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A patched-up Mildenhall Fen Tigers side – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – took an invaluable two points away from Kent’s Old Gun Site track in Iwade on Sunday (21/8) afternoon. Knowing now that home wins alone wouldn’t be sufficient to make the Play Offs, getting something from this trip to take on league newcomers the Royals was absolutely imperative – though there was also a sense of disappointment that it wasn’t the three points, after succumbing to a last heat 5-1 by the hosts leading to parity on the day.

With two Guests covering in the heat leader berths (skipper Jacob Edwards missing as on Championship duty and James Shanes side-lined for the season due to injury) and rookie Jacob Fellows riding again at reserve plus the R/R facility for another injury casualty, Sam Bebee it has to be regarded as an achievement to get the result that was an absolute requirement. And the headlines belong to Josh Warren – with a sensational paid 19 points. Not merely a career best for the Fen Tigers’ reserve but the best score away from home by a Fen Tigers’ rider for over a decade.

Warren had a very busy day, taking a full complement of seven rides – and to drop just two points out of 21 to opposing riders was an exceptional achievement – for surely the most improved rider of 2022 in the National Development League [NDL].

The hosts relied very much on their top two, both former League Riders’ title winners, Ben Morley and club debutant. Max Clegg who were both to record maximums. With such a top two to contend with, it needed a solid all round team showing by the visitors and that’s what the Fen Tigers gave,

Moving into an early six points lead by heat five (with race wins in this opening stanza by Warren twice and Jack Kingston -backed by the returning Alex Spooner for a vital early 5-1), the first piece of misfortune hit the visitors in heat six. Guest Adam Roynon was in second behind Morley when he fell on the second bend of lap three, with team mate Fellows unfortunately crashing out as he sought to avoid Roynon.

It was a bad one for the teenaged Fellows – leaving the meeting in an ambulance with what has now been diagnosed as a displaced break to his fibula and a fractured tibia, both on his left leg.

With the unfortunate Fellows out of the meeting even greater pressure was mounted onto Warren and it was fortunate that a local rider Nathan Hargreave had been drafted in as no. 8, so that at least all rides could be covered. 

The rerun heat six had seen a right Royal 5-1 for the hosts but the leading margin of six was to be restored in heat nine when Roynon and Warren banged in another maximum heat win for the visitors.

It was to be heats 12 and 13 that ultimately saw Mildenhall’s hopes of victory take a major knock. Kingston had exercised his customary good gate but he went into a 360 degree spin on bend two, losing ground and trailing in last with Warren the winner.

Then in heat 13 an engine failure for Roynon saw the Royals’ top two get a 5-1 and for the first time since heat two the scores were level.

Heat 14 and again Warren in action for his seventh outing of a busy afternoon and along with Spooner, an absolutely vital 5-1 was achieved.  Now only a maximum from Morley & Clegg in the very final heat up against the Guest pairing of Roynon and Connor Coles could stop a Fen Tigers win – sadly that was to be the case and though two points were more than welcomed there was a certain case of reflecting on what might have been.

For Josh Warren it was another highlight of what’s proving to be an exceptional second year in the sport as he reflected at the end,

“It’s great that everything has clicked into place and all my hard work is paying dividends. I guess I like the track at Iwade as I got my first ever double figures score here earlier in the season and now this paid 19 is my career best ever total. To only drop two points out of seven rides (and one of those was in the opening heat to Ben Morley who’s almost unbeatable around the Old Gun Site track) is obviously very satisfying.

“I’d like to thank all the travelling Fen Tigers’ fans for their amazing support – it truly does make a big difference to us to have such great backing from the fans.”

For those who like their stats, Warren’s paid 19 is the highest return by a Mildenhall rider in an away match since Cameron Heeps scored 20- against Dudley in his debut season in 2011 – that’s eleven years ago!

Next up for the Fen Tigers is another absolutely vital away match this Wednesday (24/8)  when they journey to Cowley to take on one of their rivals for a top four Play Off position, the Oxford Chargers.

Kent Royals 45
Ben Morley                   3 3 3 2’ 2’         13+2 [PM]
Rider Replacement - Jamie Halder
Danno Verge                1 1 0 2              4
Sam Woolley                FX 0 0 1 FX        1
Max Clegg                    3 3 3 3 3           15 [M]
Chris Watts                   0 2 0 1              3
Connor King                 1’ 1’ 2’ 3 0 1’ 1  9+3

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 45
Connor Coles [G]          1’ 2’ 2 1 R         6+2
Rider Replacement - Sam Bebee
Jack Kingston               3 1’ 2 0             6+1
Alex Spooner                2’ 2 1’ 1’ 2’        8+4
Adam Roynon [G]         2 FX 3 R 1         6
Josh Warren                  2 3 3 2 2’ 3 3     18+1
Jacob Fellows               0 0 1 Withdrawn – injured  1
Nathan Hargrave           0                      0

Heat details
1 Morley, Warren, Coles, Watts 59.1 [3-3]
2 Warren, Watts, King, Fellows 61.1 [6-6]
3 (awarded) Kingston, Spooner, Verge, Woolley (fell exc.) no time [7-11]
4 Clegg, Roynon, King, Fellows 57.9 [11-13]
5 Warren, Coles, Verge, Woolley 59.4 [12-18]
6 (awarded) Morley, King, Fellows, Roynon (fell exc.) no time [17-19]
7 Clegg, Spooner, Kingston (fell rem.) Watts (fell rem.) 59.3 [20-22]
8 King, Warren, Spooner, Woolley (fell rem) 60.6 [23-25]
9 Roynon, Warren, Woolley, Verge (fell rem., ret.) 60.6 [24-30]
10 (re-run) Morley, Kingston, Spooner, King 60.1 [27-33]
11 Clegg, Coles, Watts, Hargrave 59.7 [31-35]
12 Warren, Verge, King, Kingston 61.1 [34-38]
13 Clegg, Morley, Coles, Roynon (EF) 58.9 [39-39]
14 (re-run) Warren, Spooner, King, Woolley (fell exc.) 61.9 [40-44]
15(rerun twice) Clegg, Morley, Roynon, Coles (ret.) 60.1 [45-45]