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Mildenhall Fen Tigers primed for National Development League play-off semi-final clash with Berwick Bullets

Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Jason Edwards is confident the club can continue their strong end to the season by pushing the Berwick Bullets all the way in the opening leg of their National Development League (NDL) semi-final play-off on Saturday (7pm).

The West Row-based outfit will travel to Shiefield Park full of confidence after winning seven of their last eight regular NDL fixtures, including a 57-33 victory over the Bullets in the first leg of a recent double header at the Mildenhall Stadium.

Although admitting it will be tough to turnover the Bullets, who have not lost at home all season, Edwards believes they can take inspiration from their 48-42 defeat on their last trip there, which saw them pick up a losing bonus point.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Jason Edwards is preparing for this weekend's semi-final first leg. Picture: Mark Westley
Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Jason Edwards is preparing for this weekend's semi-final first leg. Picture: Mark Westley

“To be honest I think Mildenhall getting Berwick was the best we could have got in the play-off semi-final,” said Edwards.

“Although we beat Oxford away they didn’t have Jordan Jenkins in the team that night and we know what Leicester are capable of.

“When we last went there we were only beaten by six points and in the home meeting against them everyone did really well.

“As long as we keep within single digits of them I think we will be okay as in theory it would only take two races to make that difference up back at home (in the second leg).

“If we lose 60-30 it is a different matter, but as long as we keep it close we should be fine.”

One area the Fen Tigers have been strong throughout the season in is reserve. But with Sam Bebee, who was scheduled to drop into one of those spots following the average changes, ruled out for the season it has led to a late reshuffle.

Replacing Bebee will be King’s Lynn-based former motocross rider Ashton Boughen, who made his NDL debut on Wednesday evening for Oxford.

“A big question mark will be at reserve as we have won a lot of meetings there with either Josh (Warren) or Alex (Spooner) down there,” said Edwards.

“Luke Muff has been going well down there as well but having both reserves firing is a big thing.

“I don’t know too much about Ashton but from what I’ve seen he seems to open the throttle quite a bit so the long straights at Berwick should suit him.

“At the end of the day after we lost at home to Leicester I didn’t think we would get in the play-offs so to be in this position we just want to grab it with both hands.”

After missing the Fen Tigers’ 56-34 victory over the Plymouth Centurions, having sustained a fracture to his right humorous in their win over the Bullets on the same day, Edwards finished third on his return to action in last month’s National League Riders’ Championship – a result he was more than satisfied with.

“The main reason I did the meeting was if I felt any problems with my shoulder I could have pulled out and not let a team down so it was an ideal meeting after three weeks off,” said Edwards.

“I’ve still not got loads of strength in the arm but I’m not in loads of pain. The biggest thing was to get four laps under my belt. I was dead chuffed with the result as it put me spot on for team racing.”