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Mildenhall Fen Tigers joint manager Malcolm Vasey hoping to step aside with some National Development League silverware at Leicester Lion Cubs' expense

Malcolm Vasey admits it would be ‘absolutely fantastic’ if the Mildenhall Fen Tigers could defeat the Leicester Lion Cubs in the National Development League (NDL) Grand Final to hand him one more piece of silverware before stepping down as joint-manager of the club.

The 80-year-old will take charge of his final Fen Tigers home meeting when the club host the Lion Cubs in the opening leg of their NDL title decider and the concluding half of their NDL Knock Out Cup Final against the same opposition in a double header on Sunday (2pm).

During his time involved with the sport Vasey has held a number of roles, including stints at the helm of the now defunct Stoke Potters and Boston Barracudas, who he guided to glory in what was the Conference League Knock Out Cup in 2000.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers joint manager Malcolm Vasey will step down at the end of this season. Picture: Mark Westley
Mildenhall Fen Tigers joint manager Malcolm Vasey will step down at the end of this season. Picture: Mark Westley

With his time as Fen Tigers manager – a position he has shared this year with Jason Gardner – soon coming to an end, Vasey hopes he can sign off in style by getting one over the Lion Cubs and helping the Suffolk side to retain their third tier title.

“I became an octogenarian back in June and I think my managerial days must be concluded as there is a physical side to it which I now struggle with,” said Vasey.

“I started going to speedway in the 1950s and have been hooked ever since but it was with Mildenhall in the late 1980s that I really became involved in the sport as the club’s announcer so to come back and finish my career here is great as I love this club.

“In my first season at Boston we won the Knock Out Cup defeating Rye House and it would be absolutely fantastic to finish on the same note by winning the league again with Mildenhall.”

The Fen Tigers booked their place in the NDL Grand Final after bouncing back from a 55-29 defeat against the Lion Cubs in the opening leg of their NDL Knock Out Cup Final on Saturday when sweeping aside the Berwick Bullets 24 hours later at Mildenhall Stadium.

Trailing 46-43 from the first leg, the Fen Tigers claimed a 110-68 victory on aggregate after winning the return fixture 67-22, which saw Luke Harrison become the club’s youngest ever rider to secure a maximum at 15 years and 123 days.

The Lion Cubs will be an altogether different test, although Vasey is confident his side, who will use Ashton Boughen at reserve in the NDL Final, James Laker in the same position in NDL KO Cup and the rider replacement facility for James Shanes, can go all the way.

“The boys go into this meeting on the back of a magnificent result against Berwick and we feel we owe Leicester a good meeting and we are going to give them it,” said Vasey.

“We won’t underestimate them as they are a very good side. We lost to them at home in the regular fixtures but we felt we lost that meeting at the coin toss.

“The key battles will be between Jason Edwards and Joe and Dan Thompson and the results other people will get against the two twins.

“We have really got to work at their reserves, Vinnie Foord and Mickie Simpson, and make their relative inexperience count against them.

“Our aim will be to win the meeting by the maximum we possibly can so we take something to Leicester to defend.

“Realistically if we can take an advantage of three 5-1s up there it will give us a fighting chance.”

Like Vasey, former Fen Tigers ace and 2016 British champion Danny King, who currently rides for the Ipswich Witches in the Premiership and the Poole Pirates in the Championship, believes his old side are more than capable of defeating the Lion Cubs.

“They are probably the best two teams in the league and I thought the semi-final would be closer but Mildenhall showed their class,” said King.

“I see a lot of potential in the team and they have a great leader in Jason Edwards. They’ve done very well to get to the final and it shows the character of the team.

“On their day they have shown they can challenge anyone and as long as they get the right result at home they can bring it home in the second leg.”