The ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers ended an excellent week that had already seen them confirmed National Trophy finalists with a hard fought victory against Birmingham in their KO Cup quarter final 2nd leg.

It was always expected to be a close call as the league two most fancied sides came head to head, and with Laurence Rogers employing two ex Fen Tigers Jon Armstrong and Alfie Bowtell as guests it proved to be just that. In fact Armstrong, Bowtell and teenage star Leon Flint scored 40 of Birmingham’s 41 points!

The opening heats were very close and it was only when flying Ryan Kinsley combined with first Danny Halsey and then Drew Kemp that there was a heat advantage. With the scores at 20-16 after six heats Danny Ayres and Kemp combined for a 5-1 that gave the Fen Tigers the control they were seeking, both passed Flint before Ayres rode a superb line to team ride home his young partner. Three more shared heats followed before a fantastic heat eleven saw the race of the day, Kemp at the back of the field executed a stunning pass on Flint and then chased hard after Armstrong forcing under him on the final two bends, with Armstrong going down it looked a 50/50 call that went the way of the visitors and it was another shared heat. Kemp immediately made up for the exclusion in the following heat as he combined with Halsey for another 4-2 and when the youngster produced another high class ride in heat fourteen the Fen Tigers were home and in the hat for the semi final.

Team Manager Phil Kirk was relieved afterwards, he said “This was always going to be our biggest challenge to date and so it proved. Birmingham chose their guests well and both Armo and Alfie did what we thought they would and they were well supported by Leon Flint. We didn’t dominate like we usually do and I feel the track wasn’t quite to our boys liking today but that said they knuckled down and all contributed well.

We were on the end of a couple of debatable decisions I felt, but that’s speedway and we have to get on with it, the important thing is we are in the semi-final of the KO Cup and can now concentrate on gaining valuable league points over the next two months while we await our next Cup opponents”

‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers 49
Drew Kemp 11+1 (6 rides), Danny Ayres 11 (5), Ryan Kinsley 9 (4), Josh Bailey 9 (5), Sam Bebee 4+2 (4), Danny Halsey 3+1 (4) and Matt Marson 2+2 (3)

Birmingham Brummies 41
Jon Armstrong 15 (6 rides), Leon Flint 14+1 (7), Alfie Bowtell 11+1 (6), Callum Walker 1+1 (5), Layne Cupitt 0 (3) and Arran Butcher 0 (3)