Club CH Archive 1999 - 2000

Club CH Archive 2001-2003

Club CH Archive 2004-2007

Sunday 30th May, 1999

BUXTON v CLUB CH

. Buxton Hitmen [48]

1. NEIL PAINTER (2 FX 2' 2' 2' - = 8+3) Affectionately termed 'judas' for the day, our regular captain improved once he sorted out early bike problems.
2. PAUL BURNETT (1' 3 3 3 3 - = 13+1) Quietly went about clocking up a good score, though relatively un-noticed at the time.
3. MARK STEEL (1' 1 1' 2 - - = 5+2) Average performance, but did his job well enough.
4. ADAM ALLOT (2 3 2 F - - = 7) Looked great out in front (apart from his fall) but rarely looked like coming from the back.
5. JAMIE YOUNG (NS NS NS NS - - = 0) First ride fall stopped him from showing what he could do.
6. JAMES MANN (3 F 0 3 3 1 = 10) Impressive young reserve.
7. RICHARD MOSS (2' 2 1 F 0 FX = 5+1) Faded after a good start to the meeting.

Club Cradley Heath [40]

1. MARK BLACKWELL (3 2 1' 3 1 1 = 11+1) Inconsistent but looked accomplished in this company.
2. ELVIS JONES (FX NS 1' 2 - - = 3+1) Usually not on the pace, but got slowly better. Suffered a nasty fall.
3. CARL WILKINSON (3 3 NS inj - = 6) Superb before his accident - very unlucky.
4. AIDAN COLLINS (0 2' EX 1 2' - = 5+2) Courageous, battling and full of promise. Deserved more points for his efforts and was contender for man of the match.
5. FREDDIE STEPHENSON (3 EX 3 FX 3 EF = 9) His scorechart sums it up, but this guy was the entertainer of the afternoon. A great racer, if a little rash at times. Made the most of our continued applause and deserved to for a well earned nine points.
6. GORDON MEAKINS (0 0 2 0 - - = 2) Never looked like beating anyone, but never too far off the pace.
7. MITCH BARKER (1 1 2 F - - = 4) Only scored points from his team-mates, but definitely improved as the meeting wore on. Rode in the second half and continued to look better.

The long wait finally came to an end on the hills of Buxton when the coach full of people from the Black Country weaved its way through the fields and over the cattle grids to Hi-Edge, and the LP Heathens took to the track in some style to kick off the 1999 season. First and foremost, I must extend sincere thanks and congratulations to all the riders who pulled on the green and white colours this afternoon on behalf of myself and everyone associated with Cradley Speedway.

'Borrowed' these riders may be, but they were without doubt giving their all in a match where the home side were pushed much, much closer than some of us perhaps anticipated. Captain for the day, Mark Blackwell led the team from the number one berth and won the first heat from the tapes to set the mood for the following two hours. Elvis Jones took a nasty looking tumble at the back when clipping the back straight fence to go 'boot over helmet' as he somersaulted to a painful halt. Heat two was unfortunately much of a formality as the CH reserves team rode for third place while the Hitmens' pairing took the honours.

Heat three brought joyous celebrations from the faithful travelling support as Carl Wilkinson shot from the start and rode a perfectly controlled first bend before going on to record the fastest time of the season around the 240 metre track. Aidan Collins battled in vain behind the strong pairing of Steel and Allot but showed plenty of promise and courage which woud pay off later on. Heat four was re-run due to first bend bunching before producing another adopted star and the Heathens' third win in four races from Norfolk's Freddie Stephenson. James Mann fell to gift Mitch Barker a point and bring the scores to within just two points.

Blackwell was out again in heat five. He missed the start, then came from third to second, but couldn't catch Allot who was a runaway winner. With Gordon Meakins taking Jones' place but losing out to Mark Steel, it was a 4-2 to the home side. As it all began to look so familiar to Cradley fans with the strong top end and dodgy tail, heat six kicked in - three times! The impressive Stephenson rode another two hard first corners in two stagings to send his opponents sprawling and was eventually excluded by referee Colin Reeve. Inbetween, the race had got as far as two laps when Neil Painter slid off also to be excluded and leave just two for the final outcome.

Heat seven brought a new belief with an easy 5-1 from Wilkinson and Collins to bring the progressive scores to within a single point. A drawn heat eight kept the pressure on after Buxton's Richard Moss fell, remounted, then fell again. And then wild Freddie Stephenson came out an accomplished winner again in the ninth with Meakins improving despite missing out on the minor placings at the back.

Tragedy struck in heat ten though as a possible Heathens 5-1 turned out to be a 5-0 victory to the hosts. Burnett and Collins battled superbly side by side for two laps before the latter finally went in too hard and hit the deck. His partner, Wilkinson, was following closely behind and couldn't avoid ploughing into the stray machine which cruelly resulted in a suspected broken leg for the hugely impressive guest. Collins was excluded and reserve replacement Mitch Barker fell on his own in the rerun.

There was definitely some team riding in heat eleven from Blackwell and Jones which allowed a double tac sub in the next. Blackwell, in his second consecutive race took the win with Collins picking up third to give the Heathens an important 4-2. However, the seemingly strong pairing of Blackwell (out again!) and Stephenson were on the wrong end of another maximum heat advantage which left Cradley eight points down with just two to ride.

The first of the two required 5-1s came in heat in the penultimate race, thanks to a fall by Allot while leading. A last heat decider beckoned with Blackwell and Stephenson out to face Painter and Burnett. The Heathens needed no less than a 5-1 to force a draw but although the boy Stephenson gated and led the race, an engine blow-up robbed him of a final success and left Blackwell languishing at the back with the Hitmen turning the scores into a somewhat more emphatic eight point victory.

All the lads tried their hearts out and, but for a couple of unlucky incidents, an upset might have been created by the debutant Club CH side. The crowd was definitely larger and almost certainly louder than usual, and the day was capped by a six-heat second half match and the subsequent invasion of a local pub.

Man of the match for me had to be Stephenson and unluckiest rider was undoubtedly Wilkinson. An impromptu collection on the terraces raised 120 quid for the injured Wilkinson as well as another 50 quid towards Stephenson's engine repairs. Quote of the day has to be shared between "there was probably more travelling support than we usually get" from a local, and the amusing "where can I park my coach" from the bemused driver to the bewildered pub landlord!

A cracking day out was had - some excellent speedway on top of a marvellous reunion with some much missed old faces. We came away knowing it was 'meant to be' as we'd been to Buxton and it never rained a drop.

Buxton1: Carl Wilkinson Buxton2: Elvis Jones

Buxton1 (left): Carl Wilkinson leads home pair Adam Allot (blue) & Mark Steel (red), and Aidan Collins (yellow).
Buxton2 (right): 'The King' Elvis Jones leads Paul Burnett.
Photos by Geoff Ridsdale (30/05/99).

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Sunday 13th June 1999

4 Team Tournament at Buxton

Four Team Tournament sponsored by D & H Autos of Wolverhampton. Buxton v Belle Vue v Club CH v Coventry.

BUXTON HITMEN... 32

N.Painter (2 3 3 3 = 11)
Looked good on his home track. Always in control.
A.Allott (3 2 3 0 = 8)
Accomplished at the front; abysmal when behind.
P.Burnett (1 3 2 3 = 9)
Improved as the meeting went on. Machine problems earlier.
R.Moss (F 1 X 3 = 4)
Came from behind to win his last at an important stage.
L.Howard (R) DNR

COVENTRY BEES... 26

M.Steel (2 E 3 2 = 7)
Tigered away and was good value for his points.
A.Collins (2 2 3 2 = 9)
An excellent performance. Always mixing it, always on the pace and still improving.
D.Hartley (0 0 F 2 = 2)
Definitely improved during the afternoon, but rather wobbly anyway.
J.Mann (1 3 2 2 = 8)
Battled well and deserved a hard-earned eight points.
(No Reserve)

CLUB CRADLEY HEATH... 23

M.Barker (1 0 E 1 = 2)
Worked hard for little reward but could have had three or four. Never a match for the top riders though.
D.Garrod (3 2 2 3 = 10)
Reliable and looking good at this level.
D.Nix (0 1 1 1 = 3)
Dodgy machine didn't help, but he put himself about on the opening laps and had the distinct advantage of staying on the bike.
S.Wolstenholme (3 3 2 0 = 8)
Looked the best rider on show early on but missed out on the line in his third and tailed off in his fourth.
C.Moorcroft (R) DNR

BELLE VUE COLTS... 15

E.Jones (1 1 0 E = 2)
Never really on the pace and didn't make any big impression.
L.Smethells (3 2 1 1 = 7)
Another battling display and frequently in the thick of the action.
R.Bowkett (0 1 - - = 1)
Gifted his only point and duly replaced after two rides.
D.Hodgson (2 F 1 1 = 4)
Wasn't afraid to have a go but didn't pull up any trees.
N.Robinson (R) (1 0 - - = 1)
Marginally better than Bowkett but not much chance to get into the match.

Match Report:

After the late cancellation of the fixture against Rye House at Eastbourne, the Club CH committee moved swiftly to fill a place in this 4TT so it was back up the country lanes to Buxton and another chance to see the green and white colours out on the tight Derbyshire track. The crowd was swelled by a few Belle Vue fans, a smattering of blue, red and white from the likes of Long Eaton and Bradford, and another coachload of Heathens fans follwed up to Hi-Edge by a healthy procession of cars from the Black Country. Quote of the day this time for my mate Simon who kindly gave me a lift and on arrival pointed out a parking spot with the comment "park next to the Cradley coach" - as if there'd be a coach from anywhere else!

A few team changes saw Mitchell Barker move up from reserve to Heathens number one to replace Mark Blackwell, while Chris Moorcroft took the vacated number five slot. For Coventry David Hartley replaced Matt Fern. Cradley looked a little weakened, but the four clubs were otherwise quite well balanced on paper, as the meeting was to prove.

A very close contest ensued in the early stages as all four teams produced heat winners. After heat nine, every team had led for brief spells and there were just four points between first and last. During that time, James Mann had recorded the fastest time of the season at Hi-Edge to give Coventry's challenge a boost, but then his team mate Mark Steel suffered an unfortunate engine failure whilst in a comfortable second.

David Nix, on his Club CH debut, came out and choked the home straight crowd with as much smoke as a Black Country chimney would be proud of. Then Mitch Barker, the veteran among this company held off a challenge from home favourite Richard Moss until the last lap when he was pipped at the post. Heats 8 and 9 were the most eventful than any which had gone before with Belle Vue's Daniel Hodgson involved in both. He fell while third to gift Nix hid first point behind a close battle between Aidan Collins and home captain, Neil Painter. Also the Club CH captain of course, Coseley based Painter took the first of his three victories, but the young challenger was always close behind and trying everything to get past. In the next Hodgson went hard under Moss with the latter taking a tumble and a relatively harsh looking exclusion.

On a warm afternoon, the dust was beginning to fly and the track was supposed to be watered at the half way stage. We waited an extra race for the wet stuff though as Richard Moss was in action in heat nine and he is coincidentally the tractor driver too! After the delay Aidan Collins took an untroubled win in the next, as did Adam Allott in the one after that.

Heat 12 served up a last gap finish as Neil Painter reeled in the previously unbeaten Simon Wolstenholme, while at the back a colourful David Hartley clung to a third place in front of Lee Smethells before over shooting the corner and sliding to the floor. By this point, the travelling fans were counting the remaining points ahead of the final run in, but heat 13 crucially but Buxton almost out of reach. Paul Burnett took an impresive win with the CH guest Wolstenholme at the back and the Hitmen were suddenly six points clear of their nearest rivals.

In the closing three, Richard Moss first came from behind to win heat 14; In the same race the Colts' reserve Neil Robinson fell and remounted but was too far behind to catch Nix who repeated the trick on the last lap. The reliable Dean Garrod won heat 15 from the usual Collins challenge. Allott missed the gate for Buxton and made no impact from the back. Then a tight race rounded up proceedings as Painter held off Steel and Barker picked up another point for the Heathens.

Final scores: Buxton 32, Coventry 26, Club CH 23, Belle Vue 15.

A Youth Development League match between the Hitmen and the Bees followed as the travelling fans gradually filtered out. It was another good afternoons racing, another healthy Heathens turn out, another late defeat at the hands of the Hitmen and amazingly... another day at Buxton with no rain! Even the gathering black clouds couldn't have ruined Club CH's second track appearance though and from here on, we'll just be hoping that our captain can ride for us instead of against us! That chance should come at the rearranged Midlenhall visit, now on the 27th June.

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Sunday 27th June 1999.

MILDENHALL v CLUB CH


Mildenhall 41 Club Cradley Heath 47

Despatch Solutions "Fen Tigers":

1. Garry Sweet (1 1' FX 3 = 5+1 )
An off-day as the number one failed to adapt to the tricky conditions
2. Ricky Scarboro (0 2 2 1 = 5 )
Some good attempts, but momentary lapses cost points
3. Steve Camden (1 1 2 3 3 2 = 12 )
Gradually improved and adjusted to the track and looked good by the end
4. Peter Johnson (0 0 1' 2 = 3+1 )
Never really in it, points mainly gifted
5. Dean Garrod (C) (FX FX - - = 0 )
Two falls in the same spot of the fourth bend and withdrew from the match
6. Barrie Evans (3 3 3 2' 2' F 1' = 14+3 )
Even in the rain, this boy looked impressive. Came from the back more than once and battled hard to deserve his score.
7. Mark Thompson (2' FX EX = 2+1 )
Much the same as Johnson, not a good day at the office.

LP Transport "Heathens":

1. Neil Painter (2' 2' 1 2' 0 = 7+3 )
Three paid wins summed up a true captain's performance.
2. Philip Knowles (3 3 3 F 3 = 12 )
Looked almost unbeatable, but suffered that one blip on the ocassion that he missed the gate and was trying to battle from the back.
3. Mark Steel (2' 2 2 1 = 7+1 )
A determined effort from the youngster, but got a little frustrated at times.
4. Paul Burnett (3 1' 0 3 = 7+1 )
Gritty display, wasn't afraid to mix it in the wet conditions, and scored some very vital points as a second string.
5. Simon Wolstenholme (2 3 3 3 = 11 )
Quality performance, his experience showed at the gate, but he also proved he could come from the back when most weren't brave enough to move out.
6. Mitch Barker (EF F XM F = 0 )
Unlucky with bike problems, but his starts should be able to get him some points in better conditions.
7. Elvis Jones (1 1' FX 1 = 3+1 )
A good effort, it must be said, and his final point clinched the victory.

The story:

The first Club CH victory came on a rain-soaked West Row track, in a match which did remarkably well to even survive the unrelenting weather. The journey East, tempered by the persistent rain was a test for the Heathens faithful but the fans turned out in force as ever and were eventually able to celebrate after two valiant defeats in the space of a fortnight at Buxton.
The team was led for the first time by club skipper, Neil Painter, and he was joined by another strong top five including fellow Hitmen Mark Steele and Paul Burnett, the experienced Simon Wolstenholme, and track specialist Phil Knowles. Ever-present Mitch Barker was back to battle at reserve and partnered by The King himself, Elvis Jones.
Painter and Knowles kicked off proceedings with an opening heat five-one from the gate as the captain took advantage of a fall by the Tigers' Ricky Scarboro, but then the home side hit back in the next to level the scores. Mark Steele secured the third maximum of the afternoon to put Cradley four points up again, with an excellent first corner to emerge in second behind partner, Burnett.
The rain continued and the riders were consistently clocking race times about fifteen seconds off the track record, but it was the Heathens who adapted better. Fortunately, this was one Conference League stadium with a covered stand, so the supporters took advantage of the shelter and produced a beach ball to carry on with the party.
Meanwhile, another 5-1 from Painter and Knowles was followed by two drawn heats; Wolstenholme made a brave outside pass in the sixth but Barker slid to the ground. And in the seventh, Dean Garrod fell in the same spot as he had done in his first outing to end his brief participation in the meeting. A good ride from the impressive Barrie Evans in the rerun kept out Steele and Burnett.
Heat Eight was awarded after first, a frustrated Elvis Jones fell while in third and then the home side's Mark Thomson did the same. Jones failed to appear in the next after Barker's continued bike problems kept him from making the tapes in under two minutes, but Wolstenholme led the way again as the sun forced its way through the clouds.
The dry weather brought on a fightback from the hosts with a 4-2 in the tenth and a 5-1 in the eleventh. Burnett and Knowles were fallers for the Heathens while in scoring positions. Then the tables were turned right upside down with a second successive maximum from the same pairing of Evans and Steve Camden to put Mildenhall in front for the first time, by a single point.
With three to go, and the scores as close as could be, Cradley clicked back into action with a 5-0 white wash as Garry Sweet fell and Thomson was not under power when the race was stopped. The match was wrapped up in the penultimate race as Evans over-cooked the corner when trying to force his way through from the back, which left Burnett and Jones to hang on for a 4-2 and send the travelling fans wild. The nominated race was a formality but Phil Knowles took revenge on the Camden-Evans pairing for his earlier defeat.

The Heathens flag was flown and the riders cheered round for a victory parade which culminated in the presentation of the LP Trophy for the first silverware of 1999! A solid performance was enough to stay in control for most of the match and keep the Black Country voices singing.

Quotes of the day this time must be taken by the Mildenhall promoter and announcer. "We hope you get your track back soon", were the words over the tannoy, "because British speedway NEEDS fans like you". We could not have been made more welcome in this cracking little stadium. It was just such a shame that the real potential of the track was stifled by the rain, and we could only sympathise with the other travelling support from Rye House, and indeed the few from St Austell, who came to see the waterlogged second half of the planned double header.
There were several candidates for the rider of the match, Simon Wolstenholme provided a solid performance, Paul Burnett rode some great first corners, but a 12-point haul from Phil Knowles showed he had a point to prove to the home side, to the benefit of Club CH. Special mention for the track staff and all associated with the West Row circuit who managed to keep the meeting on, and how nice to see Carl Wilkinson on the terraces, unfortunately with crutches still in tow.
The final word lies with the programme notes of Tigers' promoter Dingle Brown. "Lets hope that in the not too distant future", he said of Cradley, "they will be able to invite us back to their track as they did in 1995". We will, Dingle, we will.

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Sunday 25th July 1999.

