Tough Test Against Tigers

League champions Belle Vue have one last order of business to take care of before they close their 2017 National League campaign and it’s the KOC to which they next turn their attention.

Rivals Mildenhall make one last trip to Manchester on Friday October 20 for leg two of their semi-final clash with the Cool Running Colts, bringing an aggregate lead of 16 points with them.

But the home team are riding the crest of a wave after lifting major league silverware on Wednesday when they bounced back from a 12-point deficit to seal the title over Eastbourne.

They managed to pull back an equally hefty disadvantage inflicted on them by Lakeside in the semi-finals to advance to the title-decider, a feat they hope to mirror on Friday.

It could prove easier said than done this time around however with Lee Payne still side-lined, Andy Mellish nursing a broken foot and the club currently sweating on the fitness of No.2 Kyle Bickley.

And with the postponement of Glasgow’s Championship KOC meeting on Thursday, it means Colts stars Dan Bewley and Jack Smith are forced to miss this crucial fixture for Belle Vue.

Team boss Graham Goodwin said: “It’s going to be an interesting meeting that’s for sure. We’ve had to patch the team up due to reasons beyond our control but we’re happy with what we’ve got.

“Mitchell Davey was a superb guest for us at Mildenhall during the first leg and was one of the first riders we thought of, and Ben Hopwood is likewise someone we can always depend on.

“We’re still waiting to see if Kyle is able to take his place though at this stage we don’t have an update. He fractured his foot after crashing with Dan so Richard Hall is on standby just in case.

“It’s not an ideal situation for such a crucial meeting but it is what it is and I firmly believe we’ve still got a decent chance to make an impression, though I wouldn’t like to predict the outcome.

“Mildenhall are strong contenders and are in the more favourable position of the two sides. But you couldn’t call it either way, and we all know that this team is full of unexpected surprises.”

Tickets for Belle Vue’s end-of-season celebration The Maugers, taking place this Saturday October 21 are still available to purchase. More information is available at


Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts
Mitchell Davey (G), Kyle Bickley, Lee Payne R/R, Rob Shuttleworth (C), Ben Hopwood (G), Paul Bowen, Luke Woodhull; TM: Steve Williams & Graham Goodwin

Mildenhall ‘Manchettes’ Fen Tigers
Connor Mountain, Daniel Halsey R/R, Jordan Jenkins, Luke Ruddick, Jon Armstrong (C), Alex Spooner, Drew Kemp (G); TM: Phil Kirk

Words: Hayley Bromley
Image: Ian Charles