Halsey returns to form as Fen Tigers tame visiting Brummies
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 54
Birmingham Brummies 36
Dan Halsey enjoyed an overdue centre stage moment after roaring to his first full maximum of the season on Sunday as the Mildenhall Fen Tigers defeated the Birmingham Brummies at home for the first time in more than 30 years.
Having endured a mixed start to the campaign, the talismanic heat leader rattled off five straight wins to help the West Row outfit claim a first home victory over the visitors since 1986 —and stretch their unbeaten run at Mildenhall Stadium this season to 10.
The Fen Tigers made the perfect start to the meeting with Jordan Jenkins and Connor Mountain teaming up for an opening heat 5-1, before the visitors hit back with successive 4-2s, the first led home by Taylor Hampshire.
Having traded 4-2s with Halsey fronting one for the hosts in heat four, and Hampshire likewise for the Perry Barr outfit in heat five, the meeting was left finely balanced at 15-15.
A tapes exclusion for Liam Carr in heat six gifted Mountain and Jenkins the perfect opportunity to claim another 5-1, which they duly took, to put the hosts four points up.
That advantage was soon increased with a 4-2 in heat nine fronted by captain Jon Armstrong in a time of 50 seconds, just 0.32 outside the track record, followed up by another 5-1 from the potent pairing of Mountain and Jenkins.
Armstrong and Mason then piled on more pressure for the visitors with another 5-1, and after delivering the goods on his own, Halsey had the assistance of Mountain to hand the Fen Tigers their fifth 5-1 in heat 13 with the pair proving too good for Jack Parkinson-Blackburn and Carr.
Despite Hampshire leading home Coles to take his fourth win on the afternoon in heat 14, to give the visitors their only 5-1 of the meeting, it bore little significance on the final result.
After looking the part from the outset, Halsey crowned a successful day when passing race partner Mountain in the finale, who completed a paid maximum when taking second, to finish with a full house of wins.
“I almost forget what riding a maximum was like,” said Halsey.
“The track was perfect today and it helped riding a set up I am used to. Hopefully we can stop fiddling with it now and stick to what works.
“Heat 15 with Connor (Mountain) was probably the most enjoyable ride.
“I don’t think they have been as strong as they have in previous seasons. When I saw the riders they had brought in I thought it would be a tough meeting, but the boys were on it.”
Assistant manager Phil Kirk had nothing but praise for the club’s top four after amassing 46 points between them, ahead of a free weekend with no fixture.
“The top four did what we have been hoping for all season. They won the meeting on their own,” added Kirk.
Scores: Mildenhall Fen Tigers 54: Connor Mountain 12+3, Jordan Jenkins 9+2, Jon Armstrong 10, Danno Verge 1, Dan Halsey 15, Matt Marson 7+2, Kean Dicken 0. Birmingham Brummies 36: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 5, Layne Cupitt R/R, Luke Priest (g) 4+1, Connor Coles (g) 7+1, Liam Carr 4, Lewis Whitmore 3+1, Taylor Hampshire 13.