Impressive home display puts Fen Tigers in control of the tie

GOOD WIN: Connor Mountain (red) and Drew Kemp (blue) take control against Belle Vue
GOOD WIN: Connor Mountain (red) and Drew Kemp (blue) take control against Belle Vue

Connor Mountain insists that the Mildenhall Fen Tigers must prevent the Belle Vue Colts from scoring heavily in the early stages if they are to reach the final of the National League Knockout Cup, writes Graham Clark.

The West Row outfit will take a 16-point advantage to the National Speedway Stadium tonight (7.30pm) after defeating the Manchester-based outfit 53-37 in the opening leg on Sunday.

Although the Fen Tigers sit in the driving seat, Mountain believes that feathers will need ruffled early on if they are to maintain their advantage and claim an aggregate success.

“Sixteen points is a comfortable lead and I would be happy taking that to any track. All we need to do is share the points in every heat and we are there,” said Mountain.

“It can definitely be done but we have just got to keep close to them.

“They are really dialled into the track and don’t have a weak rider around there. They are used to smashing all the teams there and we have just got to upset them a bit.

“If we do what we did on Sunday and hit them hard early on their heads will drop.”

It was another fine home performance by the Mildenhall Fen Tigers on Sunday that left their Knockout Cup semi-final with Belle Vue totally in the balance.

The 16-point advantage gives the Fen Tigers something to defend in Manchester tonight when they will need their never-say-die spirit to see them into a second final of the season.

The meeting started well with a fine win for Jordan Jenkins and when Drew Kemp and Alex Spooner combined for a 5-1 in heat two, the Fen Tigers had an early six-point lead.

This was immediately pegged back after a harsh looking exclusion for Jenkins in heat three as he went powerfully under Kyle Bickley in the first and second bend.

The resulting re-run saw a 5-1 for the visitors that pulled the lead back to two.

The Fen Tigers were soon back in the ascendancy as the exciting Kemp gated Connor Coles in heat four before being joined by last Sunday’s hero Jon Armstrong, who swept beyond Coles to join his teenage partner.

Jenkins quickly atoned for his heat three exclusion as he skilfully outfoxed Bickley with a smart pass to take the win.

The Fen Tigers stretched their advantage to 10 points with another 5-1 in heat six as Kemp went by Coles to join the fast-starting Connor Mountain, before Armstrong powered to victory in heat seven to maintain the lead.

Heat eight saw more controversy as a brilliant first bend by Mountain left Bickley high and dry and with Kemp racing through the inside, another 5-1 looked to have been secured.

The cheers were soon brought to an abrupt halt, though, as Kemp was excluded for not having a solid disc fitted on the right-hand side of his rear wheel.

However, this didn’t hold the Fen Tigers back for long as the Mountain and Armstrong partnership swept past Coles in heat 10 for another 5-1 and they went into the interval 14 points ahead.

After the restart another Armstrong masterclass was followed by a 4-2 from Mountain and Kemp and with three heats left the Fen Tigers were in a strong position, being 16 points ahead.

That was soon 20 as in heat three Mountain again made an electric start to be joined by Armstrong, who battled past Mitchell Davey to link up with his partner.

A superb pass by Kemp in heat 14 over Rob Shuttleworth secured an important drawn heat, before the drama unfolded again in heat 15.

Fast starts from Shuttleworth and Davey for the visitors left Mountain and Armstrong chasing their opponents and although they tried everything, they couldn’t pass the Belle Vue pair and the Fen Tigers had to settle for a 16-point lead to take to Manchester.