NEW ROLE: Dan Halsey will step up to the position of captain
NEW ROLE: Dan Halsey will step up to the position of captain
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All eyes will be on the Grand Slam-winning Mildenhall Fen Tigers when the new season gets under way at West Row on Sunday (4.30pm).

Fierce rivals Dudley Heathens, with former Tigers skipper Lewis Blackbird in their ranks, travel to Suffolk for the first leg of the National Shield.

However, Mildenhall co-promoter Michael Lee insists no expectations will be placed upon the class of 2013 by the club’s management.

“It’s going to be a big ask for any club to ever do that (the Grand Slam) again,” said 1980 world champion Lee. “We were exceptional come the end, especially considering the injuries we had.

“There are no expectations on the boys from us .

“The fans will be wanting more trophies for sure, but first off we want to settle everyone down and if we can get a bit of progression out of everyone then who knows what we could achieve?”

Following the exit of 
Blackbird to the Heathens, Halsey has stepped up to the role of captain, while Cameron Heeps and Joe Jacobs have gone, with the departed trio replaced by Jon Armstrong, Aaron Baseby and Liam Rumsey.

However, the new-look side have struggled to find laps on the track because of the inclement weather conditions and Sunday’s meeting could be the first time some of them put a wheel on the shale.

“It’s a bit difficult to know where we are at because of the weather,” added Lee. “Everybody is going to be in the same boat.

“You can never tell until things settle down how they are going to be and I expect that to be even more so this year.”

Mildenhall and Dudley last met in the second leg of the National League play-off final when the Tigers came from 14 points down to clinch the title.

“There is big rivalry between the two sides,” said Lee.