Fen Tigers refusing to throw in the towel despite hefty deficit
Promoter Kevin Jolly remains confident the Mildenhall Fen Tigers can produce the comeback of the season against the Eastbourne Eagles on Sunday (4pm) in the second leg of the National League Knock Out Cup final, writes Graham Clark.
After defeating National League champions Belle Vue Colts 92-88 in the semi-final on Friday the West Row outfit will have to overturn a 28-point deficit if they are to triumph in the competition for the first time since 2012 after going down 59-31 in the first leg at Arlington last Sunday.
Although not underestimating the task, club promoter Jolly feels that his side can rise to the challenge in the same way they fought back from being 18 points down against the Plymouth Devils to lift the National Trophy and claim their second piece of silverware of the season.
“We’ve got a job to do,” said Jolly.
“We overturned 18 points against Plymouth and we made mistakes. There is no room for mistakes this time but it is still on. We are still in this one hundred per cent.
“I saw it in my riding days that if you persist with it you can never say never.
“We know that a few of them have struggled around our place before and we will be stronger and better at home.”
While the absence of number one Connor Mountain, who was in action for the Ipswich Witches, did not help matters in the first leg, Jolly praised the efforts of his patched-up side, which was already missing the injured Dan Halsey.
“A few of the boys had issues with clutches but the thing is they all tried,” said Jolly.
“Luke Ruddick rode well. He was making starts and probably had one of his best-ever meetings while Drew Kemp rode well, although he may have found it a little difficult riding against Eastbourne.
“We have just got to try even harder on Sunday but this is by no means done and we are good enough around our place to do it.”
Although Mountain will be back to take his place at number one the Fen Tigers will be without captain Jon Armstrong at the weekend after he sustained an injury to his left knee following his ride in heat 15 of the opening leg.
Stepping into replace Armstrong will be former Fen Tiger rider and current Lakeside Hammers and Newcastle Diamonds star Alfie Bowtell.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Mildenhall for my last meeting of the season,” said Bowtell.
“It feels a bit weird as I had my first meeting there this season as well in the Fen Fours.
“I am definitely well up for it and I believe we have a good chance.”
n Following the conclusion of the cup final, the Fen Tigers will take on the Isle Of Wight Warriors in the National League, while tomorrow they will face the Plymouth Devils (7.15pm) in their final away fixture in the league.