Mildenhall Fen Tigers 48
Dudley Heathens 42
Kevin Jolly believes the Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ win over the Dudley Heathens on Sunday has set them up perfectly for the play-offs.
Despite missing big-scoring teenager Josh Bates, the reigning National League champions showed exactly what they are capable of by toppling their arch rivals by six points in a thrilling encounter.
“I am really shocked with the win,” said co-promoter Jolly. “Maybe we should ride against Dudley every week.
“Absolutely every one of them stepped up to the mark today and that performance is exactly what the Mildenhall Fen Tigers are all about.
“That win has now set us up for the end of the season as they now know that they can beat anybody they race against.”
The Fen Tigers started the meeting in perfect fashion with Stefan Nielsen and Jon Armstrong teaming up to secure them an opening-heat 5-1.
Four successive shared heats followed, before Dudley levelled matters up by taking back-to-back 4-2s in heats six and seven.
The scores did not remain level for long with Dan Halsey and Liam Rumsey handing the Fen Tigers their second maximum of the afternoon just a heat later to re-establish their four-point advantage.
The Fen Tigers’ lead was once again quickly erased with Dan Greenwood and Lewis Blackbird combining to good effect in heat nine to give the Heathens their first 5-1 of the afternoon.
Nielsen got the better of a titanic tussle with Ashley Morris in heat 10, with Rumsey taking a valuable third, to give the Fen Tigers a 4-2 and edge them back in front again.
Fortunes were to get even better for the Fen Tigers with Halsey and fast-starting reserve Connor Mountain racing to another 4-2 to stretch the hosts’ lead back to four points.
For the third time in the meeting, the Heathens hauled themselves level with Morris and Greenwood proving too strong for Aaron Baseby and Rumsey to leave the sides locked at 36 points apiece.
Halsey turned the meeting on its head after producing one of the rides of the season to get the better of his former teammate Blackbird in a last-ditch move on the final lap to leave the majority of the crowd in a state of elation.
Standing on the verge of victory, Mildenhall made sure it was to be their day with Armstrong and star reserve Rumsey producing a perfect team ride to claim an all-important match-winning 5-1.
With the meeting already won, honours ended even in the finale, with Blackbird taking a win for the Heathens ahead of Nielsen and Halsey.
A delighted Rumsey said: “It went really well and better than I could have hoped for.
“I made things easier for myself by making the start which was a massive help.
“As it is only my third meeting since coming back from injury I would have settled for four or five points so to get a score like this has really helped my confidence.”
Mildenhall: S Nielsen 11; A Baseby 3+2; J Armstrong 10+1; D Halsey 14+1; C Mountain 2+1; L Rumsey 8+3.
Dudley: P Starke 6; G Isherwood 0; A Morris 11; M Clegg 1; L Blackbird 13+1; D Greenwood 9+1; N Grieves 2.