Fen Tigers chief instils hope ahead of tough title defence

Mildenhall Fen Tigers vs Leicester Lion Cubs 2021

Mildenhall Fen Tigers will face a few newcomers as they look to defend their National Development League title this season. - Credit: Derek Leader

Malcolm Vasey believes Mildenhall Fen Tigers are truly capable of defending their league title, but they must expect to be tried and tested against fierce contenders. 

The Fen Tigers will look to retain their National Development League (NDL) they won last season in a new eight-team division, which kicks off in May. 

But joint-team manager Vasey is not expecting an easy defence. 

“It's every team for themselves then and I think we have as good a team as anybody,” he said. 

“Most of the teams I’ve seen are strong, and they will all be difficult to beat, but I feel we have the resources to do it.” 

Mildenhall have added comfort in welcoming back riders Jason Edwards and Ryan Kinsley to the team, while Alex Spooner will look to impress after signing from Kent Royals. 

Youngster Sam Bebee will also return, while last season’s captain Jordan Jenkins and Sam Hagon have moved to NDL newcomers Oxford Chargers. 

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“We will have Jason Edwards, but Ryan Kinsley coming back and he can beat anybody at almost any time,” said Vasey. 

“Sam’s had a career fraught with injuries, but last season he stayed clear so if he can kick on in that vain, I expect him to do well. 

“Sam Hagon is a huge loss as he’s improved so much in his first season of speedway at this level.” 

Malcolm Vasey of Mildenhall Fen Tigers

Joint-team manager Malcolm Vasey believes Mildenhall Fen Tigers are capable of defending their National Development League crown against strong opponents this season. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Vasey takes joint-charge with Jason Gardner for the first time this season against Kent in a National League knockout cup semi-final tie on April 24 at West Row. 

The two-legged affair comes ahead of their league opener at home to Plymouth Centurions, also new to the NDL, on May 15. 

“I think we will be one of the strongest teams in the league, but we must trust that we don’t get any serious injuries that cause us problems,” Vasey added. 

“It won’t be easy to defend the title, but we’ve got seven riders all capable of improving their average they will start the season with.” 

MILDENHALL FEN TIGERS – 2022 FIXTURES 

APRIL 

Sunday 10 - British U21 Semi-Final (H) 
Sunday 17 – Poultec (Challenge Match - H)  
Sunday 24 – Kent (Iwade) (League Knockout Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg - H) 

MAY 
Sunday 1 - Kent (Iwade) (League Knockout Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg - A) 
Sunday 15 – Plymouth (NDL - H)  
Saturday 21 - Leicester (NDL - A)  

JUNE 
Sunday 5 – Belle Vue (NDL – H) 
Friday 17 - Armadale (NDL - A)  
Saturday 18 - Berwick (NDL - A)  
Sunday 26 – Leicester (NDL - H)  

JULY 
Tuesday 5 - Plymouth (NDL – A)  
Sunday 17 – Armadale (NDL - H)  
Sunday 24 – Reserved 
Sunday 31 – Kent (Iwade) (NDL - H)  

AUGUST 
Friday 19 - Belle Vue (NDL - A)  
Sunday 21 - Kent (Iwade) (NDL - A)  
Wednesday 24 - Oxford (NDL - A)  
Sunday 28 – Oxford (NDL - H)  

SEPTEMBER 
Sunday 4 – Berwick (NDL - H)  

*Reserved = Knockout Cup/NDL play-off dates