ST AUSTELL v CLUB CH


J & A Supporters Trophy (Cradley Heath)
ST AUSTELL BWOC GULLS 49 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 41

BWOC Gulls (Team Manager - Andy Annear):

1. SEEMOND STEPHENS (3 2 3 3 2' = 13+1)
Fast, stylish and confident, but received his first home defeat this season!
2. MARTIN WILLIAMS (0 1' 1' 0 = 2+2)
Never did anything significant. Didn't get into it.
3. GARY LOBB (3 3 2 3 3 = 14)
Premier league standard and only beaten by some tough uncompromising riding.
4. JASON PRYNNE (1 2' 1' 2 = 6+2)
Good second string performance, but a little lucky with it.
5. WAYNE BARRETT (1' 2 3 1 = 7+1)
An accomplished meeting, even if his score is not as high as it can be.
6. RICHARD FORD (1 0 2' 0 = 3+1)
Tried hard but only actually defeated one other finisher. Potential though.
7. ADRIAN NEWMAN (FX 2 2 EF = 4)
A very good determined effort by the Aussie, could and should have had more, in front when suffering the EF. Good to watch too.

LP Transport Heathens (Team Manager - Chris Dawson):

1. DEAN GARROD (1' 0 1 0 = 2+1)
Not a captains performance, struggled with the track. Couldn't hold the bends and didn't appear for his final ride. Better luck next time.
2. PHIL KNOWLES (2 0 0 1 = 3)
Couldn't live up to his Mildenhall match, obviously had bike trouble at times but just didn't use the throttle enough and didn't suss out the track.
3. GARY PHELPS (2 1 1' 1' 1 = 6+1)
A wild and exciting style and a capable rider. Panicked at times though and threw away points. Still a valuable contribution.
4. Simon Phillips - Rider Replacement (6 from 4 rides)
Coulnd't make the meeting due to machinery problems. R/R reaped an average reward.
5. CHRIS HARRIS (3 3 3 3 2 3 1 = 18)
Fantastic performance. Man of the match. Fast, but often winning from the back after missing the gate. Determined and controlled. Need I say more!?
6. GORDON MEAKINS (2' 0 0 0 = 2+1)
Great start to the match but couldn't keep the momentum going.
7. STEVE CAMDEN (3 F 3 2 2 0 = 10)
Very good performance, bettered only in the side by Harris. Couldn't match the Gulls' heatleaders but did his job and more. No victory laps though :o(
8. ASHLEY HOLLOWAY (DNR)

What a fantastic speedway day out this was! The five-hour coach journey beginning at 8.00am culminated as we rolled into the country town of Bugle and shattered the South-West village peace. A ten minute 'sight-seeing' expedition through the clay quarries of the area en route to the track was quite stunning but simply never enough to prepare us for the incredible location of St Austell Speedway. I could fill the match report just trying to describe this place, and still not do it justice. Instead I think its better to simply reccomend to any speedway supporter a visit to witness the friendly local faithful who turn up to see the cracking racing on a nicely shaped track which is tucked away in the quarries, along with the rocks, pools and craters of the most fascintaing place you will ever see a speedway meeting.


On parade in the awesome surroundings of the Clay Country Moto Parc.

The 100 or so travelling Cradley fans parked ourselves on the home straight, just next to the double decker bus which acts as both announcer and referee's box. Just close enough be able to have a conversaion with the announcer and to receive a handful of air horns from home promoter Brian Annear in order to aid our cause - apparently we have once again renewed our reputation for the noisy support we happily provide. Chris Harris provided us with a few victory laps to go wild for, but our other heatwinner Steve Camden for some reason decided to head straight back to the pits. Hope we didn't scare him away ;o). You can get pretty close to the action at the Clay Country Moto Parc and we lined the front edge of the terraces to cheer the riders on through every race. We may not have won but we were fortunate to discover another couple of battlers and triers to reward our efforts. It was a highly entertaining meeting and the weather was gorgeous. All in all, a tremendous day out so many, many thanks to all concerned!

The heats:
(Heat number, winning time)

(1, 57.69) It was an easy win for Stephens in the first race, looking fast and almost untouchable. Garrod and Knowles were a little at sea with the track and swapped places behind him with Williams well at the back.
(2, 59.82) Three attempts at heat two as first Newman touched the tapes but ref, Barrie Richardson ruled all four due to some rolling back and forth by all. Second time, the Aussie hit the deck and stayed down with Cradley on a 4-2, and third time justice done as our 'Welsh Wizard' Gordon Meakins produced his finest race of the season to edge out Richard Ford as the pair battled almost side by side for four laps.
(3, 59.50) Phelps built up a big lead and then threw it away as Gary Lobb pipped him on the line; Garrod nowhere as R/R.
(4, 56.69) Super fast Chris Harris stormed from the back to pass Adrian Newman after stalking him for two laps. Camden fell on the first lap and Barrett did extremely well to avoid him, but this ruined the home rider's chances of making an impression.
(5, 58.06) Accomplished 5-1 for Lobb and Prynne as Knowles struggled to get past his partner Garrod at the back.
(6, 56.84) Absoltely classic race between Premier League riders Stephens and Harris. The Heathen for the day eventually took the honours after coming from the back in a titanic tussle.

Track was watered with the scores at 19-17 in favour of the home side. Break of about five minutes. Did enough to keep the increasing dust down and slow the racing down by over a couple of seconds.

(7, 59.03) Barrett came from last to second but couldn't get near Harris who was long gone after a better gate. Again Phelps had a clear gap in second but kept looking back and was overhauled on the last lap.
(8, 59.56) Camden gated and led from tapes to flag, Knowles showed briefly in second but slipped to last in a race that the Heathens were looking to take an advantage from.
(9, 58.12) A good hard first bend from Harris as he gated level with Lobb but pushed him wide. Tough and uncompromising from the 16 year old. No catching him from there but the Gulls filled the minor places.
(10, 57.31) Easy win for Stephens but this time the Heathens settled in for a share of the points with Williams unable to make an impression at the back of Camden and the steadier looking Phelps.

Interval time and the scores tied at 30-30. Bit of an upset on the cards if Club CH could have held on. Bit of upset for the fans too as the ice-cream vendor was selling out left right and centre to the 15 minute queue searching for relief in the swealtering heat. No-one has got near the Gulls, or Seemond Stephens in particular, at any point this year but we were giving it a mighty good effort. The stage was set and it was the big guns who were to be the major players in the closing stages.


A Gulls 5-1 is overlooked by the great white cliffs of St Austell speedway.

(11, 60.06) Knowles' bike gave up the ghost on the start line with less than a minute remaining and it was Gary Phelps who eventually rode out onto the track with the loan of his machine. It wasn't to be enough as the home pairing of Barrett and Ford cruised to an easy maximum to go four points up - a lead bigger than they had held all afternoon.
(12, 59.53) Lobb was doing a fine job of protecting his partner Adrian Newman who led the race from the start until the Aussie's bike packed up and allowed Lobb the easy victory but Camden and Phelps an even easier share of the points. Heathens Lucky not to go eight down and needed to respond in style.
(13, 58.00) A great battle between Harris and Barret as they both chased Stephens out front. The Heathen split the Gulls pairing but Meakins was lost at the back giving a six point lead to the home team with just two races left. Only two 5-1s could win it for Cradley but a 5-1 and 4-2 would steal a draw.
(14, 59.09) Tac sub Chris Harris out again and not only leading the race but desperately trying to slow the race down to allow his partner Phelps to get past the St Austell pairing of Prynne and Ford. You could have thrown a blanket over all three but in the end Phelps could only split the Gulls despite a spirited effort.
(15, 57.85) Heathens needing a 5-1 to draw. A tall, tall order but Harris had beaten both home riders and Camden had shown some good form. A warcry willed the opposition on before the start and built up the afternoon's fantastic atmosphere to a final crescendo but St Austell won the toss and then the match. Stephens and Lobb took a maximum and finished with a combined total of 27 paid 28 between them. Final score 49-41.

Man of the match without doubt was young Chris Harris. OK so the gulls fielded a top three of Premier League riders who all showed their class, most notably the man-of-all-leagues, Mr.Stephens. Harris however, also a PL rider at Exeter was fast and stylish and often did his work from the back. He kept alive our chances til the death and worked hard throughout. Special further mentions for Camden and Phelps who contributed vitally as well as keeping us both entertained and amused, and also for our Welsh Wizard: that heat two ride by Gordon Meakins was a beauty!
Quote of the day goes to one of the Cradley supporters who sponsored the gleaming match trophy, and aside from the everything that made it an enjoyable day, there was one thing that unsurprsingly made a lasting impression on us all. "I've been to some places to watch speedway in my time", goes the quote, "but this one takes this biscuit".

Full marks for the track, the staff, the promotion, the racing, the efforts of most of the riders and well done the weather. What a day! To all Speedway fans everywhere - go visit St Austell!

Steve Camden Enock & Neil Painter (Left): Steve Camden pictured at St Austell.
(Right): Club CH chairman, Ian Shelton (Enock) pictured with club skipper, Neil Painter, after the Heathens victory over Mildenhall in the LP Transport Trophy.
Photo by Mark Humphries (25/07/99).
St Austell1: first bend scenery at the Motoparc St Austell2: Heathens on parade St Austell 1 (left): The first bend scenery around the Clay Country Motoparc.
St Austell 2 (right): The LP Heathens team on parade in Cornwall, (L to R) A.Holloway, C.Harris, S.Camden, D.Garrod, P.Knowles, G.Meakins, G.Phelps.

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5th August, 1999

KINGS LYNN BRAVES v CLUB CH


John Buckley Cup; at the Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn.
KINGS LYNN 'LAMBERT TRANSPORT' BRAVES.. 50 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH.. 40

Its almost becoming a cult. Its certainly justified the faith shown by the Heathens fans at the start of the year. And significantly, it just seems to get better and better. It was defeat for the Club CH team in this challenge match at Kings Lynn's Elite league venue, but it hardly seemed to matter. Strange as it sounds, it was a familiar looking Heathens line-up that joined us in the stands to watch Rye House notch up an impressive victory in the first match of the double header. Many had ridden for the Heathens several times already this season, including Buxton's Mark Steel. Now known only as 'The Boy of Steel' or simply 'Steely', this young lad has adorned himself to the fans and proved in Norfolk to be an absolute diamond. His magnificent haul of eighteen points don't even tell half the story of his superb afternoon. He carried the team with his six rides and took every opportunity to salute the fans, keeping us entertained and amused, and desperately hoping for more!

We were second on the bill in this event, following the conference league visit of Rye House to the newly renamed Norfolk Arena at Saddlebow Road. Naturally, the travelling band of merry fans took the opportunity to get even merrier before any green and white race-jackets took to track. Yet again, around 100 supporters made the journey East, bringing with them the infamous collection of flags, banners, balloons and inflatables to liven up the proceedings.

It seemed beforehand that it wasn't going to be our day though. The coach driver turned up an hour late to collect the Cradley fans, after waiting for them at the wrong location. And then reserve Elvis Jones telephoned with the news that he'd broken down in Sheffield and was being towed home. Dark clouds gathered overhead and the dust accumulated around the track as the water tank hesitated over the threat of rain. However, it was all systems go once the tapes were pulled into position for the first race.

1.(68.4) Skipper Neil Painter led the team out in heat one but he was all at sea on the Saddlebow circuit and certainly didn't lead the race. That was won by the home side's David Nix, ahead of Heathens' Phil Knowles and Braves' battling rider replacement Ricky Scarboro.
2.(66.7) Luke Clifton carried on in the next where he left off in the previous match with a flying start and stylish four laps to come home a clear winner. He was arguably Lynn's best rider of the evening and his 4-2 with Adam Fryer put the hosts four points up already. It was a return to the CH team for 'The Bouncer', Mitch Barker, who rode an impressive second, but late addition Carl Downs was a way behind in fourth.
3.(65.8) Heat three was the first appearance of the Wonder Boy. Steely fired his opening warning shot with a tapes to flag victory over Peter Boast, who was returning to action after a lengthy injury lay-off. Scarboro secured third though ahead of Dean Garrod, who seemed to struggle with both equipment and conditions.
4.(66.6) Steve Camden followed up his second place in the previous nights Conference League riders championship to become the second Heathens heat winner of the match. He fought off the pairing of Fryer and Jamie Smith with Mitch Barker this time trailing in at the back after losing out on third early on.
5.(68.8) Scarboro was out for his third ride in five races and it made for a fantastic race as he battled hard to try and get under Knowles. Boast had already raced past to take the lead and eventually the heat victory and again, Painter was out of it at the back.
6.(67.0) It was Boastie again, this time as rider replacement (for the rested Darren Groves), and it was another win for the Sheffield rider. Steve Camden chased but didn't make much impression and Nix easily beat Downs for the vital third. The Braves were now eight points up but Heathens' manager Chris Dawson cleverly held on to his tactical substitutes for the time being.
7.(65.8) A mighty fine ride saw the Boy of Steel go past both Smith and Clifton in confident fashion as the Heathens fans roared him on all the way. Garrod was at the back so the scores remained 8 points apart, and that left the opportunity for another outing for young Mark.
8.(65.5) After a customary celebration lap, a few punches in the air, waves to the crowd and tricks on the bike, Steely took a quick breather and then rolled out for the next one. Another victory was this time backed up by second place from Knowles for a Club CH wipe-out - our first heat advantage of the meeting. Nix and Fryer on the receving end could do nothing about it.
9.(66.6) It took a fine first corner from Stevie Camden to edge out the experienced Boast in the ninth, but again Ricky Scarboro won the crucial battle of the minor placings to force a 3-3.
10.(??.?) Sorry, we missed the time as all hell broke loose in the Cradley corner of the stand. Mark Steel, on a promise to come and collect our inflatable frog to aid his ever increasing victory celebrations, made a mess of the start to trail both Smith and Clifton. But it took barely a lap of stalking the Braves pairing before he dived underneath them both with a move to grace any speedway match at any level. This bunch of Heathens supporters have travelled the country many times over to watch the likes of Penhall, Gundersen and Pedersen, but Steel received as much praise and admiration as any of the afore-mentioned list of world champions. The frog was duly collected and shared a well-cheered and well deserved extra lap for our very own Boy of Steel.
11.(66.9) Revenge however was not only sweet for Kings Lynn but it was quick and easy as the same pairing of Smith and Clifton teamed up to 5-1 Painter and Knowles to bring the crowd back down to earth and the Braves up to an eight point lead again.
12.(67.2) In all truth, the Club CH side were struggling to stay in contention and needed a maximum from heat 12, if they were to mount a serious challenge on this John Buckley-sponsored Cup. While Steel came out for his fifth ride and again fought from behind to take victory, tac sub Camden was frustrated by the fast Peter Boast and we had to settle for just a 4-2.
13.(68.0) Three to go and it was getting desperate. Knowles was thrown in as another tac sub in place of the off-form Painter, but it was young Jamie Smith who earned his fourth bonus point of the match behind partner Luke Clifton to finish off the final lingering Heathens hopes. Smith became the instant villain as he briefly locked up and lost control on the second lap to inadvertently block the chasing Camden. It was hand-shakes afterwards in the pits though and all smiles from all parties after the meeting.
14.(68.1) With victory sealed, Lynn exerted their authority. Garrod pulled out after a disappointing evening, leaving the Cradley reserves to battle in vain against Scarboro and Clifton for the home team. All of a sudden, 14 points separated the teams before the final race.
15.(Awarded) There was one more issue at stake before this meeting drew to a close and it was one that the Cradley fans were rather passionate about. With five storming wins in the bag, followed by five storming celebrations on the home straight, no-one could have deserved an 18-point maximum more than Mark Steel. And sure enough, he wasn't about to let us down now with a better gate to make things easier on himself to cruise home. The race was awarded after three laps however, as Jamie Smith hit the deck with Knowles and Clifton following suit in avoiding him. The ref awarded the race as a 5-1 to Club CH as Knowles was promoted from 3rd to 2nd ahead of the excluded Smith.

So, after success at Mildenhall, a courageous performance at the fortress of St Austell and a sweet victory over arch-rivals Wolves, it was finally time to come back down to earth for the Cradley fans. Well that was how it should have been anyway. We actually "celebrated" our defeat by heading down to trackside in numbers and bringing out the CH riders for their very own rolling parade. The flag was flown on the inside of the centre green and the riders were all rewarded with bouncy inflatables to carry round the track. And as the intrepid frog, the Black Country alien and the blow-up hammers were waved around the Norfolk circuit to the fans who lined the first corner to applaud the team, you couldn't help wonder what other set of speedway supporters in all the leagues through all the years could possibly match this sort of tremendous dedication. We can only carry on fighting the cause and scenes like this can only highlight and emphasise such a travesty of justice that prevents us from competing at the highest level that this support deserves.

Individual rider scores:

"Braves" 50 (Team Manager - Bryn Williams)

1.Darren Groves R/R (8+1 points from his four prog rides)
Rested after an 'eventful' preceding match against Rye House.
2.David Nix (3 1 0 = 4)
Started with a win which will improve his confidence. Faded later though.
3.Peter Boast (2 3 3 2 2 = 12)
A good performance on his return from injury. Looked better prepared machanically than some of his younger counterparts, and rode well. Steady.
4.Ricky Scarboro (1 1' 1 1' 2' = 6+3)
A great young talent. Always filling in the positions behind the race leaders which guaranteed the home victory. A safe, dependable and level-headed performance.
5.Jamie Smith (1' 1' 1' 3 2' FX = 8+4)
Coming on in leaps and bounds now, especially around this track. Four bonus points speak volumes of his match, and he was often in the thick of things.
6.Luke Clifton (3 2 2 2' 3 3 1 = 16+1)
A very very good set of rides from a very stylish and accomplished little rider. Look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
7.Adam Fryer (1 2 1 0 = 4)
Did his job well by beating his opposite numbers, but could easily have done much more than that.

"Heathens" 40 (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)

1.Neil Painter (0 0 0 = 0)
Disappointing evening for the skipper. Never got into it. Never even looked like getting a point. Rough night sleeping in the van perhaps?
2.Phil Knowles (2 2 2 1 1 2' = 10+1)
Got stuck in and worked hard for his points but significantly never managed a race win.
3.Mark Steel (3 3 3 3 3 3 = 18 max)
I can't say enough about this performance. He did it from the back, from the front, up the inside, round the outside and he did it with style, confidence and a passion to win.
4.Dean Garrod (0 0 0 = 0)
Another point-less display from a regular Heathens performer. Disappointing weekend for Deano.
5.Steve Camden (3 2 3 1 0 = 9)
Overshadowed by Steel, but a quality heat-leader performance from his guy nevertheless.
6.Mitch Barker (2 0 0 1 = 4)
A lack of track action for The Bouncer in recent weeks will have tested his fitness today. Makes some good starts and hold his position well, but not quite fast enough to compete with some expensive conference league equipment.
7.Carl Downs (0 0 0 = 0)
Kings Lynn junior drafted in to replace Elvis Jones. Didn't score, but got involved with everything and it didn't go unnoticed. Brought bikes out for his temporary team-mates, raced out to the track to attend to fallers and even rescued our frog. Thanks mate and well done!

