Fen Tigers suffer major blow to play-off hopes in home loss

Mildenhall's Jason Edwards leads Belle Vue's Jake Mulford and guest Lee Complin

Mildenhall's Jason Edwards leads Belle Vue's Jake Mulford and guest Lee Complin - Credit: Derek Leader

Mildenhall's reigning NDL champions suffered a major blow to their play-off hopes after falling to a second home defeat of the season on Sunday. 

Already down to the bare bones against Belle Vue Colts and having to utilise rider replacement, injuries forced out Sam Bebee and Luke Muff before the first half of the meeting was done.

And although the remaining quartet soldiered on gamely it was to no avail as the Fen Tigers lost 47-41.

The problems really began early as reserves Josh Warren and Muff - the match winners the previous Sunday - set off from the tapes in heat two looking like they were to reprise that good form.  

But Warren tumbled off when leading and then Muff fell also as race leader, with the resulting knee injury for the Yorkshireman forcing him out of the meeting.

Worse was to follow in the very next race as Jack Kingston and Bebee both fell and the 5-0 gave Belle Vue a lead the Mancunians were never destined to relinquish. 

Bebee suffered a suspected concussion which ruled him out of the meeting too and there was more than a trace of irony in this victory which clinched a league double over Mildenhall by the Colts.

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Before proceedings began some in the Belle Vue camp didn’t want to ride, stating unhappiness with the dry state of the circuit.  

It was a classic case of be careful what you wish for, as the result gives them a crucial advantage now in the race for the top four.

‘Guest’ Lee Complin was an outstanding performer and his race wins in heats four and seven were poetry in motion in a leg-trailing style rarely witnessed these days.

When all hope was nearly lost, the veteran combined with skipper Jason Edwards to secure a 5-1 in heat 13 to give a glimmer of hope to the hosts. 

The gap was now six points with two heats to go but the Fen Tigers could not snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as Kingston was twice a faller again in heat 14 and victory was Belle Vue’s.

The Fen Tigers take on Kent Royals in an absolute ‘must-win’ match at West Row on Sunday (3pm) as they look to get their play-off hopes back on track.