Jolly bemoans injuries issues as champions Birmingham blitz Mildenhall Fen Tigers

Tom Bacon, Connor Mountain and Chris Widman. Photo: Derek Leader

Tom Bacon, Connor Mountain and Chris Widman. Photo: Derek Leader - Credit: Archant

Kevin Jolly bemoaned his side’s luck after an injury-hit Mildenhall Fen Tigers slipped to another defeat to champions Birmingham.

Connor Coles, Zack Wajtknecht and Connor Mountain. Photo: Derek Leader

Connor Coles, Zack Wajtknecht and Connor Mountain. Photo: Derek Leader - Credit: Archant

The Fen Tigers’ threadbare squad was struck by two more late withdrawals on Thursday, with Rob Parker and Jon Armstrong pulling out and Chris Widman and Lee Springthorpe replacing them for the visit of Birmingham last weekend.

Birmingham arrived in a rich vein of form having dismantled King’s Lynn just days before in what was their ninth consecutive win, and the champions showed their class early on by taking a 5-1 advantage in the opening heat.

Mildenhall responded well and took the second leg and took a small advantage until the fifth leg.

Wins for Dan Halsey and Connor Mountain in heats six and seven respectively kept the momentum going into heat eight, but a 5-1 from Danyon Hume and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn turned the match in favour of the visitors.

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Although the Fen Tigers kept in the match by recording successive 3-3s, another 5-1 advantage in heat eleven saw the gap increase to nine points and hopes of victory all but disappear.

A third 5-1, with Dan Halsey falling after chasing after the impressive Zack Wajtknecht, rubbed salt into the wounds, and even a fine win to close the meeting by Connor Mountain failed to raise the spirits as the Tigers slumped to a 15 point defeat.

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After the meeting, promoter Kevin Jolly admitted he has concerns over the Fen Tigers’ immediate future.

He said: “These are difficult times and I wonder what will happen next. We have had more than our fair share of injuries and bad news and hopefully things will soon turn our way.

“Hopefully Luke Ruddick is only three weeks away from his return and young Sam Bebee should have his full cast on this week and his return to fitness can start in earnest. We await news on Rob Parker but he is in the best place and hopefully he will soon be back on his feet.

“Jon is of course a big miss but he has family issues to deal with at the moment and we will wait for him to tell us when he feels he can return. The remaining lads need to step up to the plate in his absence like Connor Mountain did today, and really knuckle down to plug the gap. We have a big meeting next Sunday where we must win to get our League campaign back on track. It won’t be easy but after today we cannot afford any more home defeats, it really is as simple as that.”

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