I needn't re-iterate man of the match. He takes it by a mile and a half and our only hope is that we can sign him up permanently when we're back in the big leagues. Many thanks for the warm welcome of the Kings Lynn fans and promotion, and the appreciative words of announcer, Malcolm Vasey. He said he was "lost in admiration" at the Cradley fans, but we're only doing what we love and what we've done throughout the years. So beware, the Heathens tour bus might just be rolling into a stadium near you in the future, but don't be afraid to come and say hello! I'll see you there...

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6th August 1999

Dudley-Wolves Trophy preview

Its the big one! This is the match which we all wanted to see when the Club CH tour rolled into action earlier in the season. Its the return of one of the deadliest rivalries in British Speedway. The Dudley-Wolves trophy is back and taking place this Monday at Monmore Green.

It may be at Conference Level, but that hasn't stopped the Cradley fans following the team in numbers around the country so far. As Club chairman, Ian Shelton said "If we took 100 to St Austell and 150 to Mildenhall, how many are we going to take to Monmore Green?". It promises to be a great nights action at a bargain speedway price, and featuring a bumper feast of racing.

Following the Dudley-Wolves trophy match, which will be run over a 13 heat traditional formula, there will be the Ivor Hughes Memorial trophy to remember the rider who lost his life riding for the Heathens.

The first half of the evening will decide the destination of the fiercely contested Black Country prize which the Heathens had a hold on throughout the nineties before the Wolves nabbed it in the last contest in 1996. This year, Cradley have shown their hand first and named the team which will be gunning to bring back the coveted title.

Flying the Green and White flag on track will be Club CH captain Neil Painter, partnered at number two by Aidan Collins, son of former Heathen Les. Ex-wolf Simon Wolstenholme, Mildenhall captain 'Deano' Garrod and the impressive comeback man Steve Camden make up a formidable looking top five. And they're backed up solidly by reserves Phil Knowles and Mark Steele. All seven riders have already turned out for Club CH at some stage this year, so you can check out their records on the

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9th August 1999
 

WOLF CUBS v CLUB CH

The 1999 Dudley-Wolves Trophy @  Monmore Green:

Varta Wolf Cubs 36 .. Club Cradley Heath LP Heathens 42

This was the one we'd all been waiting for, the Heathens fans turned up in numbers and swarmed the first bend as expected, and none were to go home disappointed. The night was to bring a much-loved victory over neighbouring Wolves along with some cracking racing and the glorious party atmosphere that has been carried all over the country again this season.

It was a night of nostalgia, not just with the traditional old derby atmosphere and the mandatory abuse of centre green presenter, Porky, but with the riders donning Cradley's old green and white 'CH' race jackets and the 13-heat formula producing a scoreline of 42-36.

It could be said that Wolves started the meeting with the upper hand, after Cradley were forced to show their hand and name their side first. Home boss, Chris Van Straaten then had the luxury of building his team to match or even have the edge over our Club CH boys. On paper it seemed that he may have succeeding in doing just that as the cubs fielded no less than three riders with extensive Premier League experience this season and some potentially big scoring back-ups to boot. However, Chris Neath apart, they mostly flattered to deceive, and the Club Cradley Heath bandwagon eventually rolled right over them.

1.(60.71) Chris Neath kicked off proceedings in style for Wolves with the first of four impressive tapes-to-flag victories on a track where he has already tasted Elite league action. The man was untouchable and in a class of his own throughout, but it was the Heathens duo of skipper Neil Painter and Aidan Collins who forced a share of the points; Collins doing it the hard way and fighting past the snoozing Adam Allot.
2.(63.44) The reserves race provided a competitive battle for the minor positions between Heathens' Phil Knowles and regular Wolf cub Matt Cambridge. In the end it was Knowles who took the point behind partner Mark Steele, but Barry Evans was the second heat winner of the night for the home side.
3.(61.37) The first Heathens heat winner came from Stevie Camden as he stretched a convincing lead over Mark Blackwell in the space of two laps. Craig Gough was fast at the back for Wolves but perhaps a little too erratic and though always close to Deano Garrod, it was the Cradley man who held on. The second bend positioning of the Monmore pits gate meant that Stevie continued round the track and at last gave us a victory lap and a chance to show him our loud appreciation!
4.(62.75) Mark 'The Boy of Steele' was out again in heat four and this time produced a stunning ride to lead home Barry Evans who in turn was chased all the way by ex-Wolf Simon Wolstenholme. Steele came round to lap up the cheers from the travelling support and stylishly celebrated almost as much as Billy Hamill when he won his world title three years ago!
5.(61.30) Aidan Collins made it look oh so easy in the next one, making very light work of the opposition pairing of Blackwell and Gough. Painter made a fighting attempt to gain second place but his over-ambition saw him relegated to the back.
6.(61.75) The Heathens' four point lead was then wiped out by the end of heat six with a maximum advantage from Neath and Allot. Before that though Phil Knowles had been excluded under the two minute time allowance and then his replacement Mark Steele hit the deck on the first bend, tactically staying down to give Wolstenholme another crack in the re-run. Alas, it proved to be in vain, but earned a rousing applause from the first benders.
7.(No time) Heat seven was awarded afer Evans fell under the crunching challenge of Camden on lap four. Wolves were on for a 5-1 until then and young Evans was none too happy with the ref's decision to exclude him and moaned long and hard with arms flapping around so much he nearly took off and flew back to the pits. Harsh but fair was the relieved verdict of the Heathens fans ;o).
8.(61.81) Flying gate and super victory for Adam Allot although eventual man of the match Aidan Collins never lost touch and chased hard all the way. The Boy of Steele battled for two laps before stalking and passing Cambridge on the third which kept the scores still level.
9.(63.41) Our man with 'the wave', Mr.Wolstenholme kept the throttle on right round the outside to emerge in front by the end of the first lap. Blackwell and Gough had both given him a run for his money from the gate but both were soon out of contention. Knowles held third for a while but missed out eventually to Gough.
10.(61.22) Easy win for Neath, followed by Camden and Garrod for Cradley. Allot tigered away behind them, but still never really looked able to make a move from the back.
11.(64.47) With three to go it was all square, and the Cradley boys finally turned the screws. A shaky, bumpy and almost heart-stopping piece of team riding from Painter on the inside and Collins round the boards put us well in control. Both were constantly looking for each other and rode a highly intelligent race to edge out Jamie Smith who barely kept in touch. Cambridge fell at the back in his third and final ride.
12.(61.68) Wolves needed something from the penultimate heat and it was a race which was certainly no anti-climax. Neath was away in the distance before the riders reached the third bend but the real action took place behind him. Wolstenholme and Camden had made reasonable gates for Cradley but both drifted out to allow Craig Gough underneath and into second. Camden gave chase and stormed back under Gough whilst waving Wolsteholme did well to avoided the stricken Wolf. The race finished in a 3-3 but Gough was unfortunate to be taken off-track in the ambulance with a twisted knee.
13.(64.75) So it was the visitors who took an almost unbeatable four point lead into the final race and were represented by on-form Painter and consistent Deano Gollob (aka Garrod). Just a second place from either would guarantee success but it was a charging first lap that saw Painter lead with Garrod third. Thats the way it stayed, Smith and Blackwell could do nothing about it and the Heathens fans went wild. War cries had preceded heat 13 but they came one after another afterwards as the heroic riders each stepped forward and lifted the Dudley-Wolves trophy. The post-victory celebrations were worthy of a league championship clincher (boy thats been a while!) and it seemed almost as sweet as any other of the many past Cradley victories at Monmore Green.

Individual scorers:

Varta Wolf Cubs (Team manager - Derek Bodley)

1.Chris Neath (3 3 3 3 = 12 max)
Untouchable, fast, very classy, in a league of his own (the Elite).
2.Adam Allot (0 2' 3 0 = 5+1)
He was much closer to riders when battling at the back but still very much an all or nothing performance from the gate.
3.Jamie Smith (0 3 1 2 = 6)
Had his moments but wasn't a heatleader and not quite consistent enough.
4.Craig Gough (0 1' 1' F = 2+1)
Fast but over enthusiastic at times. Much potential and nice style.
5.Mark Blackwell (2 2 2 0 = 6)
Not the performance we expected from the Wolves asset. Seemed low on confidence but still picked up some tidy points.
6.Barry Evans (3 2 0 = 5)
Thought he may be a trump card at reserve but was a little unlucky. Only defeat would have been to Steele if he hadn't fell in his third.
7.Matt Cambridge (0 0 F = 0)
Not quite competitive in a high quality Conference league line-up. Best moment was in his first ride but rarely threatened afterwards.

LP Heathens (Team manager - Chris Dawson)

1.Neil Painter (2 0 2' 3 = 7+1)
As he told me in the bar afterwards, he produced the goods when it mattered. Could have had more and rode with head and heart.
2.Aidan Collins (1' 3 2 3 = 9+1)
Officially chosen as man of the match. Improving all the time and looking tidier and more accomplished. Top scorer too.
3.Simon Wolstenholme (1 1 3 1' = 6+1)
Perhaps deserved more than paid seven but was often frustrated by slightly slower equipment than the premier league boys in opposition. Still the best wave in speedway ('hello mum').
4.Dean Garrod (1 1' 1' 1 = 4+2)
Scores show his consistency at picking up the minor places while rarely looking like getting a win. Solid, but also fortunate at times.
5.Steve Camden (3 2 2 2 = 9)
A very good performance to match the best riders on show. Hard in the corners and justly rewarded. At last he gave us a victory lap. Just the one mind.
6.Phil Knowles (1' XM 0 = 1+1)
Struggled with machinery which packed up on him before his second. Was passed more than he passed others usually by not holding his line.
7.Mark Steele (2 3 XT 1' = 6+1)
Seemed to enjoy himself almost as much as us on the other side of the fence. Rode well, got stuck in and unlucky to take a tumble in heat 6.

I'm not picking a man of the match personally as the scores show how much of a solid, all-round performance it was by everyone. No-one singled out for extra praise in my book and no-one for criticsm. All had ridden for Club CH at some stage before this season, they knew what it was about and the were told of the high esteem in which Cradley fans hold this much-missed Black Country derby. They went and did the job expected of them, so I can only thank them, thank the Wolves management, riders and all involved in putting the match on and most of all thank the rest of the Cradley fans for another night to remember. Long may they continue.

NB. Exclusive rider stats and averages have also now been updated to include this match. Report from the Ivor Hughes Memorial Trophy will follow later this week, along with fixture news and the latest word from Club CH. Apologies from delays, I'm just toooo busy!

=============================================================================================================

9th August 1999

IVOR HUGHES MEMORIAL TROPHY

Monmore Green, Wolverhampton

This was the second half of the Dudley-Wolves double-header, staged after Club CH had been victorious in the team event. The match was very generously sponsored and staged over nine heats plus a Grand Final. There was a total over over 500 (ukp) on offer to the conference league riders who had competed in the earlier match, as well as two more invited riders.

The 100 (ukp) winner's prize and Ivor Hughes Memorial Trophy eventually went to Wolves and Newport youngster Chris Neath, who repeated his unbeaten performance from the Dudley-Wolves match. There were also fine performances from Heathens representatives Aidan Collins (Buxton) and Steve Camden (Mildenhall), plus Sheffield and Buxton's Adam Allot.

All riders had two rides each with the best three scorers qualifying for the Grand Final. The next four scorers earned a place in the single semi-final race with only the winner gaining the last spot in the final.

Full race results:

1.(60.91) Chris Neath, Craig Gough, Neil Painter, Dean Garrod.
2.(61.78) Aidan Collins, Simon Wolstenholme, Adam Allot, Jamie Smith.
3.(63.28) Steve Camden, Phil Knowles, Mark Blackwell, Matt Cambridge.
4.(60.56) Barry Evans, Elvis Jones, Mitch Barker, Mark Steele (FX).
5.(60.56) C.Neath, S.Wolstenholme, M.Barker, M.Cambridge.
6.(62.02) A.Collins, M.Steele, M.Blackwell, C.Gough (RET).
7.(63.08) S.Camden, B.Evans, J.Smith, N.Painter.
8.(63.00) A.Allot, D.Garrod, P.Knowles, E.Jones (FX).

Semi-Final (62.73) A.Allot, S.Wolstenholme, B.Evans, P.Knowles (RET).
Grand Final: C.Neath, A.Collins, A.Allot, S.Camden.

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5th August, 1999

KINGS LYNN BRAVES v CLUB CH


John Buckley Cup; at the Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn.
KINGS LYNN 'LAMBERT TRANSPORT' BRAVES.. 50 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH.. 40

Its almost becoming a cult. Its certainly justified the faith shown by the Heathens fans at the start of the year. And significantly, it just seems to get better and better. It was defeat for the Club CH team in this challenge match at Kings Lynn's Elite league venue, but it hardly seemed to matter. Strange as it sounds, it was a familiar looking Heathens line-up that joined us in the stands to watch Rye House notch up an impressive victory in the first match of the double header. Many had ridden for the Heathens several times already this season, including Buxton's Mark Steel. Now known only as 'The Boy of Steel' or simply 'Steely', this young lad has adorned himself to the fans and proved in Norfolk to be an absolute diamond. His magnificent haul of eighteen points don't even tell half the story of his superb afternoon. He carried the team with his six rides and took every opportunity to salute the fans, keeping us entertained and amused, and desperately hoping for more!

We were second on the bill in this event, following the conference league visit of Rye House to the newly renamed Norfolk Arena at Saddlebow Road. Naturally, the travelling band of merry fans took the opportunity to get even merrier before any green and white race-jackets took to track. Yet again, around 100 supporters made the journey East, bringing with them the infamous collection of flags, banners, balloons and inflatables to liven up the proceedings.

It seemed beforehand that it wasn't going to be our day though. The coach driver turned up an hour late to collect the Cradley fans, after waiting for them at the wrong location. And then reserve Elvis Jones telephoned with the news that he'd broken down in Sheffield and was being towed home. Dark clouds gathered overhead and the dust accumulated around the track as the water tank hesitated over the threat of rain. However, it was all systems go once the tapes were pulled into position for the first race.

1.(68.4) Skipper Neil Painter led the team out in heat one but he was all at sea on the Saddlebow circuit and certainly didn't lead the race. That was won by the home side's David Nix, ahead of Heathens' Phil Knowles and Braves' battling rider replacement Ricky Scarboro.
2.(66.7) Luke Clifton carried on in the next where he left off in the previous match with a flying start and stylish four laps to come home a clear winner. He was arguably Lynn's best rider of the evening and his 4-2 with Adam Fryer put the hosts four points up already. It was a return to the CH team for 'The Bouncer', Mitch Barker, who rode an impressive second, but late addition Carl Downs was a way behind in fourth.
3.(65.8) Heat three was the first appearance of the Wonder Boy. Steely fired his opening warning shot with a tapes to flag victory over Peter Boast, who was returning to action after a lengthy injury lay-off. Scarboro secured third though ahead of Dean Garrod, who seemed to struggle with both equipment and conditions.
4.(66.6) Steve Camden followed up his second place in the previous nights Conference League riders championship to become the second Heathens heat winner of the match. He fought off the pairing of Fryer and Jamie Smith with Mitch Barker this time trailing in at the back after losing out on third early on.
5.(68.8) Scarboro was out for his third ride in five races and it made for a fantastic race as he battled hard to try and get under Knowles. Boast had already raced past to take the lead and eventually the heat victory and again, Painter was out of it at the back.
6.(67.0) It was Boastie again, this time as rider replacement (for the rested Darren Groves), and it was another win for the Sheffield rider. Steve Camden chased but didn't make much impression and Nix easily beat Downs for the vital third. The Braves were now eight points up but Heathens' manager Chris Dawson cleverly held on to his tactical substitutes for the time being.
7.(65.8) A mighty fine ride saw the Boy of Steel go past both Smith and Clifton in confident fashion as the Heathens fans roared him on all the way. Garrod was at the back so the scores remained 8 points apart, and that left the opportunity for another outing for young Mark.
8.(65.5) After a customary celebration lap, a few punches in the air, waves to the crowd and tricks on the bike, Steely took a quick breather and then rolled out for the next one. Another victory was this time backed up by second place from Knowles for a Club CH wipe-out - our first heat advantage of the meeting. Nix and Fryer on the receving end could do nothing about it.
9.(66.6) It took a fine first corner from Stevie Camden to edge out the experienced Boast in the ninth, but again Ricky Scarboro won the crucial battle of the minor placings to force a 3-3.
10.(??.?) Sorry, we missed the time as all hell broke loose in the Cradley corner of the stand. Mark Steel, on a promise to come and collect our inflatable frog to aid his ever increasing victory celebrations, made a mess of the start to trail both Smith and Clifton. But it took barely a lap of stalking the Braves pairing before he dived underneath them both with a move to grace any speedway match at any level. This bunch of Heathens supporters have travelled the country many times over to watch the likes of Penhall, Gundersen and Pedersen, but Steel received as much praise and admiration as any of the afore-mentioned list of world champions. The frog was duly collected and shared a well-cheered and well deserved extra lap for our very own Boy of Steel.
11.(66.9) Revenge however was not only sweet for Kings Lynn but it was quick and easy as the same pairing of Smith and Clifton teamed up to 5-1 Painter and Knowles to bring the crowd back down to earth and the Braves up to an eight point lead again.
12.(67.2) In all truth, the Club CH side were struggling to stay in contention and needed a maximum from heat 12, if they were to mount a serious challenge on this John Buckley-sponsored Cup. While Steel came out for his fifth ride and again fought from behind to take victory, tac sub Camden was frustrated by the fast Peter Boast and we had to settle for just a 4-2.
13.(68.0) Three to go and it was getting desperate. Knowles was thrown in as another tac sub in place of the off-form Painter, but it was young Jamie Smith who earned his fourth bonus point of the match behind partner Luke Clifton to finish off the final lingering Heathens hopes. Smith became the instant villain as he briefly locked up and lost control on the second lap to inadvertently block the chasing Camden. It was hand-shakes afterwards in the pits though and all smiles from all parties after the meeting.
14.(68.1) With victory sealed, Lynn exerted their authority. Garrod pulled out after a disappointing evening, leaving the Cradley reserves to battle in vain against Scarboro and Clifton for the home team. All of a sudden, 14 points separated the teams before the final race.
15.(Awarded) There was one more issue at stake before this meeting drew to a close and it was one that the Cradley fans were rather passionate about. With five storming wins in the bag, followed by five storming celebrations on the home straight, no-one could have deserved an 18-point maximum more than Mark Steel. And sure enough, he wasn't about to let us down now with a better gate to make things easier on himself to cruise home. The race was awarded after three laps however, as Jamie Smith hit the deck with Knowles and Clifton following suit in avoiding him. The ref awarded the race as a 5-1 to Club CH as Knowles was promoted from 3rd to 2nd ahead of the excluded Smith.

