Play-offs back on the agenda as the Fen Tigers make their move
Connor Coles feels that reaching the end-of-season play-offs is still a realistic aim for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers provided they take maximum points from their remaining National League fixtures.
The West Row outfit currently sit fifth and one point behind the Cradley Heathens in the fourth and final play-off spot, with the same gap back to the Belle Vue Colts in sixth.
Despite having raced in two more meetings than the Heathens, and three more than the Colts, Coles is optimistic the Fen Tigers can defy the odds stacked against them, starting with a victory at home to the Eastbourne Eagles on Sunday (3.30pm).
“I still think we are capable of doing it. If we don’t throw away any points we have a big chance,” said the 21-year-old.
“It is going to be the away meetings (Rye House and Stoke) that it comes down to as we are near on unbeatable around here. I don’t think anyone will beat us around here for the rest of the season.
“The Kent Kings were quite tough, so I think we will be fine on Sunday against Eastbourne.
“They have only really got Adam Ellis, as Jake Knight can be hit and miss away from home and we are more than capable of beating the rest of them. It should be a good meeting.”
The Fen Tigers made it eight successive home wins on Sunday after coming through a last-heat decider to defeat the Rye House Raiders 47-43.
Although suffering a 4-2 reversal, led home by Raiders number one Rob Branford in the opening heat, the Fen Tigers turned the meeting back in their favour, which included back to back 5-1s in heats two and three, to open up a nine-point gap by the conclusion of eight heat.
After a short rain-enforced break, the teams enjoyed two shared heats and a 4-2 each in tricky conditions before the Raiders claimed their sole 5-1 of the meeting through Ben Morley and Branford in heat 13 to reduce the gap between the sides down to four points.
With Alfie Bowtell taking second and Jordan Jenkins third behind Connor Locke in the penultimate heat, it ensured that the meeting would go down to the wire with a draw still available for the Raiders.
Having been virtually untouchable all afternoon Branford, who dipped below the 50-second barrier on his way to victory in heat five, powered to win number four, but it was not enough though as Dan Halsey, who has agreed a short term deal to ride for the Peterborough Panthers in the Premier League for the rest of the year, headed home Coles to claim an all important 3-3 and secure the win.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 47: J Armstrong 3, K Hughes R/R, C Coles 12+2, A Bowtell 9+2, D Halsey 13, R Parker 3+2, J Jenkins 7+1.
Rye House Raiders 43: R Branford 14+1, S Woods 1, L Priest 8, G Hunter 2+1, B Morley 11, M Leek 2, C Locke 5.