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A tough night north of the border for the Mildenhall DJS Fen Tigers – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery - crashing to a 54-36 defeat to the Edinburgh Monarchs Academy (Friday 22/9). With no bonus point either, the defeat leaves Jason Gardner’s charges in 4th place in the National Development League [NDL] table and ended the, albeit slight, remaining hopes of a top two finish, that had been needed to progress to the title-deciding Play Off.

Gardner gave his thoughts on a night of no capital gains in the Scottish capital,

“It was a frustrating night for sure. We knew that Edinburgh were strong especially on their home patch and going there with a weakened side ourselves really put us up against it. Alfie [Bowtell] was his usual brilliant self with 13 points and three heat wins, including lowering the colours of the Monarchs’ main man, Max Clegg in heat 15. For George [Congreve] it was his best-ever away score for us - a really battling win over the hosts’ two Aussies in his first ride and yet another heat 14 victory. The skipper [Lee Complin] battled away like he always does and got to feel for Arran [Butcher] who was struggling with clutch problems.

“It was hugely frustrating for our two stand-in reserves who were keen to impress but very race rusty. Young Laylan Richardson improved as the meeting went on but is at a very early stage of his career and Ward damaged his wrist in a heat six fall.”

Three consecutive race wins in heats three through to five by Congreve (winning the battle of the Anzacs in impressive style), Complin and Bowtell kept the scores relatively close in the opening stanza; but a mid-meeting dip saw that deficit open up to a fatal 18 points by the end of heat 10. Two further wins from Bowtell and that near-obligatory penultimate race win by the Kiwi, Congreve kept things on a more even keel in the final third - but overall it was a night of disappointment a long way from home and a long way from contention for the top echelon of the division at this stage.

Gardner summed up the night,

“I personally feel like we have let the fans down tonight, we need to regroup very quickly for our final NDL fixture at Leicester a week today (Friday 29th.). That’s also a dress rehearsal for the Knock-out Cup Final and that in itself will focus our minds of the remaining challenges to come”.

Edinburgh Monarchs Academy  54 {95}
Max Clegg       3, 3, 3, 3, 2                  14
Alex Spooner – Rider Replacement
Jacob Hook     1', 1', 3, 2', 3, 0            10+3
Dayle Wood     2, 2, 3, 1, 2                 10
Luke Killeen [G]   2, 3, 2, 0                 7
Mark Parker     2', 1', 0, 1'                   4+3
Mickie Simpson  1, 3, 1, 2', 1', 1          9+2

Mildenhall DJS Fen Tigers 36 {84}
Alfie Bowtell    2, 3, 3, 2, 3                 13
Arran Butcher 0, 0, 1, 0                      1
Ben Trigger     0, 2, 0, 2                      4
George Congreve 3, 1', 1, 3, 1             9+1
Lee Complin    3, 2, 2, 1'                     8+1
Sam Ward       FX, F inj. - withdrawn    0
Laylan Richardson 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0        1