting level at 21-21 after seven heats.
Captain Danny Halsey then combined with reserve Liam Rumsey for an important 5-1 in heat eight to see the Fen Tigers regain their advantage. This was quickly erased as the unlucky Armstrong hit the tapes in heat nine and the resulting 5-1 saw the scores level again at 27 apiece.
At this point the meeting really took off. Heat 10 saw Nielsen and Morris exchange places before the Fen Tigers’ No. 1 claimed an impressive victory. The next heat saw young Connor Mountain burst from the tapes and hold Dudley No. 1 Starke behind for three laps before Starke managed to get by. With Halsey winning the race the lead was back to four points for the home side. Again, though, the Heathens hit back immediately with a 5-1 to level the scores in heat 12 at thirty six each.
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Heat 13 will live long in the memory of Mildenhall and all speedway fans that were lucky enough to witness it.
Ex-Fen Tiger Lewis Blackbird burst from the gate with Danny Halsey hard on his heels. Halsey tried everything but could find no way past the Heathen heat leader until entering the last lap he made a burst round the outside. Blackbird thought he had the move covered but Halsey cut back to execute the perfect pass and the crowd exploded into a deafening crescendo of cheers. With Stefan Nielsen holding off Starke the Fen Tigers were back in front.
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The crowd had just about calmed down when Armstrong and Rumsey burst from the gates in heat fourteen, Armstrong team riding to perfection nursed his junior partner home and the 5-1 gave the Fen Tigers victory and Rumsey completed his best performance in Mildenhall colours. Heat 15 was drawn but it hardly seemed to be noticed by the crowd as the celebrated a brilliant victory.
After the meeting a joyous team manager Robert Henry said: “Dudley are where they are because they are a fine side, we knew that and went into today as underdogs.
“That said the lads gave everything today and I am so proud of them. There was a great team spirit and we had two chats during the meeting to keep them focused.
“It is hard to single riders out; the reserves were excellent, Jon just roles back the years week after week with team riding of the highest quality and what can you say about Danny Halsey’s ride in heat 13? I have been watching speedway here for over 30 years and that is up with the very best I can remember”.
Mildenhall 48 – 1. Stefan Nielsen 11 (5) 2. R/R 3. Aaron Baseby 3+2 (5) 4. Jon Armstrong 10+1 (5) 5. Danny Halsey 14+1 (6) 6. Connor Mountain 2+1 (3) and 7. Liam Rumsey 8+3 (6).
Dudley 42 – 1. Paul Starke 6 (4) 2. Gareth Isherwood 0 (4) 3. Ashley Morris 11 (5) 4. Max Clegg 1 (4) 5. Lewis Blackbird 13+1 (5) 6. Dan Greenwood 9+1 (4 ) and 7. Nathan Greaves 2 (4)