So, after success at Mildenhall, a courageous performance at the fortress of St Austell and a sweet victory over arch-rivals Wolves, it was finally time to come back down to earth for the Cradley fans. Well that was how it should have been anyway. We actually "celebrated" our defeat by heading down to trackside in numbers and bringing out the CH riders for their very own rolling parade. The flag was flown on the inside of the centre green and the riders were all rewarded with bouncy inflatables to carry round the track. And as the intrepid frog, the Black Country alien and the blow-up hammers were waved around the Norfolk circuit to the fans who lined the first corner to applaud the team, you couldn't help wonder what other set of speedway supporters in all the leagues through all the years could possibly match this sort of tremendous dedication. We can only carry on fighting the cause and scenes like this can only highlight and emphasise such a travesty of justice that prevents us from competing at the highest level that this support deserves.

Individual rider scores:

"Braves" 50 (Team Manager - Bryn Williams)

1.Darren Groves R/R (8+1 points from his four prog rides)
Rested after an 'eventful' preceding match against Rye House.
2.David Nix (3 1 0 = 4)
Started with a win which will improve his confidence. Faded later though.
3.Peter Boast (2 3 3 2 2 = 12)
A good performance on his return from injury. Looked better prepared machanically than some of his younger counterparts, and rode well. Steady.
4.Ricky Scarboro (1 1' 1 1' 2' = 6+3)
A great young talent. Always filling in the positions behind the race leaders which guaranteed the home victory. A safe, dependable and level-headed performance.
5.Jamie Smith (1' 1' 1' 3 2' FX = 8+4)
Coming on in leaps and bounds now, especially around this track. Four bonus points speak volumes of his match, and he was often in the thick of things.
6.Luke Clifton (3 2 2 2' 3 3 1 = 16+1)
A very very good set of rides from a very stylish and accomplished little rider. Look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
7.Adam Fryer (1 2 1 0 = 4)
Did his job well by beating his opposite numbers, but could easily have done much more than that.

"Heathens" 40 (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)

1.Neil Painter (0 0 0 = 0)
Disappointing evening for the skipper. Never got into it. Never even looked like getting a point. Rough night sleeping in the van perhaps?
2.Phil Knowles (2 2 2 1 1 2' = 10+1)
Got stuck in and worked hard for his points but significantly never managed a race win.
3.Mark Steel (3 3 3 3 3 3 = 18 max)
I can't say enough about this performance. He did it from the back, from the front, up the inside, round the outside and he did it with style, confidence and a passion to win.
4.Dean Garrod (0 0 0 = 0)
Another point-less display from a regular Heathens performer. Disappointing weekend for Deano.
5.Steve Camden (3 2 3 1 0 = 9)
Overshadowed by Steel, but a quality heat-leader performance from his guy nevertheless.
6.Mitch Barker (2 0 0 1 = 4)
A lack of track action for The Bouncer in recent weeks will have tested his fitness today. Makes some good starts and hold his position well, but not quite fast enough to compete with some expensive conference league equipment.
7.Carl Downs (0 0 0 = 0)
Kings Lynn junior drafted in to replace Elvis Jones. Didn't score, but got involved with everything and it didn't go unnoticed. Brought bikes out for his temporary team-mates, raced out to the track to attend to fallers and even rescued our frog. Thanks mate and well done!

I needn't re-iterate man of the match. He takes it by a mile and a half and our only hope is that we can sign him up permanently when we're back in the big leagues. Many thanks for the warm welcome of the Kings Lynn fans and promotion, and the appreciative words of announcer, Malcolm Vasey. He said he was "lost in admiration" at the Cradley fans, but we're only doing what we love and what we've done throughout the years. So beware, the Heathens tour bus might just be rolling into a stadium near you in the future, but don't be afraid to come and say hello! I'll see you there...

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5th August, 1999

KINGS LYNN BRAVES v CLUB CH


John Buckley Cup; at the Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn.
KINGS LYNN 'LAMBERT TRANSPORT' BRAVES.. 50 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH.. 40

Its almost becoming a cult. Its certainly justified the faith shown by the Heathens fans at the start of the year. And significantly, it just seems to get better and better. It was defeat for the Club CH team in this challenge match at Kings Lynn's Elite league venue, but it hardly seemed to matter. Strange as it sounds, it was a familiar looking Heathens line-up that joined us in the stands to watch Rye House notch up an impressive victory in the first match of the double header. Many had ridden for the Heathens several times already this season, including Buxton's Mark Steel. Now known only as 'The Boy of Steel' or simply 'Steely', this young lad has adorned himself to the fans and proved in Norfolk to be an absolute diamond. His magnificent haul of eighteen points don't even tell half the story of his superb afternoon. He carried the team with his six rides and took every opportunity to salute the fans, keeping us entertained and amused, and desperately hoping for more!

We were second on the bill in this event, following the conference league visit of Rye House to the newly renamed Norfolk Arena at Saddlebow Road. Naturally, the travelling band of merry fans took the opportunity to get even merrier before any green and white race-jackets took to track. Yet again, around 100 supporters made the journey East, bringing with them the infamous collection of flags, banners, balloons and inflatables to liven up the proceedings.

It seemed beforehand that it wasn't going to be our day though. The coach driver turned up an hour late to collect the Cradley fans, after waiting for them at the wrong location. And then reserve Elvis Jones telephoned with the news that he'd broken down in Sheffield and was being towed home. Dark clouds gathered overhead and the dust accumulated around the track as the water tank hesitated over the threat of rain. However, it was all systems go once the tapes were pulled into position for the first race.

1.(68.4) Skipper Neil Painter led the team out in heat one but he was all at sea on the Saddlebow circuit and certainly didn't lead the race. That was won by the home side's David Nix, ahead of Heathens' Phil Knowles and Braves' battling rider replacement Ricky Scarboro.
2.(66.7) Luke Clifton carried on in the next where he left off in the previous match with a flying start and stylish four laps to come home a clear winner. He was arguably Lynn's best rider of the evening and his 4-2 with Adam Fryer put the hosts four points up already. It was a return to the CH team for 'The Bouncer', Mitch Barker, who rode an impressive second, but late addition Carl Downs was a way behind in fourth.
3.(65.8) Heat three was the first appearance of the Wonder Boy. Steely fired his opening warning shot with a tapes to flag victory over Peter Boast, who was returning to action after a lengthy injury lay-off. Scarboro secured third though ahead of Dean Garrod, who seemed to struggle with both equipment and conditions.
4.(66.6) Steve Camden followed up his second place in the previous nights Conference League riders championship to become the second Heathens heat winner of the match. He fought off the pairing of Fryer and Jamie Smith with Mitch Barker this time trailing in at the back after losing out on third early on.
5.(68.8) Scarboro was out for his third ride in five races and it made for a fantastic race as he battled hard to try and get under Knowles. Boast had already raced past to take the lead and eventually the heat victory and again, Painter was out of it at the back.
6.(67.0) It was Boastie again, this time as rider replacement (for the rested Darren Groves), and it was another win for the Sheffield rider. Steve Camden chased but didn't make much impression and Nix easily beat Downs for the vital third. The Braves were now eight points up but Heathens' manager Chris Dawson cleverly held on to his tactical substitutes for the time being.
7.(65.8) A mighty fine ride saw the Boy of Steel go past both Smith and Clifton in confident fashion as the Heathens fans roared him on all the way. Garrod was at the back so the scores remained 8 points apart, and that left the opportunity for another outing for young Mark.
8.(65.5) After a customary celebration lap, a few punches in the air, waves to the crowd and tricks on the bike, Steely took a quick breather and then rolled out for the next one. Another victory was this time backed up by second place from Knowles for a Club CH wipe-out - our first heat advantage of the meeting. Nix and Fryer on the receving end could do nothing about it.
9.(66.6) It took a fine first corner from Stevie Camden to edge out the experienced Boast in the ninth, but again Ricky Scarboro won the crucial battle of the minor placings to force a 3-3.
10.(??.?) Sorry, we missed the time as all hell broke loose in the Cradley corner of the stand. Mark Steel, on a promise to come and collect our inflatable frog to aid his ever increasing victory celebrations, made a mess of the start to trail both Smith and Clifton. But it took barely a lap of stalking the Braves pairing before he dived underneath them both with a move to grace any speedway match at any level. This bunch of Heathens supporters have travelled the country many times over to watch the likes of Penhall, Gundersen and Pedersen, but Steel received as much praise and admiration as any of the afore-mentioned list of world champions. The frog was duly collected and shared a well-cheered and well deserved extra lap for our very own Boy of Steel.
11.(66.9) Revenge however was not only sweet for Kings Lynn but it was quick and easy as the same pairing of Smith and Clifton teamed up to 5-1 Painter and Knowles to bring the crowd back down to earth and the Braves up to an eight point lead again.
12.(67.2) In all truth, the Club CH side were struggling to stay in contention and needed a maximum from heat 12, if they were to mount a serious challenge on this John Buckley-sponsored Cup. While Steel came out for his fifth ride and again fought from behind to take victory, tac sub Camden was frustrated by the fast Peter Boast and we had to settle for just a 4-2.
13.(68.0) Three to go and it was getting desperate. Knowles was thrown in as another tac sub in place of the off-form Painter, but it was young Jamie Smith who earned his fourth bonus point of the match behind partner Luke Clifton to finish off the final lingering Heathens hopes. Smith became the instant villain as he briefly locked up and lost control on the second lap to inadvertently block the chasing Camden. It was hand-shakes afterwards in the pits though and all smiles from all parties after the meeting.
14.(68.1) With victory sealed, Lynn exerted their authority. Garrod pulled out after a disappointing evening, leaving the Cradley reserves to battle in vain against Scarboro and Clifton for the home team. All of a sudden, 14 points separated the teams before the final race.
15.(Awarded) There was one more issue at stake before this meeting drew to a close and it was one that the Cradley fans were rather passionate about. With five storming wins in the bag, followed by five storming celebrations on the home straight, no-one could have deserved an 18-point maximum more than Mark Steel. And sure enough, he wasn't about to let us down now with a better gate to make things easier on himself to cruise home. The race was awarded after three laps however, as Jamie Smith hit the deck with Knowles and Clifton following suit in avoiding him. The ref awarded the race as a 5-1 to Club CH as Knowles was promoted from 3rd to 2nd ahead of the excluded Smith.

So, after success at Mildenhall, a courageous performance at the fortress of St Austell and a sweet victory over arch-rivals Wolves, it was finally time to come back down to earth for the Cradley fans. Well that was how it should have been anyway. We actually "celebrated" our defeat by heading down to trackside in numbers and bringing out the CH riders for their very own rolling parade. The flag was flown on the inside of the centre green and the riders were all rewarded with bouncy inflatables to carry round the track. And as the intrepid frog, the Black Country alien and the blow-up hammers were waved around the Norfolk circuit to the fans who lined the first corner to applaud the team, you couldn't help wonder what other set of speedway supporters in all the leagues through all the years could possibly match this sort of tremendous dedication. We can only carry on fighting the cause and scenes like this can only highlight and emphasise such a travesty of justice that prevents us from competing at the highest level that this support deserves.

Individual rider scores:

"Braves" 50 (Team Manager - Bryn Williams)

1.Darren Groves R/R (8+1 points from his four prog rides)
Rested after an 'eventful' preceding match against Rye House.
2.David Nix (3 1 0 = 4)
Started with a win which will improve his confidence. Faded later though.
3.Peter Boast (2 3 3 2 2 = 12)
A good performance on his return from injury. Looked better prepared machanically than some of his younger counterparts, and rode well. Steady.
4.Ricky Scarboro (1 1' 1 1' 2' = 6+3)
A great young talent. Always filling in the positions behind the race leaders which guaranteed the home victory. A safe, dependable and level-headed performance.
5.Jamie Smith (1' 1' 1' 3 2' FX = 8+4)
Coming on in leaps and bounds now, especially around this track. Four bonus points speak volumes of his match, and he was often in the thick of things.
6.Luke Clifton (3 2 2 2' 3 3 1 = 16+1)
A very very good set of rides from a very stylish and accomplished little rider. Look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
7.Adam Fryer (1 2 1 0 = 4)
Did his job well by beating his opposite numbers, but could easily have done much more than that.

"Heathens" 40 (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)

1.Neil Painter (0 0 0 = 0)
Disappointing evening for the skipper. Never got into it. Never even looked like getting a point. Rough night sleeping in the van perhaps?
2.Phil Knowles (2 2 2 1 1 2' = 10+1)
Got stuck in and worked hard for his points but significantly never managed a race win.
3.Mark Steel (3 3 3 3 3 3 = 18 max)
I can't say enough about this performance. He did it from the back, from the front, up the inside, round the outside and he did it with style, confidence and a passion to win.
4.Dean Garrod (0 0 0 = 0)
Another point-less display from a regular Heathens performer. Disappointing weekend for Deano.
5.Steve Camden (3 2 3 1 0 = 9)
Overshadowed by Steel, but a quality heat-leader performance from his guy nevertheless.
6.Mitch Barker (2 0 0 1 = 4)
A lack of track action for The Bouncer in recent weeks will have tested his fitness today. Makes some good starts and hold his position well, but not quite fast enough to compete with some expensive conference league equipment.
7.Carl Downs (0 0 0 = 0)
Kings Lynn junior drafted in to replace Elvis Jones. Didn't score, but got involved with everything and it didn't go unnoticed. Brought bikes out for his temporary team-mates, raced out to the track to attend to fallers and even rescued our frog. Thanks mate and well done!

I needn't re-iterate man of the match. He takes it by a mile and a half and our only hope is that we can sign him up permanently when we're back in the big leagues. Many thanks for the warm welcome of the Kings Lynn fans and promotion, and the appreciative words of announcer, Malcolm Vasey. He said he was "lost in admiration" at the Cradley fans, but we're only doing what we love and what we've done throughout the years. So beware, the Heathens tour bus might just be rolling into a stadium near you in the future, but don't be afraid to come and say hello! I'll see you there...

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13th August 1999

CL Riders Final & Kings Lynn trip

The Conference League organisers and the BSPA have confirmed that Club Cradley Heath will be allowed a representative in the forthcoming Conference League Riders Championship. The even takes place this Saturday night at Mildenhall and the Heathens colours will be worn by Phil Knowles, who has ridden for Club CH on three occasions so far.

Phil started the season with the Fen Tigers and is a track specialist at the West Row circuit. As he is not currently contracted to any Conference League club though, he will be allowed to represent Club Cradley, even though we do not have an official team in the league. Six of the seven CL teams all have two riders each in the final, with hosts Mildenhall taking three places and the final spot is filled by Knowles.

The former Belle Vue rider has been struggling with machinery lately, but if he can get his bikes sorted out, he will surely be in with as good a chance as anyone in the field. Meanwhile, the Club CH squad is in action the following day at Kings Lynn. Its been four years since the Heathens last visited the recently renamed Norfolk Arena (formerly Saddlebow Road stadium), but another good following of supporters is expected to take up the usual Heathens position on the terraces.

Once again, as for every match this year, a coach has been filled and many cars will be making the journey to keep the fantastic level of support going. The tie could well be the penultimate meeting of the 1999 season for Club CH with one more fixture hopefully to be announced in September. Match report for the Norfolk Braves versus the Heathens will appear on the site early next week.

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December 1999

The second Annual General Meeting of Club Cradley Heath will be held early in 2000 to decide on the best course of action for the new season. Options range from the financially hazardous application to join the conference league to not running any team at all, but the more likely route seems to be to continue with the same setup as in 1999. News will appear here as and when it is available.
Meanwhile, Buxton's Mark Steele was voted Rider of the Year for 1999. He was presented with his award at the end of season celebration, and was joined by runner-up Aidan Collins plus five more Club CH riders from the first year of racing.

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Results & Match Reports 1999

Click on the links to see the match reports for each of the meetings...
N.B. All Club CH meetings were sponsored and although officially challenge matches, the meeting title is provided where possible. The Club Cradley Heath team was sponsored for the whole of 1999 by LP Transport of Tividale, West Midlands.

1. Sunday 30th May: Beaconsfield Spring Trophy. Now with photos!
... Buxton "Hitmen" 48 Club Cradley Heath 30.

2. Sunday 13th June: D & H Autos Spring Trophy (4TT) at Buxton.
... Buxton v Coventry v Belle Vue v Club CH

3. Sunday 27th June: LP Transport Trophy
... Mildenhall "Fen Tigers" 41 Club Cradley Heath 47.

4. Sunday 25th July: J & A Supporters Trophy
... St Austell BWOC "Gulls" 49 Club Cradley Heath 41. Photos coming soon!

5. Monday 9th August: The 1999 Dudley-Wolves Trophy.
... Varta Wolf Cubs 36 Club Cradley Heath 42.
... Followed by the Ivor Hughes Memorial Trophy (Individual Event)

6. Sunday 15th August: The John Buckley Cup.
... Kings Lynn "Braves" 50 Club Cradley Heath 40.

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Rider Statistics 1999

Some interesting facts to point out this time around:
...Despite seven matches between them, neither Steve Camden and Mitch Barker registered a bonus point.
...According to my figures, we suffered only three engine failures during a race, all season; the first a big blow-up for Freddie Stephenson and the other two for The Bouncer, Mitch Barker. Any riders know any different!?
...The Boy of Steel became the Cradley rider with most race wins of 1999, closely followed by the man with the wave, Simon Wolstenholme.
...And not counting an exclusion in the Wolves match, 'Steely' did not record a single last place for Club CH.

