Mildenhall Fen Tigers 53
Dudley Heathens 36
by Sam Murley at West Row
ROB Henry hailed his team’s strength in depth after the Tigers roared to victory in an ill-tempered top-of-the-table clash with the Dudley Heathens.
The under-strength Tigers welcomed the league leaders to a stifling West Row, missing number one Cameron Heeps through a wrist injury, and skipper Lewis Blackbird, away riding for Leicester in the Premier League.
However, led by the impressive form of 17-year-old Stefan Nielsen, who narrowly missed out on a perfect display, dropping just two points from a possible 15, as well two more 13-point hauls from Joe Jacobs and stand-in skipper Dan Halsey, the hosts eased to a morale boosting success.
Reflecting on the day’s action, Henry, who became embroiled in an altercation with a small section of the Heathens after a fracas in the pit area, hailed the maturity of his riders.
“Apart from the unfortunate episode with certain members of the crowd and in the pits, it was a fantastic afternoon of racing and a great team effort,” he said.
“The result was way beyond what I thought it was going to be, but the best team won on the day.
“They had more experience, but our young team came through and that is what you need when you have Cameron and Lewis out, so I’m delighted.”
With Blackbird missing, guest rider Jason Garrity got the ball rolling for the Tigers, pipping Gary Irving to the line as the sides shared the spoils in the first heat.
A disastrous and delayed second heat saw only James White Williams take any points with Ryan Terry Daley and Josh Bates for the home side and Conor Dwyer for the visitors all excluded following a number of spills, as the Heathens seized a three-point advantage.
However, it would not last long, as Jacobs and Halsey gained the first maximum, outgating Ashley Morris and Dan Greenwood before masterfully keeping their positions to snatch an 8-7 lead, an advantage they held on to for the remainder of the afternoon.
Stefan Nielsen and Josh Bates picked up their first points of the meeting, with the former beating Byron Bekker home as the advantage was stretched to three before a second shared heat saw Irving narrowly beat Halsey and Jacobs.
The impressive Garrity then grabbed his second win in heat six, ahead of Bekker, with Nielsen settling for third with clutch issues, before the Brandon-based rider recovered in the first of the next two shared heats, bravely out- manoeuvring Irving on the back straight for victory, followed by a Halsey success in heat eight ahead of Daniel Ritchings and White-Williams respectively to leave the Tigers with a 25-20 lead at the break.
Jacobs got the action back under way in perfect fashion, picking up his second win of the afternoon and the hosts’ second maximum, as Halsey followed him in ahead of Bekker to extend the advantage to nine.
A 4-2 victory courtesy of Bates and Garrity saw the gap widened further before Irving, on a tactical ride, picked up four points, narrowly missing out to Nielsen, with Ritchings in third to reduce the deficit back to nine.
However, the Tigers refused to buckle under pressure with two maximum hauls in the following two heats, courtesy of Bates and Jacobs and Nielsen and Garrity, extending the advantage to 17, leaving victory within touching distance.
And the inevitable came to fruition with the final two heats shared with Halsey beating Greenwood home in the 14th and Jacobs pipping Bekker in the final race to leave the Tigers with an impressive victory.
Mildenhall: Jason Garrity (G) 9+1, Joe Jacobs 11+3, Dan Halsey 13+1, Stefan Nielsen 13, Ryan Terry-Daley 0, Josh Bates 7
Dudley: Gary Irving (G) 11,Darryl Ritchings 6+3, Ashley Morris 6, Daniel Greenwood 4+1, Byron Bekker 10, Conor Dwyer (G) 0, James White-Williams 5+2
n The Tigers turn their attentions away from the league on Monday as they entertain the Stoke Potters in their Knockout Cup semi-final first leg (6.30pm).