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Skipper issues rallying cry to Fen Tigers

CAPTAIN: Jon Armstrong
CAPTAIN: Jon Armstrong

Jon Armstrong has warned his Mildenhall Fen Tigers side cannot afford to return empty handed from their next two away meetings if they are to reach the National League play-offs.

The West Row-based outfit face crunch trips on the road against the Isle Of Wight Warriors tonight and the Plymouth Devils tomorrow before entertaining the Cradley Heathens on Sunday.

Having dropped points at home after a 45-45 draw against basement side Buxton Hitmen four days ago, the Fen Tigers captain feels they now need to raise their game on their travels.

“The result against Buxton was certainly damaging without doubt,” said Armstrong.

“Luck is just running out a little bit towards the end which is a shame as everyone has put their heart and soul into it and we need to keep digging.

“It is crucial that we pick up a win against the Isle Of Wight, ideally a four-point one, but the win is a must.

“Plymouth is another place that I feel that we could go there and really do something, a lot will depend on what happens with the bottom end of the team.

“We are all still focused on the play-offs even though we have made it a little bit harder for ourselves.”

The Fen Tigers, who will use Ben Morley in place of the absent Connor Mountain for the next three meetings, will also be without Danno Verge, with the 21-year-old requiring a second scan on a suspected collarbone injury sustained during the warm-up against the Hitmen.

“I have compressed the ligaments in between my shoulder and collarbone,” said Verge.

“The swelling was too much that they couldn’t see if there are breaks in my collarbone or arm, so I have to go to the fracture clinic on Monday.

“It is such a shame as I was really looking forward to our busy week.”

Although the result against the Hitmen increased the pressure on results over the next few days, club promoter Kevin Jolly was not too despondent.

Having trailed from the opening heat the Fen Tigers clawed back an eight-point deficit to level up the scores thanks to a 5-1 from Connor Mountain and Dan Halsey in heat 13 before Jordan Jenkins claimed the following race to share the spoils and set up a final heat decider.

With Mountain making the gate and Halsey sitting in third it looked like the hosts were going to snatch an unlikely looking victory.

It was not to be though, with visiting number one Matt Williamson roaring past late on to take the victory, and with it secure the draw.

“They have made it harder for themselves to get in the play-offs,” said Jolly.

“We can look at it as two points dropped but at the same time we can say we gained a point.

“After being eight points down they showed some real spirit to get back into it.”

n The Fen Tigers will face either the Cradley Heathens or the Belle Vue Colts in the semi-finals of the National League Knockout Cup.

Although going down 49-41 to the Stoke Potters in the second leg of their quarter-final replay at Loomer Road on Saturday, the Fen Tigers progressed after winning 98-82 on aggregate.

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