On with the figures now. Here are the 18 riders who have represented Club Cradley Heath in 1999. Thanks to you all!

			ave	M	P	B	T	R
1.Carl WILKINSON		12.00	1	6	0	6	2
2.Chris HARRIS		10.29	1	18	0	18	7
3.Mark STEELE		9.43	3	31	2	33	14
4.Simon WOLSTENHOLME	8.67	3	25	1	26	12
5.Mark BLACKWELL		8.00	1	11	1	12	6
6.Paul BURNETT		8.00	1	7	1	8	4
7.Aidan COLLINS		7.56	2	14	3	17	9
8.Steve CAMDEN		7.47	3	28	0	28	15
9.Gary PHELPS		6.40	1	6	2	8	5
10.Philip KNOWLES		6.22	4	26	2	28	18
11.Neil PAINTER		6.00	3	14	4	18	12
12.Freddie STEPHENSON	6.00	1	9	0	9	6
13.Dean GARROD		5.07	4	16	3	19	15
14.Elvis JONES		4.57	2	6	2	8	7
15.David NIX		3.00	1	3	0	3	4
16.Gordon MEAKINS		2.50	2	4	1	5	8
17.Mitchell BARKER		2.25	4	9	0	9	16
18.Carl DOWNS		0.00	1	0	0	0	3

Key: Ave = Average(CMA), M = Matches, P = Points, B = Bonus Points,
     T = Total Points, R = Total no. of rides.

NB. I know its a little unusual to include a four team tournament result along with regular matches, but in the case of us only riding a handful of fixtures this season, I'm including them all!


January 14th 2000

Club CH AGM

The Annual General Meeting for Club CH will be held on Sunday 16th January at Cradley Heath Liberal Club, Bank Street, Cradley Heath. This will be followed by a general update from Bob Edwards on behalf of CRASH. The first part of the evening will be for members only and will run until 9pm, while the second part is open to all.
Any members wishing to renew their membership and unable to attend, or anyone who would like to join for the first time in 2000 can do so by post. Send a cheque or postal order for 3.00 ukp (or 25.00 ukp for gold members), made payable to Club CH, to the following address: 24 Vale Road, Netherton, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 9HZ. Alternatively, e-mail me for more details.

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January 17th 2000

Club CH to Carry on

The decision was made at the recent Annual General Meeting for Club CH to carry on in 2000 as we were last season. That means more fixtures for the Cradley fans to attend this year, but as expected, no intention to enter the Conference League due to the increased cost.
Over 120 members attended the AGM to see the full committee of 1999 all re-elected. However this means that there are another 170 members from last season who didn't attend, but will hopefully continue to support the project by renewing their membership. New members are also welcome, at the cost of 3.00 (normal) or 25.00 (gold membership). Last year the club attracted an income of 8,000 from membership and fund-raising, of which 7,000 was spent during the season.
Plans will now be put in place to attract at least a similar level of sponsorship as in 1999 where every meeting was individually sponsored. A new team line-up will also need to be constructed with several of last years riders moving on to the Premier League.
Further developments will appear here regularly as the count down to the season begins.

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January 23rd 2000

PLANS FOR BILLY HAMILL TESTIMONIAL

With plans well underway for Billy Hamill's 10 year testimonial at Coventry on March 26th, Club CH are proud to have been invited to join in the Brandon celebration at the start of this season. One of the meeting organisers, Craig Cummings, has approached the Club Cradley committee to ask if they will compete in a mini-match at some stage during the afternoon's proceedings.
No firm plans have been decided at the moment, but Billy is keen to have Club CH involved, and it will be an added attraction for the many Cradley supporters who are intending on making the journey to Coventry for the day.
Meanwhile, on the rider front, Heathens fans' favourite of 1999 Carl Wilkinson has signed for the new Boston Conference League team. The Barracuda-Braves will be riding their home matches at Kings Lynn's Norfolk Arena track in 2000 with a view to returning the sport to Boston in 2001. We wish Carl all the best but also hope to see him back in our green and white as soon as possible.

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January 30th 2000

FRIENDS OF CLUB CH GET FIXED UP

Another major signing for the new-look Boston team sees our Club CH rider of the year, Mark Steel, become the latest addition to the Norfolk-based club. The talented teenager and former Coventry mascot joins our friend Carl Wilkinson among others already confirmed for the Barracuda-Braves, after spending 1999 with Buxton. Theres no rush for team planning in the Heathens camp as once again no riders will be tied exclusively to the club.
Meanwhile, a meeting of prospective Conference League clubs is scheduled for the 6th February, where it is expected that several new clubs may enter the 2000 league. Sheffield have confirmed their intention to run and have already begun team building, while other possibilities remain including the likes of Somerset, if they achieve planning permission, and Belle Vue, if they can agree a rental deal for the stadium. It provides the prospect of some new teams for the Club CH entourage to visit this season to add to the successful meetings of last year.

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February 6th 2000

Chris Dawson continues

Billy Hamill's testimonial commitee have confirmed that Club CH will be competing in a junior challenge tournament as part of the afternoon's entertainment at Brandon on March 26th. The event is scheduled to take place before the main riders event, and more details will be here on the site as the date approaches. Meanwhile, Club Cradley Heath have announced that Essex-based Chris Dawson will continue as team manager for match days this season. Chris, a popular figure among fans, is an ex-Heathens junior team manager, and guideded the young CH stars in 1999.

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February 12th 2000

Conference League increases to Ten teams

The Conference League AGM took place this week and the major result was the increased membership to ten teams. The competition in 2000 will still involve one home and away match against every other club and the participating ten are: Boston, Buxton, Linlithgow, Mildenhall, Newport, Peterborough, Rye House, Sheffield, Somerset & St Austell.
Belle Vue could not agree a reduced rent figure with their stadium landlords and Southampton have been unable to secure a home track of their own. Preliminary discussions have already taken place with many promoters with regards to organising fixtures for Club CH. With league matches a priority though, it is unlikely that any dates can be confirmed in the forseeable future.
The one existing date however is Billy Hamill's testimonial in which the Heathens will definitely compete in a four team tournament against the Coventry Bees, with Peterborough and Wolves likely to make up the line-up.

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February 21st 2000

Sponsors & Membership Appeal!

The Heathens have received a welcome boost with the news that main sponsors, L.P.Transport will continue to back the Club CH team in 2000. In addition, Beaconsfield Products have also pledged their continued support, further to their involvement in 1999. The club committee will now concentrate on attracting a similar level of sponsorship to last season where every meeting was backed.
There is also an ongoing appeal for new & old members. The club attracted sufficient funds in 1999 to cover all costs and make a small profit, thanks largely to the invaluable combination of sponsorship and supporters membership. It costs just 3.00 to help keep the Heathens name alive, or 25.00 to offer your support as a gold member. Existing members are asked to renew their membership now, and its not too late to join and do your bit. You don't even have to be a Cradley fan, just a like-minded speedway enthusiast! Send cheques made payable to Club CH, 24, Vale Road, Netherton, Dudley, West Midlands DY2 9HZ or e-mail me for more details.

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February 28th 2000

FUNDRAISING DISCO

Club CH are holding a fundraising disco this Friday night at Cradley Heath Liberal Club in Bank Street, Cradley Heath. The theme will be 60s and 70s with proceeds as usual helping to boost the fund for the Heathens' Conference challenge matches in 2000. The start time is 8pm.
Meanwhile with the Conference League sorting itself out, Heathens fans will be looking ahead to fixtures for the coming season. It is expected that Buxton & Mildenhall will be able to accomodate us again, along with newcomers Somerset who have been given planning permission for 30 meetings this year. Other clubs such as Peterborough, Boston, Rye House, Newport & St Austell may have a problem with a lack of Sunday dates, but Sheffield could be running some of their CL meetings on free Sundays at Owlerton in the Summer.

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March 6th 2000

THE SEARCH FOR RIDERS

The search for the Heathens squad of 2000 has now officially commenced! With almost all of last season's riders still eligible to compete in the Conference League, it is hoped that the team will retain a familiar element for the Club CH fans, as well as a new dimension from some incoming additions.
However, two of the '99 bunch - Aidan Collins & Freddie Stephenson - have already secured new Premier League berths with Glasgow and Berwick respectively, and with the Tigers riding on Sundays it seems unlikely that Aidan will be regularly available for us.
It is hoped that last years riders will be as keen as ever to turn out for the Heathens, although its fully appreciated that their parent clubs obviously take first priority. In addition, the club would welcome any new riders wanting to gain some extra experience in the famous green & white, and can be contacted by phone on 07788 886765 or by e-mail at the usual address news on any signings will be here as soon as its announced.

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March 11th 2000

First fixture confirmed!

Its an earlier than expected start to the season for Cradley fans, with the confirmation this week of the LP Heathens first full fixture for 2000...
Following the appearance in a junior challenge preceding Billy Hamill's testimonial meeting at Coventry on March 26th, Club CH will face the new BOSTON Barracuda-Braves two weeks later. The match will take place on SATURDAY 8th APRIL at Kings Lynn's Norfolk Arena (formerly Saddlebow Road stadium).
It will be a tough start to the campaign of matches for our lads as the Barracudas include the familiar names of Mark Steel, Carl Wilkinson & Dean Garrod in the newly formed squad. Riders for the Club CH team will be announced here as soon as they are available, along with coach travel details from Cradley Heath.

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March 20th 2000

First fixture gets closer

The first Club CH appearance of the year is now drawing ever- closer, and the three riders who will lead the LP Heathens into 2000 have been confirmed. As you may have read on the Fans Forum, two of last year's favourites Neil Painter and Carl Wilkinson will be joined by Boston younsgter Luke Clifton, in the side to open up Billy Hamill's testimonial at Coventry this Sunday (March 26th, 1.30pm). Clifton will be staking his claim to become a regular for the Club Cradley matches this season as he has been added to the main pool of riders along with the experienced Peter Boast, and the talented Buxton youngster, Paul Burnett. They will provide some useful support to some of the continuing riders who turned out in the green and white last season, and it is hoped to announce most of the team to face Boston on April 8th very soon.
Elsewhere in the Conference League, Somerset have begun the massive task of building their track from scratch in time for the Summer, and have signed ex-CL riders champ, Steve Bishop to boost their resources, from under the noses of Southern opponents St Austell. Sheffield have announced nine dates for Conference matches in 2000, but all of these are currently required for league fixtures only....And congratulations to our Rider of the Season '99 - Mark Steel - on securing his big step up to the Premier League this week. The Boy of Steel has signed for Swindon to fill their vacant number seven slot, and we wish him all the best for the coming season.

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March 29th 2000

First team finalised

The Club CH committee have finalised the first team of the new season to face Boston a week on Saturday at the Norfolk Arena (Kings Lynn). Skipper Neil Painter leads the LP Heathens again as they face a tough opening test against the Barracudas who include Mark Steel, Carl Wilkinson, Peter Boast and Luke Clifton in their own line-up. The Heathens will be relying on the experience of Steve Camden who served us well in '99 along with Buxton's 'Hitmen', Paul Burnett and James Mann. Mark Blackwell is drafted back into the squad for the first time since last seasons opening fixture and David Nix makes his first full appearance after riding in the D&H Autos four team tournament last June. The line-up is completed by Phil Knowles who will be a potent reserve force, judging by his four previous appearances in the CH team.
The full riding order is as follows: 1: N.Painter, 2: P.Burnett, 3: J.Mann, 4: M.Blackwell, 5: S.Camden, 6: D.Nix, 7: P.Knowles. The action starts at 7.30pm and coach travel is available from the Cradley area as always by phoning 01384 823508

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April 3rd 2000

BOSTON v CLUB CH FIRST FIXTURE

Boston - Club CH opponents for this coming Saturday - had a nightmare start to their 2000 season over last weekend.
Not only was it a double-defeat at the hands of local rivals Mildenhall, but the Lincolnshire club also suffered injuries to two key riders - both familar to Heathens fans. The ever-improving Mark Steel picked up an arm injury and new Club CH recruit Luke Clifton ended up with damaged ribs. Both were due to ride for their club against the Heathens this weekend so we await further news on their condition. One of our heatleaders for Saturday night, Steve Camden, top scored for Mildenhall in the second leg, while young Carl Wilkinson notched 9 at home for the Barracuda-Braves.
Meanwhile, in other news, you can add the date of Friday 16th June to your diaries for the Heathens' first ever visit to the home of the Somerset Rebels. A new Fixtures & Results page will be added next week to make sure you stay up to date througout the season.

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April 4th 2000

CLUB CH RIDERS HURT BEFORE THE START

News in brief... Mark Steel's wrist injury suffered last weekend, seems to be just bruising. Indiciations are that no bones were broken, but the Boston rider did also suffer facial injuries. His Boston (and Club CH) team-mate Luke Clifton came out of the same meeting with rib and elbow damage. Again, it seems that there are no broken bones but Luke may have chipped a bone in his elbow.

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... Season Preview 2000 ...

The final countdown is now on for the 2000 season, and Club Cradley Heath are about to embark on our second season of unique operation. We may not have a home track, we may not be in any league and we may only be racing challenge matches, but the atmosphere and entertainment has so far been second to none.
A schedule of around six matches is again planned with the hope that we can match the standards that were set in 1999. By way of a preview to the season, we look back here to the last match of last season, against Kings Lynn in August, where Mark Steel stole the headlines.
The start to the new century of racing for the current Heathens began with Billy Hamill's testimonial, but the first full fixture is coincidentally back at Kings Lynn, where Boston are the new Conference League residents.
The quotes come from the web site match report, still available on the fixtures and results page of the Club CH '99 section...


"We were second on the bill [at Kings Lynn], following the conference league visit of Rye House to the newly renamed Norfolk Arena at Saddlebow Road. Naturally, the travelling band of merry fans took the opportunity to get even merrier before any green and white race-jackets took to track. Yet again, around 100 supporters made the journey East, bringing with them the infamous collection of flags, banners, balloons and inflatables to liven up the proceedings."

Race results...
1.(68.4) Skipper Neil Painter led the team out in heat one but he was all at sea on the Saddlebow circuit and certainly didn't lead the race. That was won by the home side's David Nix, ahead of Heathens' Phil Knowles and Braves' battling rider replacement Ricky Scarboro ...
3.(65.8) Heat three was the first appearance of the Wonder Boy. Steely fired his opening warning shot with a tapes to flag victory over Peter Boast ...
10.(??.?) Sorry, we missed the time as all hell broke loose in the Cradley corner of the stand. Mark Steel, on a promise to come and collect our inflatable frog to aid his ever increasing victory celebrations, made a mess of the start to trail both Smith and Clifton. But it took barely a lap of stalking the Braves pairing before he dived underneath them both with a move to grace any speedway match at any level. This bunch of Heathens supporters have travelled the country many times over to watch the likes of Penhall, Gundersen and Pedersen, but Steel received as much praise and admiration as any of the afore-mentioned list of world champions. The frog was duly collected and shared a well-cheered and well deserved extra lap for our very own Boy of Steel ...

"So, after success at Mildenhall, a courageous performance at the fortress of St Austell and a sweet victory over arch-rivals Wolves, it was finally time to come back down to earth for the Cradley fans. Well that was how it should have been anyway. We actually 'celebrated' our defeat by heading down to trackside in numbers and bringing out the CH riders for their very own rolling parade. The flag was flown on the inside of the centre green and the riders were all rewarded with bouncy inflatables to carry round the track. And as the intrepid frog, the Black Country alien and the blow-up hammers were waved around the Norfolk circuit to the fans who lined the first corner to applaud the team, you couldn't help wonder what other set of speedway supporters in all the leagues through all the years could possibly match this sort of tremendous dedication. We can only carry on fighting the cause and scenes like this can only highlight and emphasise such a travesty of justice that prevents us from competing at the highest level that this support deserves."

"I needn't re-iterate man of the match. He takes it by a mile and a half and our only hope is that we can sign him up permanently when we're back in the big leagues. Many thanks for the warm welcome of the Kings Lynn fans and promotion, and the appreciative words of announcer, Malcolm Vasey. He said he was "lost in admiration" at the Cradley fans, but we're only doing what we love and what we've done throughout the years. So beware, the Heathens tour bus might just be rolling into a stadium near you in the future, but don't be afraid to come and say hello! I'll see you there...

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Saturday, 8th April 2000

BOSTON BRAVES v CLUB CH


(at Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn)
BOSTON BARRACUDA-BRAVES 51 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 39

Boston (Team Manager - Cyril Crane)...

1. PETER BOAST (2 FX 2' 2 = 6+1)
Steady if not spectacular, could have scored more.
2. RICKY SCARBORO (1' 2 1 3 = 7+1)
Determined performance and scored what was required.
3. CARL WILKINSON (3 E F 2 = 5)
Unlucky, but not as sharp as on previous occasions.
4. LUKE CLIFTON (2' 2 2 2' 2' = 10+3)
Consistently impressive, and challenging the heatleaders.
5. DEAN GARROD (0 0 2' = 2+1)
Not particularly on the pace, picked up gifted points.
6. MARK STEEL (3 3 3 0 3 3 = 15)
Definitely the best rider on show, why is he at reserve!?
7. ROB HOLLINGWORTH (2' 1 3 0 = 6+1)
Very much on the pace and scored some crucial points.

LP Heathens (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)...

1. GARY PHELPS (3 3 F 3 1 = 10)
Very impressive and stylish; matured since last season too.
2. PAUL BURNETT (0 1 XM 1 = 2)
Struggled a little and didn't take to the increasingly wet conditions.
3. JAMES MANN (F 2 FX = 2)
Tried and tried and deserved much more than 2 points and a broken collarbone.
4. MARK BLACKWELL (1 1' 1 1 = 4+1)
A good effort, but not as impressive as this time last year.
5. STEVE CAMDEN (3 3 3 3 1 0 = 13)
Accoplished early on but suffered later in the wet.
6. DAVID NIX (0 1 0 = 1)
Uncomfortable and struggled increasingly.
7. PHIL KNOWLES (1 2' 2 1 1 E = 7+1)
Battling effort from reserve; in the thick of the action.

The first LP Heathens septet of the new season went down with a brave fight at the hands of newly reformed Boston. The home side always looked the stronger, but there were just two points separating the teams after heat 13 and two successive 5-1s to finish somewhat flattered the victors. The usual band of travelling fans created a memorable atmosphere, which wasn't even dampened by persistent rainfall for most of the evening.

Heat details:

1.(65.2) PHELPS, Boast, Scarboro, Burnett.
Stylish win for Phelps, in as a late replacement for absent captain Neil Painter. Decked out in matching green leathers, helmet and bike, he was co-ordinated well with our new frog. Close battle for the minor placings with Scarboro and Burnett swapping places at the back.

2.(64.2) STEEL, Hollingworth, Knowles, Nix.
It was our old favourite Mark Steel by literally half a lap. Unfortunately he was riding for the opposition this time and followed home by his partner for an early 5-1. Knowles challenged briefly for second but the veteran Hollingworth gradually pulled away.

3.(65.4) WILKINSON, Clifton, Blackwell, Mann (FX).
James Mann started his unfortunate evening by flipping his bike on the start line and ending up on his back as the others raced away. To make matters worse, Mark Blackwell's throttle came loose and he could only nurse the bike around for the odd point. In a nightmare start we were eight down already.

