Sunday June 09, 2019
CRADLEY pulled off a 51-38 National League victory at Mildenhall as their hosts suffered a day of abject disaster.

Whilst former Fen Tigers star Dan Halsey delivered a top display for the Anchor Logistics Heathens, his old club were remarkably reduced to four riders with just five races completed.

Mildenhall reserves Macauley Leek and Elliot Kelly, and then second-string Charlie Brooks, all crashed out of the meeting to leave the home side hopelessly exposed.

Leek’s accident bizarrely came after he had won Heat 2 and he was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder, whilst Kelly tangled with Jack Smith in Heat 4 and damaged his knee.

Then in Heat 5 Brooks hurt his ribs when he hit the fence on the final bend – and with only a one-point deficit at that stage, the Heathens were always favourites thereafter.

Halsey and Luke Harris put them in front with a 5-1 over Jason Edwards in Heat 7, one of several races in which the Fen Tigers could field only one rider.

Smith sailed past David Wallinger in Heat 9 to extend the lead to five points, and home No.1 Danny Ayres summed up the hosts’ day by coming to grief in Heat 10 when trying to get on terms with Halsey.

Tom Spencer enjoyed a super ride in Heat 12 to partner Halsey to maximum points over Wallinger, and the only question thereafter was whether the Heathens could close things out for all four points.

Smith and Max Clegg packed in behind Ayres in Heat 13 with the Fen Tigers’ skipper going solo to win a tactical substitute outing in the next – but Ayres came down again in Heat 15.

Edwards split Smith and Halsey in the re-run to spoil the latter’s maximum, but the Heathens victory was the most important outcome of the afternoon.

Cradley boss Will Pottinger said: “It was important for us to get back to winning ways after losing at home on Monday, although obviously the circumstances were rather exceptional.

“But we had to do our jobs despite the bad luck Mildenhall were experiencing, and we wish their riders well.

“We would certainly have taken that result if you’d offered it to us beforehand, and everyone scored solidly which is what you want.

“Dan Halsey was superb and it was just a shame he lost his maximum with a mistake in Heat 15, and it was also good to see Jack winning races – and it was a very pleasing debut too from Sheldon (Davies), so all in all we’re very happy.”

MILDENHALL 38: Danny Ayres 12, Jason Edwards 9, David Wallinger 7, Matt Marson 5, Macauley Leek 3, Elliot Kelly 2+1, Charlie Brooks 0.
CRADLEY 51: Daniel Halsey 13, Jack Smith 12, Max Clegg 8+1, Luke Harris 6+2, Tom Spencer 5+2, Sheldon Davies 4+1, Harry McGurk 3+3.


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