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8 October

Knock Out Cup

Fen Tigers
Lion Cubs

A difficult evening on Tuesday (6/6) ended in disappointment for Mildenhall DJS Fen Tigers – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – going down to defeat on the day and to a hefty aggregate reverse to surrender top spot in the National Development League [NDL] to rivals Oxford Chargers.

A second half of the meeting where the visitors were bedevilled by mechanical woes did the damage leaving all in the Mildenhall camp frustrated.

It had started oh so much better for the visitors looking to repeat their heroic win in Cowley of last year - taking an early four point lead courtesy of 4-2s in both the opening heats, Alfie Bowtell and the resurgent Josh Warren taking the chequered flag respectively. And indeed from that point the Fen men were never behind at any point in the first half of the match and completed the first stanza level pegging. 24-24 (so two ahead on aggregate) after heat eight meant that there was considerable optimism regarding a win on the night and the precious aggregate bonus point also going into the second half of proceedings.

It could’ve been more too, save for some misfortune and puzzling refereeing decisions. 

After the DJS Fen Tigers’ ‘Guest’, the very quick Ashton Boughen had made it three heat winners from three races, next it was skipper Lee Complin’s turn; and the terrific Tyke was involved in a very close battle for supremacy with Oxford’s Ryan Kinsley when the Chasers’’ hapless reserve Kai Ward fell when unchallenged right at the rear. The race was on the penultimate lap so the referee could award the result and indeed he did, but normally in such circumstances - a back marker faller from the team of the rider being firmly challenged at the front with all to play for in the remaining one and a half laps – the decision would be to rerun.

Then in heat eight another decision to cause raised eyebrows in the Fen Tigers’ camp. Congestion on bends one and two led to firstly Oxford’s Sam Woods hitting the dirt and then a spectacular off from Warren. To the surprise of all, the decision was to exclude the Mildenhall man.

 The misfortune had come in the previous heat. Leading the race and looking comfortable for what would’ve been a landmark win over Kinsley, Mildenhall’s Kiwi national champion George Congreve was suddenly joined at the front by his hard-riding team mate Boughen. It looked nailed on a 5-1 to put the visitors four points ahead again, but somehow the team riding needed didn’t succeed in keeping the far more experienced Oxford man behind and Congreve was the unlucky man to take only third place in a race he’d basically dominated. But not too much in the way of damage done and at parity at the de facto hallway point of the match all seemed set fair for the visiting League leaders to have a real good go at grabbing of all the match points available. 

But sadly things quickly unravelled with the Oxford side going on a veritable Charge, banging out six heat advantages (four of them 5-1 maximums, with first Complin & then Boughen seeing their points scoring restricted by falls and mechanical gremlins badly afflicting Bowtell) in the remaining seven heats to turn what had promised to be a close encounter into a 18-point defeat (16 down on aggregate) - as machinery woes bedevilled the Fen Tigers and the knowledge of their home circuit by the hosts really took its toll.

Team boss Jason Gardner was realistic about the outcome,

“Few if any teams are going to come to Oxford this season and get a win, their top three in particular are all in very good form. We started well but have really been hit these past couple of meetings with machinery gremlins. Also Josh [Warren] took a very nasty tumble which led to him missing his final ride. His hand is sore but he’ll be fit for the trip to Berwick on Saturday {10/6) when we need to put today’s disappointment behind us and go for maximum points via a win up there in the Borders”.

Oxford Chargers 54 (97)
Jordan Jenkins    2, 3, 3, 3, 3         14
Jacob Clouting    X, 1, 3, 2'            6+1
Henry Atkins       1', 3, 3, 3, 2'        12+2
Jody Scott          2, 1, 2', 3            8+1
Ryan Kinsley       3, 2, 2, 2'             9+1
Sam Woods        2, 1, 0, 1, 1         5
Kai Ward            F, FX, 0                0

Mildenhall DJS Fen Tigers 36 (81)
Alfie Bowtell            3, 2, 3, 1, 1         10
Arran Butcher          1, 0, 2, 1              4
Ashton Boughen [G] 3, 3, FX, 2   8
George Congreve      0, 1, 1, 2          4
Lee Complin             2, 2, FX, 0, 0       4
William Richardson   1, FX, 1, 0     2
Josh Warren            3, 1', FX, F           4+1

Heat details
1) (rerun twice) Bowtell, Jenkins (B/T; 15m), Butcher, Clouting (exc. UR)  60.41  [2-4]
2)  Warren, Woods, Richardson, Ward (fell) 67.70  [4-8]
3) Boughen, Scott, Atkins, Congreve 60.39  [7-11]
4) (stpd, awarded) Kinsley, Complin, Warren, Ward (fell exc.) no time  [10-14] 
5) Atkins, Bowtell, Scott, Butcher 60.50  [14-16]
6) (rerun) Jenkins, Complin, Clouting, Richardson (fell exc.) 60.19 [18-18]
7) Boughen, Kinsley, Congreve, Ward 62.65  [20-22] 
8) (rerun) Clouting, Butcher, Woods (fell rem.), Warren (fell exc.) 61.52  [24-24]
9) (rerun) Atkins, Scott, Richardson, Complin (fell exc.) 60.03 [29-25]
10) (stpd; awarded) Jenkins, Clouting, Congreve, Boughen (fell exc.) no time  [34-26]
11) Bowtell, Kinsley, Butcher, Woods (fell rem.) 61.33  [36-30]
12) Atkins, Boughen, Woods, Warren (fell) 60.76  [40-32]
13)  Jenkins, Kinsley, Bowtell, Complin 61.41  [45-33]
14) Scott, Congreve, Woods, Richardson 61.96 [49-35]
15) Jenkins, Atkins, Bowtell, Complin 60.78  [54-36]