Mildenhall take 11-point lead to Rye House after thrills and spills at West Row
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 49, Rye House Raiders 38
MILDEN HALL Fen Tigers go to Dudley tomorrow for the second leg of their National Shield clash with their unbeaten record still intact, but their 11 point win over the Rye House Raiders was anything but routine, something acknowledged afterwards by team manager Rob Henry.
“That was a wake up call. I’m delighted we got all three points, but we made hard work of it, and maybe we were guilty of being a bit complacent before the start, something that will not happen again.”
In a meeting full of spectacular crashes, mechanical gremlins and some thrilling racing under the baking Suffolk sun, the Fen Tigers got off to the start many had predicted, with Cameron Heeps and Joe Jacobs collecting the first of four superb race maximums, as both riders went through the card unbeaten by an opponent.
But then Rye House tore up the script as they claimed an unexpected 5-0, as the home side’s teenage reserves, Nathan Stoneman and Josh Bates, both crashed out with the race eventually awarded to Joe Graver and Nick Lee, with Bates forced to withdraw from the meeting with the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury.
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Mildenhall found themselves in real trouble after Heat 3 as this time Daniel Halsey came off, leading to Ben Morley and Luke Chessell taking a 5-1 for the visitors.
The Fen Tigers narrowed the gap again after Heat 4 as skipper Lewis Blackbird and Stoneman claimed a 4-2, but there was more mishap to follow in the next heat as Stefan Nielsen fell when leading and then in the rerun Halsey’s bike suddenly slowed when he was in second.
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With the Rye House riders now clearly believing that with a 7 point lead they could be about to pull of the shock result of the season, it was Heeps and Jacobs who started to turn things round with their second maximum, that had the crowd on their feet as Jacobs produced a magnificent move to pass James Sarjeant virtually on the line.
Buoyed by that, and a quick team meeting, the Fen Tigers slowly started to take control, although without incident, as Heat 7 saw Blackbird’s clutch come apart when he was comfortably leading, although he was able to hang on and claim a vital third place behind race partner Stoneman, who was having another busy afternoon taking the rides of the injured Bates.
The meeting finally turned when Jacobs and Stoneman swept to a 5-0 as the Raiders’ Shane Hazelden and Nick Lee both failed to finish, a result that put Mildenhall in front for the first time since Heat 1.
Although Sarjeant and Ben Morley still put up stern resistance, with Heeps and Jacobs backed up by Stoneman, Mildenhall were gradually able to see them off, although not before Blackbird and Halsey had come to grief, and Hazelden had walked away from a frightening-looking spill; the worst in the series of crashes that had littered the meeting.
Afterwards co-promoter Michael Lee confirmed that Bates will miss the match at Dudley. “He has given his shoulder another hefty bang, and to be honest I don’t think it’s been fully right since the original crash against King’s Lynn. He’s definitely out of the Shield, and we’ll see if he will be fit for the Stoke match next Sunday by the end of the week.”
Mildenhall Fen Tigers:
Cameron Heeps 3 3 3 3 3 = 15
Joe Jacobs 2’ 2’ 3 2’ 2’ = 11+4
Stefan Nielsen 1 X 1’ 3 = 5+1
Daniel Halsey X 1 2 0 = 3
Lewis Blackbird (c) 3 1’ X 1 = 5+1
Nathan Stoneman X 1 2 2’ 2 1 2 = 10+1
Josh Bates X - withdrawn
Rye House Raiders:
David Mason (c) X 2’ 3 0 = 5+1
Shane Hazelden 1 3 X X = 4
Ben Morley 3 3 0 2 1 = 9
Luke Chessell 2’ 0 1 3 = 6+1
James Sarjeant 2 1 3 2 0 = 8
Joe Graver 3 0 0 0 = 3
Nick Lee 2’ 0 X 1 = 3+1