Fen Tigers secure place in semi-finals of KO Cup

Action from today's KO Cup quarter-final meeting,.between ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers and Birmingham

Action from today's KO Cup quarter-final meeting,.between KJM/Manchetts Fen Tigers and Birmingham. Picture: SIMON TRAYLEN - Credit: Archant

The ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers ended an excellent week, which had already seen them confirmed as National Trophy finalists, with a hard-fought victory against Birmingham in their KO Cup quarter-final second leg today.

It was always expected to be a close call as the league’s two most fancied sides came head to head, and with Laurence Rogers employing two ex-Fen Tigers in Jon Armstrong and Alfie Bowtell as guests, it proved to be just that.

In fact, Armstrong, Bowtell and teenage star Leon Flint scored 40 of Birmingham’s 41 points!

The opening heats were very close and it was only when flying Ryan Kinsley combined with first Danny Halsey and then Drew Kemp that there was a heat advantage.

With the scores at 20-16 after six heats, Danny Ayres and Kemp combined for a 5-1 which gave the Fen Tigers the control they were seeking. Both passed Flint before Ayres rode a superb line to team ride home his young partner.


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Three more shared heats followed, before a fantastic heat 11 saw the race-of-the-day. Kemp, at the back of the field, executed a stunning pass on Flint and then chased hard after Armstrong, forcing under him on the final two bends. With Armstrong going down, it looked a 50/50 call that went the way of the visitors, so it was another shared heat.

Kemp immediately made up for the exclusion in the following heat as he combined with Halsey for another 4-2 and, when the youngster produced another high class ride in heat 14, the Fen Tigers were home and in the hat for the semi-final.

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Team manager Phil Kirk was relieved afterwards. He said: “This was always going to be our biggest challenge to date, and so it proved.

“Birmingham chose their guests well and both Armo and Alfie did what we thought they would, and they were well supported by Leon Flint.”

Scorers:

‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers 49

Drew Kemp 11+1 (6 rides), Danny Ayres 11 (5), Ryan Kinsley 9 (4), Josh Bailey 9 (5), Sam Bebee 4+2 (4), Danny Halsey 3+1 (4) and Matt Marson 2+2 (3).

Birmingham 41

Jon Armstrong 15 (6), Leon Flint 14+1 (7), Alfie Bowtell 11+1 (6), Callum Walker 1+1 (5), Layne Cupitt 0 (3) and Arran Butcher 0 (3)

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