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Sunday
2 April, 4:00pm

NDL

Mildenhall
Fen Tigers
v
Kent
Royals

‘It’s A Knockout’ was once a staple of Saturday evening TV viewing and it’s the knock-out cup which occupies the Mildenhall Fen Tigers – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – this coming Saturday at 7pm, travelling to Leicester to take on the Lion Cubs in the first leg of the Cup Final.

It’s a tie that has certainly been a very long time coming – the Fen Tigers having actually got through their semi-final in this competition all the way back on May Day and their East Midland opponents booking their place in July.

And of course now the KOC finale is sandwiched right in the middle of the National Development League [NDL] Play Offs – with Leicester already in the Final of that and awaiting the conclusion of the two legged affair between Mildenhall and Berwick Bandits.

That second leg of the Play Off semi is at West Row on Sunday [preview to follow] but first up on a busy weekend for Malcolm Vasey and Jason Gardner’s men is that tea time trip to Beaumont Park to take on Leicester.

When the sides met there in the League it was only the cruellest of misfortune, losing both reserves to injury on an occasion when already using R/R and meaning they had to field a solitary rider in four heats, which condemned the Fenmen to a nine point reverse. Over two legs now a result that close or indeed closer would be seen as a reasonable result, though having also lost in the league fixture to the Lion Cubs at West Row, the objective on Saturday will surely be to seek whatever advantage can be obtained in a KOC Final that’s shaping up to be a classic encounter. With the knowledge too that the two sides could possibly be doing it all again in the Play Off Final before the month is up!

One thing Leicester haven’t had to worry about for most of this campaign has been injuries or absentees and it’s again to their advantage that they go into this one with a full complement of their own squad. The riders one & two in their averages are the Thompson twins, Dan & Joe  who both scored paid 13 when the teams met in May – though significantly both had their colours lowered that evening by Mildenhall’s top man, Jason Edwards. Completing their heat leader trio is former Mildenhall man, Connor Coles. 

Former Youth FIM Gold Cup winner (effectively the World Championship at schoolboy level) Max Perry was an early season injury victim for the Lion Cubs but is back now and joins other youngsters Vinnie Foord and Mickie Simpson in the Leicester septet, which is completed by solid middle-order man, Tom Spencer.

For the visitors there’s been more headaches this week – quite literally in the case of Jack Kingston who took a blow to that part of his body in the match up at Berwick last weekend and is out for the requisite eight days determined by the concussion protocol. That means it’s back to using a ‘Guest’ for long-time absentee James Shanes -  the pick is sure to be a very popular one among the Fen Tigers’ faithful as it’s that super stylist, Lee Complin. There’s Rider Replacement in place then for Kingston.

Rules over the use of unallocated three pointers have bedevilled Vasey & Gardner in finding a rider to take the vacant reserve berth for this one and so we await confirmation of who’ll be wearing the no. 6 race jacket.

Teams (with averages) for this Cup Final First Leg are:

Leicester Lion Cubs
1. Dan Thompson 9.80 
2. Max Perry 6.00
3. Connor Coles 8.58
4. Tom Spencer 5.14
5. Joe Thompson (C) 9.26
6. Vinnie Foord 3.84
7. Mickie Simpson 4.25

Mildenhall Fen Tigers
1. Jason Edwards (C) 10.00
2. Rider Replacement for Jack Kingston 6.45
3. Josh Warren 5.79
4. Alex Spooner 6.93
5. Lee Complin [‘Guest’] 8.66 
6. TBA 3.00
7. Luke Muff
8. TBA

The action gets underway at Leicester Speedway, Beaumont Park, Leicester LE4 1DS on Saturday 15th. October – 7pm start time.