Mildenhall Fen Tigers were left cursing their misfortune when a controversial first heat incident cost them dearly as they went down to a narrow 47-43 defeat away to Kent Royals.

A spirited late comeback wasn't enough, but it helped secure the much-needed bonus point (awarded for aggregate success once both home and away league matches have been contested).

But that was a meagre consolation for the visitors after a second successive National Development League (NDL) defeat leaves the Tigers' hopes of a top-two finish and qualification for the title-deciding play-offs hanging by a thread.

Ely Standard: The Fen Tigers were left to wonder what could've been following a frustrating meeting.The Fen Tigers were left to wonder what could've been following a frustrating meeting. (Image: Niall Strudwick)

Fen Tigers' team boss Jason Gardner felt they should have gone 5-0 up in the first heat after a Kent rider's bike suffered machine problems slowing to almost a halt, but when the race was to be re-run due to a fall, the referee deemed his bike still under power and able to stage again, leading to a 3-3 scoreline.

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Heading into heat 13, the Fen Tigers trailed by 10, but Lee Complin and Alfie Bowtell stepped up to ensure that the side salvaged a bonus point, coming within four points of the hosts.

The Tigers now sit in third place in the NDL, and with the sides above them having a fixture in hand, there can be no more room for error.