Mildenhall Fen Tigers have been dealt a major blow ahead of the new National League season after it emerged Liam Rumsey has quit the team.
The news of his immediate departure came following a phone conversation with club promoter Kevin Jolly on Tuesday and follows the Tigers disappointing 52-38 Knockout Cup defeat at home to the King’s Lynn Young Stars.
The shock setback left Mildenhall scrambling to find a stop gap replacement for last night’s second-leg meeting, while they are also having to find a replacement to fill the difficult number two position within the team ahead of Sunday’s National League opener at home against Kent Kings at the Mildenhall Stadium (3.30pm).
“Following a conversation, Liam felt he was under pressure to score points and that his team place was not secure,” revealed Jolly.
“It has been a difficult start to the season for him, and for the club, and in some respects everyone is under pressure at the moment, but that is the nature of the game I am afraid.
“It is a professional sport and people pay good money to watch us and naturally have certain expectations.
“Liam is welcome to practice after our meetings anytime and is always welcome at West Row. The club wish him well in the future”
The signs were not good in heat one of Sunday’s first leg defeat when James Cockle beat home captain Danny Halsey while partner Rumsey was beaten by young Josh Bailey.
New reserve pairing Tom Bacon and Luke Ruddick responded with a 5-1 victory in heat two, before Connor Mountain shared heat three.
The damage was done though in heats seven and eight as Connor Coles fell allowing the visitors to claim a 5-1 and take a two point lead, before that was extended to six as a tape exclusion for Ruddick led to another 5-1 win.
Two shared heats quelled the storm only for Cockle and Bailey to claim another 5-1 in Heat 11 with further wins in the next two heats moving the visitors 16 points ahead.
A Halsey win and Mountain third-place finish in heat 15 reduced the deficit but the result left Mildenhall a mountain to climb.
n Meanwhile, Coles and Mountain missed out on British Under-21 glory after scoring five and four points respectively in Tuesday’s meeting in Coventry.
n Read a meeting report from Wednesday’s second leg at www.newmarketjournal.co.uk