Mildenhall Fen Tigers skipper Jordan Jenkins produces one of his best performances in Belle Vue Colts victory
Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Jordan Jenkins described his paid maximum during the club’s last gasp 46-44 victory over the Belle Vue Colts in the National Development League (NDL) on Sunday as one of the ‘performances of his career’.
The 20-year-old helped the West Row based outfit, who were without Jason Edwards due to his Championship commitments with the Plymouth Gladiators, secure back-to-back home wins with a 17+1 total, which was the highest figure he has ever scored in Fen Tigers colours.
After finishing second behind team-mate Luke Ruddick in his opening ride to give the Fen Tigers a first heat 5-1, Jenkins went on to record five straight victories, culminating in a meeting-clinching success over the Colts pair of Harry McGurk and Jack Smith in heat 15.
“That was definitely one of my best performances but it has been a long time coming. I finally feel like where I was in 2017 as that was when I felt my best around here,” said Jenkins.
“I think I have now taken a step above that and I’ve said all year that I feel a lot more confident and a lot faster. I’ve got rid of the fear and nerves inside me that were holding me back.
“I was struggling with confidence during 2018 and 2019 but to be able to ride like this boosts my confidence, which is good for me and the team.”
Two shared heats followed Ruddick and Jenkins’ opening heat maximum before the Fen Tigers skipper teamed up with reserve Luke Muff to secure what he believed was his best ride of the meeting.
“The fans would probably say my last ride was my best ride but I don’t like doing it the hard way,” said Jenkins.
“There was a point in that race I didn’t think I would get past as the dirt was getting higher and higher.
“Fair play to Harry McGurk for pushing me all the way but thankfully I got there in the end.
“I would say my second ride was probably my favourite as I felt really quick from the tapes and so confident on the bike.”
A brace of 4-2s from Sam Hagon, on his first meeting in the main body of the team, and Sam Bebee, and by Jenkins and a rejuvenated Elliot Kelly either side of a 4-2 from the visitors’ Smith and Connor Coles, saw the Fen Tigers hold an eight-point lead at the end of heat seven.
Having looked in complete control the Fen Tigers suffered a mid-meeting slip with Jack Parkinson-Blackburn and Coles securing a 5-1 in heat eight, before Smith and Coles bagged a 4-2 in the very next race to reduce the gap between the sides down to two points.
With the meeting finely poised, the two teams shared the spoils in the next five contests to set up a final-heat decider to determine the outcome of the fixture.
Saving the best until last, the Fen Tigers gained the 3-3 they required thanks to a flying mid race move by Jenkins around McGurk which cancelled out Smith’s late pass on Hagon in third to secure a hard fought victory and with it three NDL points.
“We always knew it was going to be tough without Jason but we slammed the door in their faces in heat one which was always the intention,” said Malcolm Vasey, team manager.
“The skewered nature of their team with Connor Coles at reserve had an impact but it was not quite enough to deal with Jordan.
“It was a top performance by Jordan but there were also great displays by Sam Hagon and Luke Muff who are worth a mention as well.”
The Fen Tigers are now without a meeting until Friday, September 3 when they are scheduled to head to Belle Vue.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers, 46: Luke Ruddick 7+1, Jason Edwards r/r, Sam Bebee 3+2, Sam Hagon 9, Jordan Jenkins 17+1, Elliot Kelly 5+2, Luke Muff 5.
Belle Vue Colts, 44: Sam McGurk 2, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7+1, P Bowen 0, Harry McGurk 13, Jack Smith 11+1, Connor Coles 11+2, Ben Woodhull 0.