Plenty of positives for Fen Tigers despite first home defeat

Mildenhall Fen Tigers vs Kent Royals July 18 2021

Mildenhall Fen Tigers in action against Kent Royals, their first home league meeting since 2019. - Credit: Derek Leader

It was the match that got away, but Mildenhall Fen Tigers have plenty to feel confident about after their first league defeat of the season. 

Having fought back from a 20-10 deficit at one stage, Fen Tigers finished on the wrong side of a 47-43 result against Kent Royals in the National Development League on Sunday. 

It was just their second meeting of a disrupted season and their first league meeting at the Mildenhall Stadium since September 2019. 

Team manager Malcolm Vasey said: “I felt we could and should have won that match and I think if we had our number one rider Jason Edwards, we would have won. 

Mildenhall Fen Tigers vs Kent Royals July 18 2021

Mildenhall Fen Tigers in action against Kent Royals, their first home league meeting since 2019. - Credit: Derek Leader

“I think we threw a number of points away and that’s disappointing. 

“It was a constant battle of trying to make sure their weaker riders didn’t get many points and, at the same time, trying to beat their better riders.” 

Although Edwards, who was riding with Championship side Eastbourne instead, was missing, captain Jordan Jenkins led from the front with 12 points despite battling a wrist injury. 

Mildenhall Fen Tigers vs Kent Royals July 18 2021

Mildenhall Fen Tigers in action against Kent Royals, their first home league meeting since 2019. - Credit: Derek Leader

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Jenkins was backed up by solid performances from the likes of Luke Ruddick and Sam Bebee, Sam Hagon shone while guest rider Connor Coles featured while youngster Sam Hagon also shone. 

“He still scored 12 points and that’s all you can expect from someone whose carrying an injury,” Vasey said. 

“I think we made such a mess at the start of the meeting and found ourselves 10 points behind, and we fought back so well.  

“Going into the last race just two points behind, I think people enjoyed the fightback even though it didn’t come to the perfect result we would have wished.” 

Mildenhall Fen Tigers vs Kent Royals July 18 2021

Mildenhall Fen Tigers in action against Kent Royals, their first home league meeting since 2019. - Credit: Derek Leader

The club confirmed Jenkins will miss the meeting with Berwick this Saturday owing to injury, but is due to return for the home fixture against Armadale on August 1. 

Danny Phillips, who has ridden for opponents Berwick, is set to deputise for Edwards this weekend as the team look to get off the mark. 

“We can’t replace Jordan, too – we have to have rider replacements, so he has to be replaced by some of the other riders in the team,” Vasey said. 

“We have to put up with it. It isn’t a perfect arrangement, but you have to make the best of what there is.

"We know it will be no easy task at Berwick, but if we can make a faster start than we did on Sunday, I feel confident we have a good chance of bringing some points back to West Row.”

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