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It’s a case of third time lucky for the twice-rained off National Development League [NDL] Grand Final between Leicester Lion Cubs and Mildenhall Fen Tigers, proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery, with the date for the restaging set for Friday 4th. November. And it’s at a different venue too, with the fixture now being staged at King’s Lynn Speedway.

The 2022 Speedway season has had to be extended beyond its normal finish date of the end of October to accommodate both the second tier and third tier Play Off Finals with Mildenhall’s match being second on the running order following on from the senior Leicester Lions’ Championship Play off second leg vs. Poole Pirates.

The inclement weather in the East Midlands city, with rain most days and overnight before and over the weekend meant that both attempts firstly on Saturday and then on Sunday to stage these vital matches proved unsuccessful; and despite considerable track works, further wet weather during this week has forced Leicester into surrendering home advantage and moving the double header to neutral King’s Lynn.

The delay from the weekend has given the Mildenhall team management even further selection headaches. With both Alex Spooner and Jack Kingston already ruled out of the Grand Final second leg after both having to withdraw at various stages from last Thursday’s home double header against the Lion Cubs with suspected concussion (something which carries a nine-day racing ban under health & safety rules), the Fen Tigers will now also be without Josh Warren who goes into hospital this week for an operation scheduled to take place after the planned season’s end.

Then, also because this delayed fixture is happening in November, Luke Harrison (maximum hero of the Play Off semi-final) is away on holiday and therefore is also unable to take his place in the meeting.

This has left Mildenhall with just two of their regular side (skipper Jason Edwards and the in-form Luke Muff) and are giving further opportunities to Ashton Boughen (who’s recovered from the knock he received in a crash on his Fen Tigers’ debut in the first leg) and to James Laker (who rode in both legs of the Knock Out Final for the Fen men).  

Boughen is very much a local rider as far as King’s Lynn is concerned, the multi-junior national champion at MotoX who’s turned to Speedway late this season hailing from nearby Middleton.  

Making his Mildenhall debut as a third unallocated three point rider in the scratch side put together by team bosses Jason Gardner & Malcolm Vasey is Bailey Fellows.  Funnily-enough hailing from Leicester, teenager Bailey is the cousin of Jacob Fellows, who made an appearance for the Fen Tigers earlier this campaign.

With the Rider Replacement facility in place for long-term injury absentee James Shanes, there’s a single ‘Guest’ allowed to complete the Mildenhall line up: it’s Derbyshire-based rider Tom Woolley. Tom rode this season for the Armadale Devils in Edinburgh, winning silver in the NDL Pairs and is one of the division’s most experienced campaigners.  

Mildenhall have named a no. 8 – James Jessop; the German-born rider has been a team mate this season of Laker’s in the Sittingbourne Crusaders’ Midland & Southern Development League but has yet to appear in an NDL fixture.

For Leicester, the de facto hosts in what is now taking place on neutral (but at least dry) shale, go with the same septet which clinched the KOC at West Row last week. That means no Connor Coles who suffered a broken collar bone in a crash in the first leg of the Grand Final (won 52-37 by the Lion Cubs) and so it’s R/R for him and at no. 8 is teenager Max James.  Otherwise the league toppers are at full strength – with the Thompson siblings, Dan & Joe having a busy night as they ride firstly in the Championship Play Off match vs. Poole before taking up their trusty heat-leader dual role for Leicester’s NDL side.

Line Ups:

Leicester Lion Cubs
1) Dan Thompson  9.80; 2) Max Perry  6.00; 3) Rider Replacement for Connor Coles  8.58; 4) Tom Spencer  5.14; 5) Joe Thompson 9.26; 6) Vinnie Foord  3.84; 7) Mickie Simpson 4.25; no.8 Max James 3.00

Mildenhall Fen Tigers
1)Jason Edwards 10.00; 2) Rider Replacement for James Shanes 8.66; 3) James Laker 3.00; 4) Bailey Fellows 3.00; 5) Tom Woolley [G] {6.93}; 6) Ashton Boughen 3.00; 7) Luke Muff 4.78; No. 8) James Jessop 3.0

The meeting starts at 7.00pm at King’s Lynn Speedway on Friday 4th. November.