Fen Tigers see off Belle Vue to claim first league win
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 48
Belle Vue Colts 42
The Mildenhall Fen Tigers overcame the loss of number one Danny Halsey to record their first Travel Plus National League win of the season.
With the top five all being paid for nine points or more, the Fen Tigers had too much overall scoring power for a battling Belle Vue Colts side, who were led superbly by Matt Williamson.
The maximum man opened his account in heat one, beating Halsey’s replacement guest Ellis Perks and Alfie Bowtell, who tucked into third for a shared heat.
A potential 4-2 advantage for Mildenhall in heat two became a 4-2 for the visitors when Lee Springthorpe slid off on the last two bends.
This was followed by some tight racing which saw the scores level at 21-21 after seven heats.
The highlight of the opening exchanges was a classic cut back and pass from the returning Jon Armstrong in heat four.
The Fen Tigers then drew away as a 4-2 in heat eight with a fine win by Bowtell was followed by successive 5-1s in heats nine and 10, which extended the home side’s lead to double figures.
Heat 11 saw the first of three titanic battles between Armstrong and Williamson, as the respective top scorers battled all the way to the line in each race.
Although Williamson came out on top 3-0, the skill from both riders was a real joy to watch.
With good support from Rob Shuttleworth, Williamson was able to keep Belle Vue in the meeting and a final 4-2 in heat 15 saw the visitors claim a valuable away point, as the meeting on Sunday finished 48-42 in favour of the Fen Tigers.
Mildenhall promoter Kevin Jolly was pleased to see the Fen Tigers gain their first National League points of the season and said: “That was more like the type of performance we want to see.
“The spirit and fight was there today and with all of the top five contributing well we always had too many aces for our opponents. Alfie and Connor (Coles) looked much sharper today and now they will hopefully kick on and have big seasons.
“Of course the return of Armo (Jon Armstrong) made a difference. He seems to lift the place, and his skill and determination was as always a pleasure to see.
“I would like to thank Ellis Perks who stepped in for Dan, for his efforts. He did a good job at number one for us.
“Hopefully Dan will return on Sunday and with Luke (Ruddick) almost ready to return we can line-up with a regular one to seven over the coming weeks.
“We have a run of home meetings now that we need to win, and I feel confident we can do this and set our season up nicely.”
n Mildenhall’s new reserve rider Chris Widman put in an impressive performance by scoring paid 11 from his four rides in last Thursday night’s 46-43 Travel Plus National League defeat away at the Isle of Wight Warriors.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 48: J Armstrong 12, E Perks 9+1, C Coles 8+2, C Mountain 8+1, A Bowtell 7+2, C Widman 4+1, L Springthorpe 0.
Belle Vue Colts 42: M Williamson 15, R Shuttleworth 8+1, T Woolley 7, J Lawlor 5+2, J Knight 4, D Holt 3, A Mellish r/r