4.(64.4) CAMDEN, Knowles, Hollingworth, Garrod.
And so the fightback began with Steve Camden demonstrating the excellent form he was to be in, while Phil Knowles produced a super ride to come from last to second. It was enough to kickstart some voices into action and the first warcry of the night. The Boston fans tried to compete, but there didn't seem to be any sound ;o)

5.(64.3) PHELPS, Clifton, Burnett, Wilkinson (EF).
An easy win from the gate for Phelpsy, but Carl Wilkinson lived up to his song for the night ("Wilko is a Cradley fan...") with an engine failure when in second. Clifton pulled gradually away from Burnett, but it was another heat advantage and the scores were 16-14 to Boston.

6.(64.1) CAMDEN, Scarboro, Nix, Boast (FX).
In the first staging, Camden drove hard under Boast on the first bend and the Boston No.1 eventually spun off. He stayed down and received an exclusion for his trouble, leaving Stevie C another comfortable victory as he eased past Scarboro to clock the fastest Conference League time of the season and only 0.3 outside the CL track record. Now 18-18, as the rain began to fall. We all got a bit wet, even under the covered stand, except for Camden who was shielded by his Flowerpot men headwear.

7.(65.9) STEEL, Mann, Blackwell, Garrod.
Garrod and Mann gated and battled for the lead coming out of the second bend, Steel picked up some drive and powered through the middle of them both as they entered the second lap. As he pulled away, Mann gained the advantage to secure second and as Garrod challenged, Blackwell reeled him in and pinched third on the last lap. Excellent race. Scores still level.

8.(66.9) HOLLINGWORTH, Knowles, Scarboro, Nix. Burnett (X2M).
A heat victory for Rob Hollingworth, and boy was he pleased. He led from the gate while the action unfolded behind him. Team-mate Scarboro made a lunge from 4th to 2nd, but Knowles follwed him past the ailing Nix, and on the last lap the Cradley reserve nicked second to reduce the damage.

9.(66.2) CAMDEN, Clifton, Knowles, Wilkinson (Fell).
Two behind before this one and it was Camden again to the fore. Carl Wilkinson fell while at the back and it was a steady ride from reserve substitution Knowles, who had held out Wilkinson and kept the pressure on Clifton. We were level again, Steve Camden had learnt (after about 4 matches) to acknowledge our post-race cheers, and all was rosy. Despite the rain, it was looking promising and we sang on.
Malcolm (Francis Rossi) Vasey was by this time being treated to a range of Status Quo classics as he tried in vain to bring the home fans up to a similar warcry volume.

10.(Awarded) SCARBORO, Boast, Blackwell, Mann (FX).
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst. Peter Boast sat behind his partner in an experience show of team-riding from the former Sheffield rider. As the race was slowed up though, James Mann was buzzing all over Boasts back wheel and on the penultimate lap he looked to have the power to go round the outside but ran into the back of his opponent. He high-sided over the bike and eventually walked away with a suspected broken collar bone.

11.(67.2) STEEL, Garrod, Burnett, Phelps (Fell).
Mark Steel's third successive victory, but Gary Phelps was never far away for three and a half laps. On the final bend, he threw it all in and slipped away into the fence. It was a valiant effort from our stand-in No.1 but it was points that were thrown away and chances of victory slipping almost as quickly as Phelps' bike on the wet track. Suddenly we were eight behind.

12.(72.1) CAMDEN (TS), Wilkinson, Knowles, Hollingworth.
Stevie C thrown in as a tac sub did the business and Phil Knowles picked up another vital third place. You can tell from the race time that things were very tricky by now, and there was little chance of passing. Despite this, there was little space between Camden, Wilkinson and Knowles with Carl chasing courageously on the outside and Knowles nipping at the inside.

13.(72.9) PHELPS, Boast, Camden, Steel.
Phelpsy learned his lesson and it was a slow and tentative ride from all four. Steel, in as a reserve replacement, missed the gate and suffered his only blemish but never looked likely to close the gap. Our second successive 4-2 advantage brought us back to within four points, with two to go.

14.(74.8) STEEL, Clifton, Blackwell, Knowles (EF).
Defeat was sealed on the start line of heat 14 with a broken cable on the bike of Phil Knowles. The reserve never left the start line, but watched as last weeks injury casualties Mark Steel and Luke Clifton shot from the tapes to lead Mark Blackwell all the way home. A much better ending for these two particular Boston boys, but the end of a brave Heathens fight.

15.(73.8) STEEL, Clifton, Phelps, Camden.
The same two home riders came out to complete the formalities and both looked sharper than ever. The winning times were now a whole TEN SECONDS slower than earlier in the night and the heaavy rain had blighted what was developing into a very good contest. Phelps and Camden blotted their copybooks, but both deserve credit for some super efforts to keep us in the hunt.

51-39 the final score, which to be honest flattered Boston just a little. The weather dominated proceedings, but the riders battled on and the supporters sang til the end. Compliments to presenter Malcolm Vasey always has a good word to say about Cradley and never forgot us throughout the evening (as if we'd let him). Another good following from the Midlands and an estimated record number of inflatable objects on show. Top marks to all concerned!

Rob Finlow (Fin-Low, Sweet Chariot) David McAllan Mitch Barker (The Bouncer) Jamie Holmes Malcolm Holloway (Mad Wellie) Some of the riders to represent us at Boston this year, from left to right: Rob Finlow, David McAllan, Mitch Barker, Jamie Holmes & Malcolm Holloway.
All photos: Steve Johnson.

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April 11th 2000

Collection for James Mann

James Mann, injured in our opening match at Boston last Saturday, has been diagnosed with a chipped shoulder bone. The Buxton rider, who left the track with a suspected broken collar bone, is likely to be out for around three weeks. A quick trackside collection raised just under 80 ukp for the youngster and we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
Skipper Neil Painter, who missed the Boston defeat to ride for Glasgow at Berwick, scored 4+1 from his three rides in the Tigers 60-30 defeat. Other former Club CH stars of '99, Aiden Collins and Freddie Stephenson scored 2+2 and 7+2 respectively. Both have made highly successfuly starts to their first full Premier League seasons.

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April 24th 2000

HEATHENS SORT OUT PROBLEMS

Heathens have sorted out any problems with Buxton over the use of the Hitmen for Club CH matches. Chairman Ian Shelton said "We spoke to them prior to the season and after a discussion last week we have corrected any confusion". Buxton team manager Jack Lee still insists that his riders will not be allowed to compete in challenge matches the day before they are due out for the Hitmen ...
New Conference League entrants, Somerset have a Control Board track inspection this weekend, as they continue to work towards bringing Speedway to a brand new venue this season. Heathens are due to visit the Rebels on 16th June ...
Conquerors of Club CH already this season, Boston, enjoyed an away victory at Peterborough last Friday, despite missing the services of Premier League Mark Steel. Luke Clifton top scored with 12+2, while our friends Carl Wilkinson and Dean Garrod notched up 5 and 9 respectively ....

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May 2nd 2000

TWO MORE FIXTURES FOR CLUB CH

Club CH have announced two more confirmed fixtures for the Summer, including a nostalgic match against the recently reformed Southampton Saints.
After success at Mildenhall last year on a rain-soaked afternoon, the Heathens will be hoping for better weather as they return to West Row on Sunday 2nd July. The Fen Tigers have already established themselves as a Conference League force in 2000, led by Cradley stars Steve Camden and Phil Knowles.
The match against Southampton has been arranged to take place at Buxton on the 6th August, as the Saints are in the same position as us with no home track. The promise of excellent value for money at our closest Conference League track ensues though as the Hitmen take on Midlenhall at 3pm with the full 15-heat Club CH - So'ton match following immediately afterwards.
It is also hoped to stage the Dudley-Wolves trophy against a junior Wolves side at Monmore Green later in the season. The young Heathens stormed to victory in last years encounter and the match should also see the second staging of the Ivor Hughes Individual Memorial Trophy.
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May 10th 2000

BUXTON v CLUB CH PREVIEW

The next Club CH fixture is at Buxton on May 28th 2000 where the Club CH team will be, in riding order: 1 Peter Boast, 2 Jamie Young, 3 Carl Wilkinson, 4 Dean Garrod, 5 Andrew Moore, 6 Lee Hodgson, 7 Gordon Meakins. The heavy Sheffield contingent will be joined by Heathens regulars in Garrod, Wilkinson & Meakins, but there will be extra innterest in the promising young Owlertonn Prowlers. Andy Moore has been pushing for a PL place for some time, while I can speak first hand of the potential shown by Lee Hodgson so far inn 2000.
The action starts at 3.00pm and coach travel is available from the Cradley area as always by phoning Margaret on 01384 823508.

N.B. Anyone who would like to sponsor a Club CH racejacket this season can do so for 50.00 payable in two installments 25.00 now and 25.00 at the end of the season. Please contact Club CH at 24 Vale Road, Netherton, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 9HZ.
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18th May 2000

HEATHENS LINKS

As Club CH supporters look forward to the next match a week on Sunday and the return to the Hi-Peaks of Buxton, there were unexpected Heathens links in the Conference League at Peterborough last week. When the Pumas pipped Rye House to a 46-44 victory, who should be named as home reserves but Gordon Meakins - our current Welsh Wizard - and former Cradley rider Derek Harrison. Gordon scored paid three ahead of his inclusion in our forthcoming team to face Buxton. Harrison notched an impressive 5+1 on his racing return, after several years absence. He rode for the Heathens in 1980 and also had more successful spells in the second division with Milton Keynes (alongside Andy Grahame), Mildenhall & Peterborough.
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28th May 2000

BUXTON v CLUB CH

Beaconsfield Cup
Buxton Hitmen 35 - Club CH 55


Buxton ...
1. Adam Allott       2  2  1' 0  2  1  =  8+1
2. Daniel Hodgson   0  0  2           =  2
3. Paul Burnett     1' 1  0           =  2+1
4. Lee Howard       2  0  1  0        =  3
5. Neil Painter     0  3  3  F  0     =  6
6. Steve Mildoon    2  1  2           =  5
7. Phil Pickering   1' 2  2  1  3  0  =  9+1

Club CH ...
1. Peter Boast      3  3  3  3        = 12 max
2. Jamie Young      1  2' 3  2'       =  8+2
3. Carl Wilkinson   3  2  3  2  2'    = 12+1
4. Dean Garrod      0  0  1  3        =  4
5. Andrew Moore     3  3  1' 1  3     = 11+1
6. Lee Hodgson      3  1  2  F        =  6
7. Gordon Meakins   0  1  0  1        =  2



1: Boast, Allott, Young, D.Hodgson. (2-4)
2: L.Hodgson, Muldoon, Pickering, Meakins. (5-7)
3: Wilkinson, Howard, Burnett, Garrod. (8-10)
4: Moore, Pickering, Meakins, Painter. (10-14)
5: Boast, Young, Burnett, Howard. (11-19)
6: Moore, Allott, L.Hodgson, Howard. (13-23)
7: Painter, Wilkinson, Muldoon, Garrod. (17-25)
8: Young, Pickering, Allott (TS), Meakins. (20-28)
9: Painter (TS), L.Hodgson, Moore, Burnett. (23-31)
10: Wilkinson, D.Hodgson, Garrod, Allott. (25-35)
11: Boast, Young, Pickering (TS), Painter (fell). (26-40)
12: Pickering, Wilkinson, Howard (TS), L.Hodgson. (30-42)
13: Boast, Allott, Moore, Painter. (32-46)
14: Garrod, Muldoon, Meakins, Howard. (34-40)
15: Moore, Wilkinson, Allott, Pickering. (35-55)

This powerful looking Heathens side stormed to an easy victory in the freezing hills of Buxton, and never looked like being caught after taking the lead in the very first heat. The team always looked strong on paper, but the spirit was proved by the fact that Premier League Adam Allott on the home team couldn't even manage a race win. In fact, the Hitmen only recorded three heat victories all day - and the first didn't come until heat seven.

Cradley number one, Peter Boast took heat one with considerable ease, starting as he meant to go on with the first of four straight wins. Jamie Young's third place put us 4-2 up and there was no looking back. After two unsatisfactory starts - including one where the referee looked down and laughed at Phil Pickering for not moving when the tapes went up - Lee Hodgson won heat two in style, with Gordon Meakins looking much improved on his last season's appearances.

Carl Wilkinson overcame pre-race bike problems to win heat three but Dean Garrod failed to capitalise on a good start to run a close last. Heat four brought the biggest cheer of the afternoon so far with the Welsh Wizard, Meakins, holding off home captain Painter at the back, and then the Heathens really took control with a 5-1 in the next from from the potent pairing of Boast and Young. Andy Moore was staking his claim for a Premier League berth at Sheffield by beating Tigers rival Adam Allott in the sixth, and young Lee Hodgson came from the back to take third and extend the lead to ten points.

Wilkinson then felt the Neil Painter backlash after alsmot high- siding on the second bend and never reeling in his opponent. Garrod went backwards again allowing former Nottingham comeback man Steve Muldoon to take third place. It was stalemate in the eighth, depsite Buxton beginning to throw in their tacticals. Substitute Allot was stuck behind the wobbling Phil Pickering, and Jamie Young fought his way to the front to foil the home side again.

Sneaky tactics followed with the tractor apparently breaking down on-track, but even that couldn't put the rampant Heathens out of their stride. Painter, in as another tac sub, took his second consecutive victory but Moore and Hodgson followed him home in the dust to secure a 3-3. Then it was back to business with Wilkinson leading the way, despite a gallant effort from Danny Hodgson, and the rather lucky Garrod hanging on to third for a 4-2. Allott came in last and never bothered the front three. Boast and Young were at it again in heat 11 for a 5-1 over tac sub Pickering and the fallen Painter.

With four races to go, the lead had been drawn out to fourteen, and Buxton's 4-2 from Pickering and Howard in the twelfth did little to stem the tide. Boast completed his four-ride max in heat 13 ahead of Allot and Moore, who had shot inside Painter early on. Another 4-2 in the penultimate race was a bit more unexpected as Garrod picked up his first race win, and Meakins picking up the odd point again.

And so to the last and it was Moore and Wilkinson nominated for Cradley to round off the emphatic success. That they did, with some ease, ahead of the disappointing Allot and six-ride reserve Pickering. The points took both Heathens deservedly into double figures, which took the three heatleaders to a combined total of 35 - as much as the home team's complete 1-7. Support came in abundance from the tigerish Jamie Young, never giving up and only being beaten once by the opposition. Garrod found form at the end after a typically slow start, and Lee Hodgson provided sterling reserve firepower with six points. The performance of Gordon Meakins shouldn't be underestimated either. The Welsh Wizard is taking his racing more seriously this season after securing a place in the Peterborough Conference team, and he showed significant improvement from when he turned out for Club CH this time last year.

Around 100 Cradley fans made the journey, avoiding the constant threat of bad weather. We even saw some sun during the meeting, but it was as cold as ever on the peaks. The hosts obviously forgot the presence of support that still accompanies the Heathens at this level, as they sold out of programmes, and it was just like old times on the journey as the travelling coach broke down en route to the track!
The result was revenge for the Hitmen's victory over the first ever Club CH team last May, but the invasion of the local Duke of York was just the same post-meeting! We won back the trophy that was lost last season, or at least we would have done had the hosts not lost it!
The tour rolls on to Somerset next - a match not to be missed at Britain's newest Speedway venue. Lets hope for some warmer weather but a repeat performance on track from the boys in green and white!

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30th May 2000

MARK STEEL MAKES HIS MARK

1999 Rider of the Season, Mark Steel had a rollercoaster week for Premier League club Swindon as he continues to make his mark for the Robins. He recorded his first paid maximum at PL level with a fantastic 9+3 haul against Arena-Essex last Thursday. Club CH fans can imagine the post match celebtrations by the Boy of Steel - I hear he was rather pleased with his heat 14 surge from the back to round off his tally!
Unfortunately, the good news was tempered by a nasty fall away at Stoke on Saturday. Mark collided with Potters' Tony Atkin in heat eight and was taken to hospital with a hand injury. Latest reports are that he may now lose the tip of his thumb as far down as the length of his nail.
Mark has recently decided to concentrate solely on his Premier League commitments and has withdrawn from the Boston Conference League team, where he had dominated the Barracudas scoring in the early matches of the season. We naturally wish him all the best for a speedy recovery and quick return to the saddle.
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8th June 2000

HEATHENS GO TO SOMERSET

Club Cradley are eagerly waiting their first trip to Somerset's Oak Tree Arena on Friday 16th June (7.30pm). The LP Heathens are sure to get another healthy following of fans for the visit to Britains newest stadium.
The Heathens line up for the match is begining to look like our own lads once again as the match doesn't clash with other Conference League matches on this occasion. We will be led by Steve Camden who is scoring so well at this level lately, our old friend Deano Garrad, Carl Wilkinson who we almost regard as our own boy now with Neil Painter who has stuck with us from day one. Young Luke Clifton is with us again and our 'old hands' Mitch Barker and Gordon Meakins.
It looks like being a good night out again and as usual anyone who wishes to travel with the club will have to be quick and get in touch with Margaret Hardiman on (01384) 823508 (evenings). If you are travelling by car be sure to start out early, the traffic on the M5 on Fridays can be a problem. You can find the track from Junction 22 - follow the slip road turn left towards Highbridge past the Windmill Club at Edithmead on left. When you reach W.S.Hancock Turf Supplies on left turn into Stadium Road into car-park.
See you there, lets party!
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16th June 2000

SOMERSET v CLUB CH

.
(at the new Highbridge Speedway Arena)
SOMERSET REBELS 55 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 35

Somerset...

1. Steve Camden (G) 3-3-3-3-3 = 15 max
2. Jason Newitt 0-2'-FX = 2+1
3. Simon Phillips (C) 3-3-3-2'-2' = 13+2
4. Andy Carfield 1-1-EF-1 = 3
5. Ray Dickson 0-1-XT-0 = 1
6. Matthew Cross 0-3-1'-3 = 7+1
7. Mark Phillips 3-1-3-2'-2-3 = 14+1

Club CH..

1. Richard Ford 1'-EF-0 = 1+1
2. Dean Garrod 2-2-1'-3-2-0 = 10+1
3. Neil Painter 2-2-1-1-1-1 = 8
4. Charley Kirtland 0-0-0
5. Luke Clifton 3-EF-2-1'-EF = 6+1
6. Mitch Barker 2-1-NS = 3
7. Gordon Meakins 1'-2'-2-2 = 7+1

The LP Heathens were soundly beaten but Somerset provided a great day out for the club's third fixture of 2000. Our Steve Camden switched allegiance for the day to guest in place of the Rebel's missing number one Steve Bishop, while we drafted in St Austell's Richard Ford. Making a little bit of history with her Heathens debut was 15-year old Charley Kirtland, who contacted the club at the start of the season looking for her chance.

