An eventful afternoon at Mildenhall on Sunday saw the Fen Tigers throw away a number of point-scoring opportunities in the opening nine heats against Buxton, before some levity was introduced to proceedings by the impressive Connor Coles and Connor Mountain in what was a 51-38 win.
Coles in particular shone, after a week where the captaincy was passed on to the experienced Jon Armstrong.
Responding in a manner that showed great character as well as skill and speed, Coles roared to his first maximum in Mildenhall colours since August 2014, finishing the day with a perfect five ride 15-point maximum.
New Fen Tigers number one Mountain was equally impressive with a performance of skill, speed and track craft.
After coming from third to first with an impressive burst of speed in heat one, Mountain rode to an untroubled paid 15-point maximum.
They were ably supported by the improving reserve Chris Widman, who put in a fine shift to record his best home score to date, paid eleven points, and it would have been more if not for an incident in heat 14 when Geary crashed bringing Widman down.
With the remainder of the team struggling with falls and bike problems, the result remained close with only one point separating the sides after eleven heats before the Fen Tigers pulled away in the final heats.
Buxton were well served by battling reserve and top scorer Ryan Burton, who was always in the thick of the action while Tom Stokes, Ollie Greenwood and Ryan Blacklock all recorded heat wins but couldn’t find the consistency to take advantage of the Fen Tigers’ early difficulties.
After the meeting Kevin Jolly was pleased with the win but still felt there was more to come.
“The reality today was that we won by thirteen and took the all important three points, but in truth if we could just eradicate the errors and bad luck it could have been a thirty points victory today,” he said.
“I have to give Connor Coles special praise today, he has experienced a difficult week and responded in the best possible way scoring big points and showing strength of character.
“I couldn’t be more pleased for him and hopefully this is the platform for him for his season to really take off, he showed us today that he has the ability in abundance.
“Luke Ruddick had a difficult day on his home return but he is a work in progress and we have already lined up some valuable track time for him next weekend and will support him all the way whilst he gets his confidence and form back.
“The other Connor continues to be a joy to watch with his skill, speed and composure and with Chris Widman really settling in well am confident we can get that away victory we need sooner rather than later, hopefully at the Isle Of Wight next week.”
Mildenhall Fen Tigers: Connor Coles 15 (5 rides), Connor Mountain 14+1 (5), Chris Widman 9+2 (5), Danny Halsey 5+1 (4), Jon Armstrong 5 (4), Alfie Bowtell 2 (4) and Luke Ruddick 1 (4)
Buxton: Ryan Burton 9+2 (6 rides), Tom Stokes 8 (5), Ryan Blacklock 8 (5), Ollie Greenwood 7 (5), Lee Geary 5 (5), Shelby Rutherford 1 (3), Lewis Whitmore 0 (1) and Steve Jones R/R