Mildenhall Fen Tigers tipped to clinch National Development League title by club legend Robert Henry
Mildenhall Fen Tigers legend Robert Henry has backed this year’s team to lift the National Development League title after watching them demolish the Berwick Bullets 61-29 in their final home meeting of the season.
The West Row-based outfit secured their biggest victory of the campaign on Sunday afternoon with a resounding 32-point success over the Bullets, which featured a career first maximum for heat leader Jason Edwards.
Henry, who made 586 appearances for the club along with managing them to their last NDL title in 2012, believes this year’s team have enough firepower to get over the line in their final two fixtures against the Armadale Devils and Kent Kings.
“I think that Mildenhall will give it a good go. They have got to take plenty of confidence from this meeting and I think they have enough clout to get them through those last two meetings,” said Henry.
“Jordan (Jenkins) has matured quite a bit this season and Jason (Edwards) is just a cool guy who has had a good grounding, but Sam Hagon is the one that has impressed me most as every meeting he has improved.
“Winning the league title would do these boys the world of good as it would give them something to look back on with pride in later years.
“Anything Mildenhall does I’m always proud of as the club has been a big part of my life and I’m always happy to see them win and do well.”
It was pretty much one-way traffic from the outset for the Fen Tigers, who took full advantage of the Bullets’ early-meeting injury problems. Having shared the spoils in the opener the Fen Tigers slammed in their first of seven 5-1s in heat two courtesy of Sam Bebee and Elliot Kelly.
The meeting was effectively over as an event in the next heat after the Bullets duo of Ben Rathbone and Luke Crang were forced to withdraw through injury after a first-bend incident, which also involved Fen Tigers guest Ryan Terry-Daley, who walked away unscathed.
A 5-1 in the re-run, led home by Terry-Daley, was followed by the first of Edwards’ six wins, before a 4-2 fronted by Jenkins and supported by Nathan Ablitt, together with successive 5-1s in heats seven and eight, put the Fen Tigers into an 18-point lead.
Edwards, having claimed his fourth win when leading a 4-2 in heat 11, was then involved in the race of the meeting in heat 13 which saw the 19-year-old swoop past his rivals before riding the perfect team ride with Jenkins to close out the 5-1.
More of the same was to follow in the penultimate contest thanks to Ablitt and Bebee ahead of Edwards securing his maximum when repeating his heat 13 heroics in the finale with Jenkins.
“That was my first ever maximum and it feels brilliant to get it,” said Edwards.
“A lot of the boys did it in their first year of National League racing. I always got close but missed out by the odd point. Silly as it sounds it is a relief to get it off my back. Getting 18 points is a bit nicer than a 15-point one and it sounds more impressive.”
“In the National League heats 13 and 15 are the ones that have number ones and fives in and they are the ones that count the most and give the most pleasure winning.”
Following the Bullets’ 48-39 victory over the Royals on Tuesday, it means with the Fen Tigers boasting a superior points difference, they effectively need to secure three points from their final two meetings to be crowned champions.
“This meeting was a must win if we are going to win anything at the end of the season. The draw against Leicester and the losing bonus point at Berwick now look important as they all add up,” added Edwards.
“We have just got to tip away now and keep doing what we have been doing and not let the situation get to us.”
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 61: J Jenkins 11+3, L Ruddick R/R, R Terry-Daley (g) 6+3, N Ablitt 10+1, J Edwards 18, S Bebee 11+1, E Kelly 5+3.
Berwick Bullets 29: K Bickley 9, M Watson 3 B Rathbone 0 (withdrawn) L Crang 0 (withdrawn) G Blair 8, R MacDonald 1, Kieran Douglas 7+2.