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Mildenhall Fen Tigers on verge of being crowned National Development League champions after win away at Kent Royals



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The Mildenhall Fen Tigers have one hand firmly on the National Development League title after a nail-biting victory at Kent Royals' Central Park on Tuesday.

A 45-44 victory leaves the Fen Tigers needing to score 24 points or more at Armadale on Saturday to claim their first league title since 2012.

In a meeting that never saw more than three points between the two evenly-matched teams, it was the Fen Tigers' strength in depth and a powerhouse performance from reserve Sam Bebee that made the difference.

The Fen Tigers are on the verge of being crowned champions. Picture: Derek Leader (52445663)
The Fen Tigers are on the verge of being crowned champions. Picture: Derek Leader (52445663)

Bebee raced to a paid 13 and featured in the two telling 5-1 heats in 8 and 14, with Jason Edwards and Nathan Ablitt respectively.

The Fen Tigers only had six race winners but filled in the important minor places to prevent the Royals from gaining any significant advantage, even though heat leaders Dan Gilkes and Ryan Kinsley won eight races between them.

In the end it all came down to the final race of the night. The Fen Tigers – three points ahead going into heat 15, during which a heavy crash involving Edwards and Kent pairing Gilkes and Kinsley somehow saw the away rider excluded from the re-run.

Former Fen Tiger Ryan Kinsley (blue) and skipper Jordan Jenkins (yellow) battle it out. Picture: Derek Leader (52445657)
Former Fen Tiger Ryan Kinsley (blue) and skipper Jordan Jenkins (yellow) battle it out. Picture: Derek Leader (52445657)

After a considerable delay it was down to captain Jordan Jenkins to score the second place needed for the win. Although Gilkes gated, Jenkins held off the early attentions of Kinsley to secure the victory to the cheers of the considerable number of visiting fans.

After the meeting Fen tigers promoter Greg Palmer said: “We are so proud of this team, they battled so hard and were supporting each other all evening.

"We are so close to the title now, just one more push on Saturday and we will hopefully get what we deserve for all the hard work that has gone into the season.

"The four of us have given so much to make a success of Mildenhall this year after the pandemic took out 2020 and these seven lads have all given the same amount of effort, they have a real will to win and in difficult circumstances tonight came up with this massive result.

Fen Tigers' Jason Edwards (yellow) in action at Kent. Picture: Derek Leader (52445653)
Fen Tigers' Jason Edwards (yellow) in action at Kent. Picture: Derek Leader (52445653)

"A big thank you too to our travelling support tonight who cheered the team to victory, we could hear you all evening it was brilliant”

Scores

Mildenhall Fen Tigers – 45: Jordan Jenkins 12 (5 rides), Sam Bebee 11+2 (6), Jason Edwards 9+3 (6), Nathan Ablitt 8 (5), Sam Hagon 5+2 (7), Elliot Kelly 0 (3), Luke Ruddick R/R

Kent Royals – 44: Dan Gilkes 15 (5 rides), Ryan Kinsley 12 (5), Jake Mulford 7 (4) Alex Spooner 4+2 (4), Jacob Clouting 3+1 (6), Josh Warren 3 (5), Vinnie Foord 0 (1 WD)

Mildenhall Fen Tigers celebrate their victory at Kent. Picture: Derek Leader (52445655)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers celebrate their victory at Kent. Picture: Derek Leader (52445655)

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