Fen Tigers stage memorable comeback for last-heat victory
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 47
Buxton Hitmen 46
Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ youngster Connor Mountain capped a season of continued improvement in Sunday’s final home meeting with a paid 20 points to lead his team back from a 12-point deficit to a last heat victory against Buxton Hitmen.
It was enough to see the Tigers secure a mid-table finish in the National League, having been scrapping in a relegation fight just a few weeks ago.
The home side were under pressure from the start, their first win coming in heat five through Mountain, with partner Connor Coles tucking into third.
A second fall for Danny Halsey in heat six saw a second 5-1 of the afternoon for the visitors as Tom Bacon struggled to make an impression off 15 metres after a second tape offence.
Although Mountain won his second race in heat seven, a third 5-1 in heat eight saw impressive newcomer Jack Parkinson-Blackburn record his second win and extend the Hitmen’s lead to 12 points.
Team manager Robert Henry wasted no time in producing the black and white helmet with the responsibility given to the fast-gating Mountain.
Coles gated and rode an intelligent race to slow things down and let partner Mountain round the outside to join him, recording an 8-1 win that reduced the lead by seven points.
Heat 10 saw Halsey win his first ride of the day, and with Bacon finishing third the gap was suddenly only three points.
Another fine ride from Coles saw heat 11 drawn and when Mountain romped to his fourth victory in heat 12, supported by a fine ride from Luke Ruddick, the gap was just one point.
Heat 13 was drawn with Halsey taking the flag, and heat 14 saw experience win the day as Tony Atkin second-guessed the charging Coles’ every move and the 4-2 saw the visitors three ahead with one race left.
With seven heat wins between them Halsey and Mountain hit the front down the back straight.
As hard as Liam Carr and Atkin tried they could make no impression and the Fen Tigers completed a 13-point turnaround to take victory.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers: Danny Halsey 9 (5 rides), Tom Bacon 5 (5), Connor Mountain 19+1 (6 incl 6 pt TR), Connor Coles 9+2 (5), R/R , Rob Watts 1+1 (4), Luke Ruddick 4 (6).
Buxton Hitmen: Liam Carr 9 (5 rides), R/R, Tom Woolley 1+1 (4), Tony Atkin 11 (5), Ryan Blacklock 9+1 (5), Steve Jones 9+3 (6), Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7+1 (5).