Battling Bullets pipped in last heat decider

Published on 30th April 2023
Author George Dodds

Mildenhall Tigers 49

GHT Bullets, powered by STS 41

The battling Bullets were a last heat decider away from pulling off a real shock against highly-fancied Mildenhall on Sunday.

Joint-top scorers Connor Coles and Danny Phillips went into heat 15 knowing that a 5-1 would force a Superheat. Sadly it was not to be and it was the Tigers’ spearhead of Alfie Bowtell and Lee Complin who claimed the maximum return and the points with it despite the attentions of the in-form Coles.

Again – as at Leicester last time out – it gives them a real opportunity to pick up aggregate points when the reverse fixtures are staged.

West Row has been the stuff of nightmares for Berwick sides at all levels over the years but the 2023 vintage got there heads down and scored almost as many  points on Sunday than the last two Bullets’ visits to Suffolk combined.

Skipper Greg Blair and super reserve Jamie Halder were also very much on the pace in what, on a well-prepared track, proved to be an excellent speedway meeting.

Phillips’ preparation hadn’t ben ideal after problems with his van meant he had to scurry to find a replacement vehicle but he quickly settled and produced the first real pass of the afternoon, picking off George Congreve in heat four.

More success on the road for Danny Phillips

That ended 3-3, in fact all of the first six heats were shared. Blair, as always, was centre of attention, lifting violently as he chased Complin in four and just managing to get the machine back under control and the skipper gave Bowtell as real test in six before having to settle for second place, Mildenhall’s Warren winning the battle of the Joshes to put the Tigers ahead.

Mason Watson’s West Row horror shows continued as he was excluded from seven, Phillips splitting the home pair in the rerun.

Jamie Halder has been the star of the first two Bullets fixtures this season and he won eight comfortably with Phillips taking the rider-replacement spin, in third as Berwick halved the deficit. Embleton had a good battle with William Richardson in 11 but Watson’s difficulties continued with another last place, Halder in second restricting the damage to a 2-4.

The battle of the big guns in 13 was everything the healthy crowd was hoping for. At the first attempt Complin paid the price was pushing Coles a little too wide and a little too hard on the fourth bend of a frenetic first lap. He was excluded and Coles picked himself up to become the second rider to head Bowtell home in 19 races this season, Phillips not far behind in third as the gap was cut to four points going into the last two races.

Phillips took 14 but the home pairing of Congreve and Arran Butcher foiled Halder’s efforts to find a way through, setting up the last heat decider.

Connor has enjoyed another productive weekend in Berwick colours

Bullets’ coach and team manager on the day Kev Little was delighted with his side’s efforts.

“From the bottom up it was a really good team performance. Everyone has come away thinking that they have ridden well and learned something about themselves.

“Mildenhall and Leicester are seen by everyone as being good teams so I guess that means we are a good team too.

“Connor, Danny and Greg form a pretty good spearhead and with Jamie again among the points the Bullets were able to end a disappointing weekend for the club on a positive note.

“After three fixtures on the road the lads are now looking forward to finally getting a chance in front of home fans on Saturday.”

Tigers: Bowtell 14, Warren 2, Trigger 5+2, Congreve 7+1, Complin 11+1, Richardson 1, Butcher 9+1

Bullets: Coles 11, Watson 0, Phillips 11, Blair 8, Embleton 2+2, Halder 9+2

Pictures: Ian Charles

 

George Dodds
George Dodds

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