Cradley Heathens win last-gasp thriller
Cradley pulled off a stunning last gasp win on a dramatic return to league racing last night.
The Anchor Logistics Heathens sealed a final race 5-1 to beat Mildenhall 46-44 at Monmore – and that was the only time they led over the course of the 15 heats, writes Nigel Pearson.
It looked as though former Heathen Danny Ayres was going to come back to haunt his former club.
The Mildenhall No.1 was unbeaten in his four programmed rides and made the best start in the final race. But Heathens’ heat-leaders Tom Brennan and Max Clegg brought the house down with a sensational display of grit and determination.
First Brennan dived under Ayres into bend three, before captain Clegg also worked his way by to hit the front. They clung on to take the chequered flag, leaving the men from Suffolk wondering what might have been.
In fact they could’ve wrapped up an away win in the penultimate race as they sat on a maximum – but Fen Tigers’ reserve Macauley Leek binned it on bend three after being caught unawares by returning home rider Luke Harris who charged under him, ultimately forcing the error.
But for a team who hadn’t ridden together previously, the Heathens will take plenty of heart and confidence from their first performance back in the National League.
Powerhouse trio Clegg, Brennan and ex-Mildenhall man Danny Halsey recorded eight wins between them and contributed 35 of the home side’s 46 points.
Harris enjoyed a steady night’s work while youngsters Harry McGurk, Tom Spencer and Lewis Whitmore were all able to chip in with some vital contributions which just about saw the Heathens eventually get over the line on a night of learning for the trio.
Cradley head to the Isle of Wight on Thursday for the first leg of their Knockout Cup tie ahead of the return at Monmore on Monday, May 20.