Camden was always going to prove a more than able guest and stormed to a 15 point maximum to follow up his 20 point haul in the Conference League at Sheffield recently. He was well supported however by both Simon and Mark Phillips who notched another 27 points between them. The Rebels' top three scorers set out their stall by winning the first three heats of the night, while Club CH began by filling the minor placings inn the first two. That included a dash from the back by Gordon Meakins who gave much improved performance from reserve. Charley Kirtland was left a long way behind in the third however and Neil Painter lost the victory in a race to the line, after holding on for more than three and a half laps. All three were unfortunately run only as a record attempt for the title of world's dustiest track, and it was the much-needed but rarely used water cart which received the biggest cheer(s) of the evening.

Heat 4 saw us take the lead for the only time in the match when Meakins gated and the impressive Luke Clifton went the long way round the outside on lap 1 to join his partner for a 5-1. The scores were levelled in the next as Richard Ford suffered the first of a succession of Club CH engine failures. The second hit Clifton on lap 2 of heat 6, and the third was courtesy of Mitch Barker in the same race who fortunately pushed home for a point from the last bend!

In heat 7, the Rebels' Ray Dickson fell and remounted to reel in Charley Kirtland, while Neil Painter lost out on the line for the second time in succession, this time concedig his victory to ex-Swindon reserved and comeback merchant Matt Cross. Jason Newitt took a nasty tumble in the next to end his evening prematurely, clipping the fence under pressure half way down the back straight. Garrod, on one of his better days, rode all the way round the boards but couldn't catch 'The Undertaker' Mark Phillips. The home reserve was on fine form, and rides every race with a minature undertaker's top hat and ribbons perched proudly on his helmet to reiterate his nickname.

At six down, our stand in team manager, Malcolm Vasey - covering due to Chris Dawson's holiday - threw Painter in to the furore, but it was to no avail. Only an Andy Carfield retirement gifted the replacement a point. We were ten down after the next when Painter again trailed in third, but it was Garrod who temporarily stoped the rot with a heat 11 victory. Richard Ford was not at the races and Garrod was later to replace his partner for his scheduled fourth ride.

The match was mathematically lost with three races to spare with another Painter third place behind the Phillips, Mark and Simon. Garrod and Clifton forced a 3-3 in heat 13, while Meakins notched another second place to counter Clifton's machine problems in 14. The Boston youngster looked fast and stylish all night, despite a notable lack of gating ability, but he was plagued by engine trouble which limited his score to just six. It was left to the stalwarts, Garrod and Painter to contest the final heat, but neither could match the outstanding talent of Camden or Simon Phillips, as the Rebels completed a 20-point victory.

Not for the first time, the defeat came as a secondary issue, while a healthy crowd and considerable Heathens contingent enjoyed the glorious weather at Britain's newest Speedway venue. The Rebels faithful were treated with a lashing of Black Country banter, which may or may not have kept them amused during the regularly failing PA system: Lawrence Rogers was reduced to shouting the race results and times from the centre green. It was certainly worth the two-hour drive to brave the concerns of three local Highbridge residents who had complained of the speedway fumes going down their chimneys and giving them asthma! Considering the tidy venue had hosted just two previous meetings there were at least 100 loyal Cradley fans who must by now be struggling to breath at all, after notching up yet another new track on the still growing list of Heathens visits.

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25th June 2000

HEATHENS GO TO MILDENHALL

After the recent Club CH defeat at Somerset, the LP Heathens now turn their attentions to repeating last season's victory at West Row, Mildenhall. The trip comes this Sunday - 2nd July - which will hopefully mean better weather than the corresponding fixture in 1999 which only just avoided postponement due to an onslaught of constant rain.
The team has been finalised and will be led by Boston's Peter Boast who notched a 12-point maximum in his previous Cradley appearance at Buxton. His Barracudas team mates Luke Clifton and Carl Wilkinson have also proved their worth in green and white, and complete a formidable heatleader trio. They're backed by skipper Neil Painter, Paul Burnett, regular Heathen Dean Garrod and the Camaerthan Cowboy Gordon Meakins.
If you haven't seen Club CH this year, then make the effort for this one. Mildenhall is home to a great race track in a very neat little stadium, and the return to a Sunday afternoon fixture should make for another great Summer day out to keep the Cradley flag flying. If you want to travel with the Heathens coach then you can contact Margaret as usual on 01384 823508. The racing starts at 3.30pm.
Full provisional line-up: Peter Boast, Paul Burnett, Carl Wilkinson, Neil Painter, Luke Clifton, Gordon Meakins, Dean Garrod.

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2nd July 2000

MILDENHALL v CLUB CH


MILDENHALL THB FEN TIGERS 57 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 33

Fen Tigers (Team Manager - Roger Horspool)...

1. STEVE CAMDEN (3 3 3 3 3 3 = 18 max)
(Absolutely faultless, and not just from the gate. Really should go PL!)
2. MATT THOMPSON (EF 0 1' 2' = 3+2 )
(His contribution was probably enough to say he did his job)
3. SHANE COLVIN (RIDER REPLACEMENT)
(Riding for Reading; Rider Repl riders scored 3-3-F-3)
4. GAVIN HEDGE (1 0 2 1 = 4)
(Perhaps not a captains contribution, but a reasonable display)
5. BARRIE EVANS (2' 3 3 3 2' 2' = 15+3)
(Great prospect on good equipment. Tested a couple of times by Boast)
6. PAUL LYDES-UINGS (3 3 3 2' 1 0 3 = 15)
(Great opening to the match, but was easily beaten when he missed the gate)
7. JITENDRA DUFFIL (F 2 F XM = 2)
(Little exuberant, and second fiddle for Lydes-Uings' extra rides)

LP Heathens (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)...

1. PETER BOAST (2 2 3 2 1 1 = 11)
(Best Heathen on show, but no match for the Tigers top two)
2. PAUL BURNETT (1' 1' FX = 2+2)
(Unlucky to be replaced in ht 8; rode some hard corners to earn his points)
3. CARL WILKINSON (EF F 3 F 2 0 = 5)
(Much too over-enthusiastic, falls cost him dearly)
4. STEVE MILDOON (2 1 0 1 = 4)
(Late replacement not at his best, performance fizzled out a little)
5. LUKE CLIFTON (F 2 1 0 = 3)
(Not on top form, didn't seem to get to grips with the track at all)
6. GORDON MEAKINS (2 1' 1' 0 = 4+2)
(Great return and deservedly the third top scorer, continued improvement)
7. DEAN GARROD (1' 1 2 = 4+1)
(Should probably have scored more on his former track)

Heat Details:

1. Camden, Boast, Burnett, Thompson (EF).
2. Lydes-Uings, Meakins, Garrod, Duffill (Fell).
3. Camden (RR), Mildoon, Hedge, Wilkinson (EF).
4. Lydes-Uings (Res), Evans, Garrod, Clifton (Fell).
5. Lydes-Uings (RR), Boast, Burnett, Hedge.
6. Camden, Clifton, Meakins, Thompson.
7. Evans, Lydes-Uings, Mildoon, Wilkinson (Fell, remounted).
8. Wilkinson (TS), Duffill, Thompson, Mildoon (TS).
9. Boast (TS), Hedge, Clifton, Duffil (RR, Fell).
10. Camden, Thompson, Mildoon, Wilkinson.
11. (Re-Run) Evans, Boast, Lydes-Uings, Burnett (Fell & Excluded).
12. Evans (RR), Wilkinson, Meakins, Lydes-Uings.
13. (Re-Run) Camden, Evans, Boast, Clifton.
14. Lydes-Uings, Garrod, Hedge, Meakins (Res).
15. Camden, Evans, Boast, Wilkinson.

It was a heavy defeat for the LP Heathens in the LP Trophy which they won in the rain in last season's corresponding fixture. The weather was much kinder this time around but there was no such consideration from the Fen Tigers' top stars. Occasional Heathen, Steve Camden was immaculate in his six-ride maximum, including three victories in the first six heats. The other three were headed by home reserve and former Arena Essex Premier League rider Paul Lydes-Uings. Between the two of them, and upcoming youngster Barrie Evans, 48 points were ammassed - enough to win the match o their own!

The early agony went on until Heat 8 before Cradley took their first heat winner courtesy of tac sub Carl Wilkinson, and this was followed by another success - and the only heat advantage - from the Peter Boast - Luke Clifton combination. After that, with the best of the tac subs used up, the Tigers top three finished off proceedings with three 5-1s, two 4-2s and a drawn heat.

Despite the scores, there were some close competitive battles all afternoon and plenty of racing to enjoy on the West Row bowl. Boast was always a threat to the home heatleaders and made them work for their money, if not being able to match the speed and track knowledge of Camden and Evans. Gordon Meakins was an unexpcted star for Cradley, and he continues to show a marked improvement from his earl comeback days at the beginning of last year. The "Cowboy from Camaerthan" took a second place in heat two and followed that with third in heat 6 before his race of the night when he held off Lydes-Uings for a point in heat 12. The impressive home reserve had previously gated his way to 12+1 in his five rides before.

The Boston pair of Carl Wilkinson and Luke Clifton have come to be expected as two of the first names on the Club CH team sheet this season - and deservedly so - but neither lived up to expectations on this occasion. Clifton has never been the quickest out of the gate, but today couldn't make up for that in his battling style from the back. Wilkinson was as tigerish as ever, but his over-enthusiasm while giving chase cost him two falls on the third bend. When he also suffered machine problems for the second time in the match, it was very nearly toys out of the pram time onn the centre green.

Steve Mildoon came in as a late replacement for club skipper Neil Painter who was called in to work, and the latest Conference League comeback merchant gave a good effort but wasn't quite up to the challenge of tac sub. When he was thrown into the fray of heat eight in an attempt to pull back crucial points, he flitted with second place behind Wilkinson before eventually trailing last. In the same heat, Paul Burnett had been a little unlucky to be replaced after some hard and clever riding had earned him his previous 2+2 from two rides.
A strange match was complete for Dean Garrod in heat 14 after the Club CH regular had sat out an incredible ten-race break. In all honesty, his 4+1 was mildly flattering to include two gifted points, but he finished well at the end with a second place ahead of home captain Gavin Hedge.

So not the best Club CH team performance that has been seen, but it was always going to be a huge task to compete with the calibre of the home riders. Mildenhall are already in the Conference League Cup and currently top the league table as well. West Row was as friendly and accomodating as ever though, and a pleasure to visit, not least with those green and white race-jackets on track and the Black Country fans 'Ommering the local vocal support.

Next match is a rather nostalgic affair against the reformed Southampton, who are competing in a similar vein to ourselves with no home track. The encounter forms a double-header to take place at Buxton on Sunday 6th August.

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19th July 2000

OFF TO BUXTON FOR OUR FIRST 'HOME MEETING'

Next on the agenda for the Club CH tour bus is a second trip of the season to the Peak District and the little venue of Buxton. This time around though, the Heathens are taking on the newly reformed Southampton Saints - a team also without a home track, but endeavouring to bring the sport back to the New Forest area of the South coast. So make a date for the 6th August for a great value afternoon of Speedway, beginning at 3pm with Buxton's Conference League encounter against Mildenhall and continuing with 15 heats of Heathens versus Saints straight afterwards.
For information on coach travel, contact Margaret on 01384 823508 (evenings), or for details of directions by car, e-mail the site and we'll point you the right way.

Meanwhile, in the Conference League, the Heathens' Boston connection have been in mighty good form for the Barracuda-Braves. Against Ashfield and Sheffield in the last ten days, Luke Clifton notched 6+2 followed by 9+1, while Carl Wilkinson dropped to reserve to clock up 14+1 and 7+1. Against the Prowlers it was Clifton who secured a 45-45 draw on the last bend of heat 15.
Recalled to the Peterborough side last week was Welsh Wizard Gordon Meakins and potential Club Cradley Heathen, Derek Harrison, but their meeting was cut short by rain after ten heats. Not turning out much for the Heathens lately, but riding well for his Hitmen team is captain Neil Painter. He's also dropped to reserve and scored a paid max against Ashfield, followed by 7+2 against Sheffield.

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27th July 2000

HARRISON IN FOR CLUB CH

Its Club Cradley Heath versus Southampton next Sunday (6th Aug) and a nostalgic return to Heathens colours for Derek Harrison (pictured, right). The meeting, running at Buxton directly after the Hitmen take on Mildenhall in the Conference League, represents the first clash of the two clubs since 1951.

The Saints line-up is of a slightly lower level than current Conference clubs, and the top league stars have been omitted from the meeting to reflect this standard. The Heathens will be led by the dependable Gordon Meakins, who warmed up with 9+1 for Peterborough last week. Also returning for her second appearance in the green and white is 15-year old girl-racer Charley Kirtland.

Harrison last rode for Cradley in 1980, making around a dozen official appearances, including nine points in a Dudley-Wolves Trophy match. He made his racing comeback this season with Peterborough but has since been squeezed out as the Panthers have strengthened their ranks further.
The full Heathens line-up for the encounter is, in riding order, Meakins, Carl Downes, David Nix, Mitch Barker, Harrison, Kirtland & Mike Pickering.

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  Derek Harrison, Cradley Riders Reunion, Nov 1999
     

1st August 2000

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Couple of dates to ink into your speedway diaries; Club CH have managed to secure an enticing Bank Holiday Monday clash with Rye House for the 28th August. The Rockets are back at their spiritual home of Hoddeston, with Len Silver having now secured the stadium lease. The meeting has a 4pm afternoon start, and more details will be here soon. Make another note while you're at it for the next Speedway Quiz night, coming up on Wednesday 23rd August at Cradley Heath Liberal Club.
With just a few days to go before the historical Heathens v Saints clash (see below), I understand that the travelling Cradley coach is already full. If you need directions to Buxton for the 30 heats of speedway, then e-mail me for details.

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6th August 2000

CLUB CH v SOUTHAMPTON

Partridge Trophy
CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 44 - SOUTHAMPTON 45
Referee : Chris Gay (Remember him?)

LP Heathens (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)...

1. GORDON MEAKINS (3 1 3 1' FX = 8+1)
Number One and captain; only beaten by Saints top two scorers.
2. CARL DOWNS (XM 0 0 FX = 0)
Just wasn't his afternoon, machine problems at the root of it.
3. DAVID NIX (2 2' 1' 3 = 8+2)
Good performance; Up there with the heatleaders.
4. MITCH BARKER (XT 3 2 3 = 8)
Unlucky with a tape exclusion; only beaten once afterwards.
5. DEREK HARRISON (2 3 3 2 2 = 12)
Slotted right back in, with the same style and a great points return.
6. CHARLY KIRTLAND (2 FX EX = 2)
Promising start, improved on previous appearance before getting injured.
7. MIKE PICKERING (1' 1 1' 1 0 1 1 = 6+2)
Busy match collecting several vital points; steady performance.

Saints (Team Manager - Andy Day)...

1. CHRIS HUNT (2 0 2 F = 4)
Up and down performance, deserved more than just four points though.
2. TERRY DAY (XM 1 3 1' = 5+1)
One great ride and two good ones from this youngster. Remember the name.
3. SIMON BROWN (1 F XT 0 = 1)
Late replacement for Geoff Batt, not really on the pace.
4. DANNY SLATER (3 2 1' 2 = 8+1)
Up there with the heatleaders, steady scoring.
5. CHRIS SCHRAMM (3 3 3 3 3 = 15 max)
Untouchable; usually from the gate but also from the back on one occasion.
6. TOM BROWN (3 F 2' 2' FX 2 1 = 10+2)
Another youngster and another solid display, this time from reserve.
7. GARETH SILK (F F 2 F = 2)
More than a couple of falls, but plenty of effort on display.

It couldn't have been much closer in the first Cradley-Southampton clash for nearly fifty years, but in the end a single point separated the sides after a long and eventful fifteen races. Technically, it was the first 'home' match for Club CH in the red and blue helmet colours at last, but both of these non-league sides are of course currently homeless.
If it was a very welcome return to the track for these two teams though, it was a rather unwelcome reunion with match referee Chris Gay. The last time he took charge of a Heathens match, he was responsible for our elimination from the 1996 Knock Out Cup in a controversial encounter with Belle Vue. Naturally, he was up against the travelling Club CH fans from the outset, but did his reputation no favours with some questionable decisions.

1. Meakins, Hunt, Pickering, Silk (Fell); Day & Downs (Excl, 2 mins).
Heat One took an age to get underway. First Terry Day failed to make the two minutes, then after another two minutes waiting for his replacement, Carl Downs' machine gave up at the line. Two more minutes were called while Mike Pickering took to track, and eventually Gordon Meakins managed to open the scoring with his first victory of the match.

2. T.Brown, Kirtland, Pickering, Silk (Fell).
Unfortunately, heat two wasn't much shorter! Charly Kirtland hit the deck when sandwiched on the first corner and all four were called back. More carnage ensued in the re-run, before they all got away in the third staging. Gareth Silk failed to complete the four laps for the second heat in a row.

3. Slater, Nix, S.Brown, Kirtland (FX); Barker (Excl, tapes).
Still no chance of a straight forward race as the riders are called back after almost a lap and Barker excluded for touching the tapes. Danny Slater leads the re-run while Kirtland, in as replacement for Barker, falls on the last lap. Nix surges past for victory on the last bend, but the red lights had been called upon just before the manouevre so the win was handed back to Slater for the Saints.

4. Schramm, Harrison, Pickering, T.Brown (Fell).
First easy win for Schramm, whilst leg-trailing Harrison settles into second. Brown fell, remounted, then fell again.

5. Barker, Nix, Day, Hunt.
Finally, a race with no incident. Even better, a 5-1 to Cradley.

6. Schramm, T.Brown, Meakins, Downs.
Schramm away again & this time Brown tucked behind for a 5-1 reverse. After the Heathens had edged into the lead, this squared things up again 18-18.

7. Harrison, Slater (only two finished); S.Brown (Fell), Kirtland (Excl).
Comedy speedway separated the teams by a point after heat seven with only two finishers. Simon Brown fell on the second lap, followed almost immediately by Charly Kirtland. Brown headed for the safety of the centre green while Kirtland remounted and headed off for the vital third place. Meanwhile the flying Harrison was off on a march and unwittingly reeled in his partner. It would have required the most bizarre team riding of the highest order, but it wasn't to be. Harrison went underneath Kirtland, ensuring she was automatically excluded for being lapped. Slater passed by through the gap on the inside and Charly hit the fence again. This time the awkward fall resulted in a suspected dislocated finger, and she took no further part.

