Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Jason Edwards calls for unity after defeat to Belle Vue Colts dents National Development League play-off hopes
Jason Edwards has called on the Mildenhall Fen Tigers fans to get behind everyone at the club if they are to succeed in overcoming an ‘uphill battle’ to reach this year’s National Development League (NDL) play-offs.
In recent weeks the club has come under criticism on social media from some supporters regarding a number of issues. However, Fen Tigers captain Edwards believes now is not the time for the fanbase to be picking fault with the West Row-based outfit.
The Fen Tigers saw their play-off hopes take another blow on Sunday when slipping to a second home defeat of the season after going down 47-41 to the Belle Vue Colts.
Yet, despite the setback Edwards has called on fans to stick with the team and give them a much needed lift to help come through what has been a tricky period on the track.
“When you look back at this year something has happened in almost every meeting that has cost the team,” said Edwards.
“Everyone is trying as hard as they can on the track and it’s always hard when you lose at home but we just need to make sure we keep on going and the crowd gets some good racing.
“I’ve no issues with people moaning but they must be aware that everyone at Mildenhall is trying to put a good speedway meeting on for them.
“Realistically it is going to be an uphill battle to get into the play-offs but we still have the Knock Out Cup final against Leicester to look forward to.
“The most important thing we need now though is the crowds to keep getting behind us as we want and need Mildenhall to keep going next year.”
The Fen Tigers will have the chance to bounce back to winning ways on Sunday when taking on Kent Royals at Mildenhall Stadium (3pm). Already without the services of James Shanes and Matt Marson, the Fen Tigers will also be missing Sam Bebee, who was stood down for nine days with concussion at the weekend.
Using the rider replacement facility to cover for Shanes, the reigning NDL champions have drafted in former Fen Tigers star Adam Roynon to guest for Bebee and Jacob Fellows for Marson.
“Kent are built around a strong number one and five in Alfie Bowtell and Ben Morley and they are reliant on them getting maximums every week,” said Edwards.
“That is where we are at an advantage as we are quite steady throughout and I think it will be our middle order that will be key against them.
“We’ve beaten them once before at home this year in the Knock Out Cup so hopefully we can have a good meeting again with some close racing and secure some much needed points.”
The writing was on the wall for the Fen Tigers from an early stage against the Colts last Sunday after losing both Luke Muff in heat two and Bebee in heat five to injury, leaving them with just four fit riders for the remainder of the meeting.
It wasn’t until a 5-1 from the Colts in heat 12 – the last of six consecutive three rider races – from Jake Mulfold and Freddy Hodder that saw the visitors race into a 10-point lead. That deficit was almost halved in the very next race as Edwards and guest Lee Complin secured a 5-1 for the hosts before the Colts hit back with one of their own in heat 14 from Mulford and Hodder to wrap up the victory.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 41: J Edwards 14+1, M Marson r/r, S Bebee 1, J Kingston 3, L Complin (g) 13+1, J Warren 9+1, L Muff 1.
Belle Vue Colts 47: J Smith 9, S McGurk 6+2, N Ablitt r/r, J Mulford 13+1, T Woolley (g) 7, A Freeman 1+1, F Hodder 11+3.