A battling display from the Mildenhall Fen Tigers — led by teenage sensations Jordan Jenkins and Drew Kemp — was not enough to pull back the 28-point deficit against the Eastbourne Eagles in the second leg of Sunday’s National League Knockout Cup final.
The two flying youngsters scored 30 points between them, bu missing all three heat leaders, the hosting Tigers could never do better than half the deficit following heat 10 as they lost 102-78 on aggregate.
Sixteen-year-old Jenkins put a marker down in heat one with a brilliant pass, before Kemp, 15, teamed up with reserve partner Alex Spooner for a 5-1 in heat two.
The Fen Tigers were seeking another advantage in heat three with Georgie Wood off 15 metres and Tom Brennan excluded, but Wood quickly made up the ground before executing two fine passes on Alfie Bowtell and Luke Ruddick to draw the heat.
Another fine ride from Jenkins secured heat four with Kemp in third, before Kemp teamed up with Ben Hopwood for a 5-1 in heat six.
The same partnership struck again in heat eight and the Fen Tigers were twelve ahead on the afternoon with seven heats remaining.
A 4-2 reverse in heat nine was followed by a third 5-1 from the Kemp/Hopwood partnership and with the Fen Tigers having halved the deficit with still five heats remaining the home supporters were dreaming of another extraordinary comeback.
Although Jenkins won his fourth race in heat 11, all hopes were extinguished as the visitors hit a quick fire pair of 5-1’s in heats 12 and 13 to finish the contest.
All that was left for the supporters to enjoy was another stunning ride from Jenkins, who chased Bailey before sweeping past the Eastbourne number one.
“It was always going to be a difficult task after the first leg, but I felt our lads put on a first class show in the circumstances,” said promoter Kevin Jolly.
“No disrespect to our guests, who did us proud, but I feel sure if we had Connor (Mountain), Jon (Armstrong) and Danny (Halsey) fit this could have been another of those special afternoons at Mildenhall Speedway.
“Looking back on the season I think we have provided great entertainment for the supporters with many memorable meetings and some incredible comebacks.
“The performances of Jordan (Jenkins) and Drew (Kemp) today excited me, this is what the National League is about for me — talented youngsters coming into the sport and putting in afternoons like they did.
“We will have a well deserved rest now but will be back next season ready to challenge for silverware again”.
Fen Tigers – 47: Drew Kemp 15+1 (7 rides), Jordan Jenkins 15 (6), Ben Hopwood 8+2 (6), Alfie Bowtell 6 (4), Alex Spooner 2+1 (3), Luke Ruddick 1+1 (4) and Danny Halsey rider replacement.
Eastbourne – 43: Josh Bailey 11+1 (5 rides), Jake Knight 10+1 (5), Georgie Wood 8 (4), Tom Brennan 5+1 (4), Jason Edwards 5+1 (5), Charley Powell 4+2 (4) and Matt Bates 0 (3)
* After the clash with Eastbourne, the Fen Tigers took to the Mildenhall Stadium track again for their final National League meeting of the season against the Isle of Wight Warriors.
They came out on top by a 53-37 margin, with Jenkins top scoring on 14 points.