Fightback is too little too late at Saints

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

Scunthorpe Saints 51

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 39

IT WAS a case of too little, too late for a rallying Mildenhall Fen Tigers on Monday.

Having trailed by a staggering 18 points after just nine heats, fortunes changed for the West Row outfit in the remaining six races.

But with the visiting management team opting not to send out any Fen Tiger riders in the double-scoring black and white helmet, the late fightback counted for nothing.

The Tigers started in perfect fashion with guesting number one Robert Branford and Mark Baseby teaming up for an opening heat 5-1.

Early joy soon turned to disappointment for the visitors though as three 5-1s and two 4-2s turned a four-point deficit into a 12-point lead.

Joe Jacobs and Lewis Blackbird stopped the slide momentarily in heat seven after sharing the spoils.

Mark Baseby turned in one of the rides of the meeting in the next heat.

Sitting in third coming out of the third bend, the Mildenhall number two found some drive around the outside to sweep past Stefan Nielsen, only to be denied a dramatic race win by the narrowest margins by Lee Smethills on the line.

The Scorpions stretched their advantage to 18 points in heat 10 thanks to their fourth maximum of the meeting, courtesy of Steve Worrall and John Oliver.

Unbeknown to Oliver at the time, action in heat nine would be his last of the meeting after suffering a season-ending smash just one race later when he had an horrific collision with the boards.

As a result of the crash, the former Leicester Lions star suffered two broken ankles, along with breaking several vertebrae in his back.

In the resulting re-run, the Tigers claimed a 5-1 thanks to Jacobs and Blackbird.

Scunthorpe all but secured the points in heat 11 as Smethills and the impressive Nielsen teamed up to bag another maximum for the hosts, before Jacobs and Halsey teamed up to earn a well-ridden 4-2.

Two shared heats confirmed all the points would be staying in Lincolnshire.

Branford ended the meeting how he started, with a race victory, this time being partnered by Jacobs, to hand Mildenhall their third 5-1 of the meeting, to give the final score a more respectable look.

“Our boys failed to gate at the start of the meeting and with the track in the state it was in gating proved vital,” said co-promoter Michael Lee.

“As I was acting as a mechanic for most the afternoon it was not until after the meeting that I realised that we hadn’t used the black and white helmet. Had we used it may have made the score more respectable. As I was trying to keep all the lads up and running, I think it simply got overlooked.”

Mildenhall: Branford 10, M Baseby 4+1, Jacobs 10+1, Blackbird 7+2, Hargreaves 3+1, Halsey 3, Aaron Baseby 2.