8. Day, T.Brown, Pickering, Downs.
Tom Brown was an inspired reserve substitution for the Saints, but it was a superb ride by Terry Day to pull off a crucial victory. The 'visitors' took the lead for the first time with a 5-1 to make the scores 22-25.

9. Schramm, Barker, Nix, T.Brown (FX).
No problems for Barker and Nix in the mission to slot in for second and third, but no chance of catching Schramm who was almost two seconds faster than the previous heat.

10. Meakins, Silk, Slater, Downs (FX); S.Brown (Excl, tapes).
Downs locked up and fell at the end of the second lap, causing the Saints riders to come to grief as well. Ref awarded the race with Meakins clear in front.

11. Harrison, Hunt, Day, Pickering.
Incident free for a change and there was just no catching Derek Harrison, looking more than comfortable in a green and white race jacket for the first time in nearly twenty years, and what looked like just the same pair of leathers!

12. Nix, T.Brown, Pickering, S.Brown.
Nix finally picked up a deserved victory and for two and a half laps it seemed like Mike Pickering was going to follow him home for a maximum return. He was stalked all the way by the Browns pairing and it was reserve Tom who finally picked off Pickers on the penultimate lap.

13. Schramm, Harrison, Meakins, Hunt (Fell).
The gap was back down to one point now with three crucial races remaining and nothing to choose between the teams. With things so evenly balanced there was just one factor ready to swing the pendulum away from the Heathens' direction and right back the way of the Saints. I'll mention no names. Suffice to say, the race took two stagings. First attempt, it was Harrison away and Meakins in second with Schramm needing to get past both. At the back, Hunt fell but was up and virtually back in the pits when the red lights came on. Second attempt and Harrison got the jump again, this time followed by Schramm. The Saints rider gradually reeled in the Heathen and after a close battle ensured a shared heat with his fourth race win.

14. Barker, Slater, Pickering, Silk (Fell).
Two to go now and still all at stake. We went into heat 14 one point down, and thanks to a Barker victory and another Pickering third place, we came out of it one point ahead. 42-41 going into the all important last race.

15. Schramm, Harrison, T.Brown, Meakins (FX).
With Barker and Harrison nominated for Club CH, the ref took centre stage again, ruling that Barker was not in the top three scorers and not a heatleader. It would be trivial to point out that he wasn't a top scorer because he'd been harshly excluded fom his first race, or that the nature of the heatleaders in this match was pointless because no averages had been used, so I won't mention it.
Meakins stepped in to join Harrison, but both missed the gate. Within a lap Harrison had shot underneath Brown into second and chased Schramm all the way. Meakins was now in hot pursuit of the third place which would hand victory to Club Cradley, when he dived in too quickly on the third lap and hit the deck. He stayed down, was excluded and lo and behold the race was awarded, along with the match to Southampton. Great to have such a close result though, after a couple of heavy defeats and the action was thick and fast. It was a great afternoon out which was highly indicative of what Club CH is all about.

It was a bit of an anti-climax after an action-packed afternoon of close racing. Buxton and Mildenhall and drawn their Conference League encounter 45-45 before we took to track. So, after about four and a half hours of entertainment - for a bargain six quid - Club CH were the only team not to reach exactly 45 points!! The silverware was presented to the Saints, along with best wishes from all of us at Cradley in their plight to return to a home venue of their own in the not too distant future. Our tour rolls on to visit another recently reformed club next with the trip to Rye House on bank holiday Monday. Anyone know who the ref is?

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8th August 2000

QUIZ NIGHT

Club CH have organised a General Knowledge Quiz Night for two weeks time on Wednesday 23rd August. The event will be at the usual venue of Cradley Heath Liberal Club and funds will help to fund the account for running the Conference matches this season.
Teams can consist of between 2 and 5 players, at a bargain cost of 1.00 per person. Be there for 7.30 for an 8.00 start and bring some friends along too.

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15th August 2000

  Rockets in Flying Form!

Next opponents for Club CH are the recently reformed Rye House Rockets and the Hoddesdon team are just hitting top form. The club returned to their former home this season with the financial backing of Len Silver, and have recently taken over the lease of the stadium to make the move a permanent one. Stock Cars which have hampered progress of maintaining a quality racing surface have now come to an end, and the new-look circuit is in better shape than ever. However, visiting teams are still very much struggling to make an impact against the Flying Rockets.
The latest attempt was by the Peterborough Pumas, featuring Heathens favourites Gordon Meakins and Derek Harrison. They were crushed 64-26 as home star David Mason stormed to a 15 point maximum and lowered his own track record no less than FIVE times! Meakins failed to score for the visitors while Harrison notched 5+1 from reserve.
The Cradley team is still to be finalised for the eagerly anticipated Bank Holiday clash, but the task ahead is obvious. Previous Club CH regular, Steve Camden, would have been an obvious candidate for selection but is still suffering the effects of an injury which has curtailed his season for Mildenhall in the Conference League. Rye House currently lie 6th in the table with an unbeaten home record. The Club CH committee have the 'luxury' of putting together a 1-7 aimed at lowering the Rockets colours for the first time and it is hoped to be able to announce the riders this weekend. For information on coach travel as usual contact Margaret on 01384 823508.

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25th August 2000

Team Line-Up to Face Rye House next Monday!

The seven riders faced with the daunting task of taking on Rye House at Hoddesdon next Monday have now been announced, and it is experience that is the order of the day. Sheffield asset Peter Boast will captain and lead the side, backed up by regulars Dean Garrod & Mitch Barker, comeback man Derek Harrison, plus Jamie Smith, Chris Schramm and Steve Mildoon. Harrison put in a fine performance on his Heathens return at Buxton, ironically beaten only by Schramm. Mildoon has made one previous Club CH appearance at Mildenhall and Smith will be a useful addition with some Premier League experience behind him at high-flying Hull.
Although Rye House are no longer contending with the havoc of Stock Car racing at their circuit, the tight new-look speedway track is still coming in for some criticism. Away teams have struggled to make an impact and big home wins have been regular occurrences. The Heathens are fired up and ready to change all that though on Bank Holiday Monday (28th) with a feast of entertainment on display. A charity Greyhound meeting takes place at 11am on the morning of the match, followed by the Speedway action at 4pm. As well as the Rockets-Heathens challenge, there is a Girls Challenge Cup, featuring among others, 'our' Charley Kirtland, plus some 1928 and 1930 demonstration races.
I'm told that coach places are still available. I also have some fairly detailed directions which I can forward by e-mail if anyone is interested. A big crowd is expected and the day has been well advertised; admission is 7 for the speedway, so come and support the Heathens and make sure we put on a show both on and off-track!

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28th August 2000

RYE HOUSE v CLUB CH


RYE HOUSE 54 - CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 35

Rockets (Team Manager - John Sampford)...

1. SIMON WOLSTENHOLME (3 F 3 3 = 9)
Only one blemish, but he wouldn't have won that race anyway
2. SIMON MOON (2' 2 2' 2' 0 = 8+3)
Quality 'second string'; great partnership with Wolstenholme
3. DAVID MASON (3 3 3 3 3 3 = 18 max)
Unbeatable & no-one even came close; From the gate every time
4. DAVID OSBORN (1 0 F 1 = 2)
A little unlucky not to score more, but was passed more than once
5. PHIL AMBROSE - RIDER REPLACEMENT
6. NATHAN MORTON (3 2 2' 3 M = 10+1)
Much better than a reserve position; voted 'hardest working rider'
7. GARRY SWEET (2' 1 3 1 0 = 7+1)
Worked hard & did his job well
8. RUSSELL PAINE (0 0 = 0)
Number eight due to rider replacement; not really on the pace

LP Heathens (Team Manager - Chris Dawson)...

1. PETER BOAST (1 2 1 1' = 5+1)
Struggled to get to grips with the tight track but battled hard
2. DEAN GARROD (0 1' 0 0 = 1+1)
One of the most committed Club CH Heathens, but just not in the points
3. IAN BARNEY (2 3 1 2 2 = 10)
Great style and great effort, but not quite fast enough at times
4. MITCH BARKER (0 1 0 = 1)
Attacked the inside line throughout, but found the going too tough
5. CHRIS SCHRAMM (3 3 2 FX 2 1' = 11+1)
A great young talent, enthusiastic but a little over exuberant
6. STEVE MILDOON (1 1 0 = 2)
Pushed home for one point, but couldn't defeat the opposition again
7. DEREK HARRISON (0 2' 1 F 2 = 5+1)
Took one ride to adapt then his stylish efforts reaped rewards

It was a memorable visit to recently reformed Rye House, but the LP Heathens just didn't have the strength to ruin the Rockets 100% home record. A day of entertainment, consisting of a morning Greyhound meeting, plus speedway including ladies and veterans races, centred around this eagerly anticipated challenge match. A very healthy Conference League crowd of roughly 800 (my estimate!) were not dampened by a mid-meeting rain storm, and in fact the passing wet stuff was almost enough to swing things Cradley's way.

The home side took an early advantage with two 5-1s in the first two races, while the Heathens took time to adjust to the unusually small Hoddesdon track. Then came a 4-2 to follow up as Ian Barney doubled our score to 4 points and the Rockets had hit 14 already. The match-threatening storm came in between stagings of heat 4. Derek Harrison had initially sent the rest of the pack sprawling, forcing a re-run, but the track then received a thorough soaking before racing resumed. The entertainment was left to the Cradley fans who reeled out songs, old and new, and desperately tried to stay moderately dry under the famous flag.

The riders inspected the track and decided to continue, and the conditions immediately favoured us as Harrison and the impressive young Schramm fired back with a 5-1. After a 3-3 behind the unassailable home star, David Mason, it was two 4-2 returns by the Heathens on a fine comeback mission, and now only two behind: Steve Mildoon pushed home for third place in heat 6 and Mitch Barker took a useful point in heat 7. But it was Harrison who then failed to muster the speed to prevent a 5-1 reverse in the eighth, despite all his best efforts behind Simon Moon and Garry Sweet.

All was not lost, and tac subs became available to manager Chris Dawson to haul back the now 6 point deficit. The busy Harrison was the first replacement but lasted only a quarter of a lap before crashing. His partner Schramm went hard under Osborn and the Rockets rider also hit the deck, while Mason roared to an easy victory. The resulting 3-2 made the scoreline an uneven looking 30-23.

The major turning point came in heat 10 when Cradley's Ian Barney was partnered by tac sub Chris Schramm against the tough Wolstenholme-Moon pairing. The home pair made the gate and when Schramm again dived up the inside too hard, he was excluded for bringing down the Rockets No.1; Barney trailed third in the re-run and then Boast and Garrod gave away another maximum advantage in the elventh to rider replacement Mason and reserve Morton. Suddenly 15 behind and with only four races to go, the task was more unenviable than ever. The track was drying out again, the blue skies offered no more rain in salvation, and Mason still had two more rides to come. He duly won heat 12 although Barney gave him his closest run of the night, but Mildoon was at the back.

The 17 point deficit was now mathematically too much to pull back and only minor damage limitation prevented this from being stretched any more than another two points. Rye House provided the final three heat winners - to make 12 in total, 6 of which were Mason's - but Schramm still found two more races of entertainment to round off his evening.

In recent weeks, Conference league sides like Sheffield, Peterborough and Buxton have managed team scores of 32, 26 and 27, so the Heathens measured up favourably. After several riders reluctantly refused the chance to visit the tricky circuit in Heathens colours, the team had an unfamiliar slant. Of the newcomers, ex-Peterbough regular Ian Barney showed up well, scoring 4 more than on his previous Hoddesdon appearance; Chris Schramm excited and entertained, although his aggressive inside line could land him in trouble unless he manages to control the urge to dive in too quickly. And of the 'regulars', Peter Boast returned to the number one position but was not suited to the tiny track and ex-Heathen Derek Harrison was back at reserve to do a tidy job. In a sense, Barker and Garrod typify what Club CH is all about. Their commitment is 110% and although they found points particularly hard to come by on this occasion, they never stopped battling as usual.

Rye House made a surprise return to the sport last year with similar circumstances and background to ourselves. They have now found a sugar daddy in Len Silver who has brought regular league racing back to the spritual home of Hoddesdon. The track was available for use, after continued stock car meetings, and now becomes a permanent home to speedway with the four-wheeled sport being wheeled right out of the gates. The programme gave a very favourable welcome and attention to us as the visiting side, including a mention for our very own web site! The whole day was a marked success and the match itself a significant landmark which the two teams may not quite have imagined some two years ago.

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8th September 2000

News in brief.

News in brief: The Conference League Riders Championship goes ahead this Sunday at Newport, but Club CH will definitely not have a rider representative. Despite some talks about entering a Club CH rider, the league decided it was not in the best interests as we are not a league club. Note however, that Jonathan Swales is in the line-up although not riding for any club at all, purely as he is defending champion.
With regard to the rest of this season, there are currently no scheduled Club CH matches although it is still hoped that another fixture can be arranged, with Sheffield a possible venue should they have a free date.

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12th September 2000

Conference League Riders Final.

The Conference League Riders Championship was won by Newport Mavericks' Scott Pegler after a run-off with Steve Bishop of St Austell. Third place went to Sheffield's PL reserve Adam Allott
It seems there was much less restrictions against the "old hands" of the Conference League than there was for allowing a representative from Club Cradley Heath. Further down the scorers can be found Ian Barney (39 yrs, 5 pts) and Rob Hollingworth (44 yrs, 2pts). Without anything against any particular rider, it seems unfortunate that a younger up and coming rider could not have been given a chance to compete in a meeting like this, whilst also helping the cause of Cradley Heath and everything Club CH stands for.
Some friends of Club CH did appear in the final for their repsctive clubs including Carl Wilkinson (Boston, 8 pts), Paul Burnett (Buxton, 3 pts) and Chris Schramm (Pboro, 2 pts)

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3th October 2000

October update

With no on-track action for some time now, the Club CH season is drawing to a close. A General meeting has been organised for Wednesday 15th November 8pm at Cradley Heath Liberal Club. This is intended to see where we go from here and what reaction is forthcoming from supporters. There will also be a vote for the 2000 Rider of the Year, ahead of the award presentation later in the month.
Saturday 25th November is the scheduled date for the end of season party and disco, at Haden Hill Leisure Centre from 8.00pm. Tickets are priced at #5.00(ukp) and will be on sale at the general meeting. More details and a reminder of both events will be on here closer to the dates.
The possibility of one last match at St Austell did arise, but was not followed up due to the late October date, unreliable weather and unavailability of riders. The Gulls were very keen to have us back after a successful crowd in the same fixture last season, but the logistics unfortunately prevented it.
Apologies for the lack of latest news on the Club CH pages but I'm sure you will understand it is an awkward time of year, especially for a club in our situation. Anyone with ideas for getting the site through the Winter months is welcome to get in touch!!

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25th October 2000

Contenders for Rider of the Year

With voting for the Club CH Rider of the Season scheduled for the General Meeting on the 15th November (see below), here we preview the main contenders for the award.
Peter Boast led the Heathens on three occasions this season against Buxton, Mildenhall and Rye House. His 7.73 average is the best of all the riders who competed in two or more matches for us. The figure is bumped up by a 12 point maximum at Hi-Edge but knocked down again by a 5+1 at the Fortress Hoddesdon.
Gordon Meakins rode mostly from reserve or second string, stepping up to Number One only for the weakened challenge against Southampton. However, the Welshman must be one of the most improved riders of the season after he helped the Heathens' launch last year. With new equipment and a squad place with the Peterborough Pumas, Meakins has added some notable points scoring ability to his very creditable loylaty, lifting his Heathens average from 2.50 to 5.88.
Dean Garrod was transferred to Boston for this season after struggling to find his previous form last year at Mildenhall. In many ways, like Meakins, he epitomises what Club CH is all about. Not a big scorer, but always loyal and did chalk up some very useful points in his four appearances and maintained his steady 5.00 average.
Derek Harrison only joined the ranks for the last two matches but became an instant hit with his lovable leg-trailing style and the first ex-Heathen to also turn out for Club CH. 'The Bouncer' Mitch Barker is considered another founder member, and he extended his association with the club with another three matches this year. His 4.80 average represented an increase of more than 2.50 points on last season. Carl Wilkinson and David Nix deserve special mentions for their averages of 6.55 and 6.29 respectively, as both competed in two matches for the club. And finally, theres Charly Kirtland who also made two appearances and became the first female to ride for us.
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15th November 2000

General Meeting

There is a General Meeting on 15th November at Cradley Heath Liberal Club, Bank Street at 8.00pm. All members and none members are welcome.
The purpose of this meeting is to test the reaction of the supporters and to decide where Club CH goes from here.
Tickets will be on sale for the forthcoming end of season party and disco at Haden Hill Leasure Centre these are priced at 5.00(ukp) including buffet.
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21st November 2000

Club CH to visit Elite and Premier Venues!

Following the general meeting called for Cradley fans last week, it seems highly likely that the Club CH project will extend to next season - with a few significant changes.
It has been proposed that the club should run in 2001 at a lower level than Conference League racing. During the past two years, we have been relying solely on Conference clubs to fit us into their schedule for full challenge matches. The new set-up would see the introduction of 8-heat matches, raced at Elite and Premier league venues, as a second half after the main meeting. In addition, it is hoped that the Heathens could be represented mainly by a squad of about five of our own riders, instead of borrowing a whole team from other clubs.
The matches would generally be at venues within an hour away in midweek, or further away at weekends and bank holidays. It is also planned to extend to a couple of full 15-heat matches at our most welcoming hosts so far such as Buxton and Mildenhall.
As a final reminder, the end of season party and presentation takes place this Saturday. See below for details. More news on the 2001 season to follow shortly.

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26th November 2000

Rider of the Year.

Gordon Meakins was voted rider of the season on Saturday night with a good turnout at the End of Year Party Night.
The "Welsh Wizard" won by a country mile after a much improved season and ever increasing loyalty to the club.
The Heathens also announced the bulk of the team for 2001. The main 5 riders will be - Gordon Meakins, Mitch Barker, David Nix, Charly Kirtland and Premier League rider Shane Colvin.
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24th December 2000

Future Stars emerge

Looking back on the season 2000, Club CH followers have once again been able to watch some of the countrys future stars in action. The exciting Luke Clifton turned out twice for the Heathens and is now being lined up as a possible Premier League reserve for Arena Essex. Fans favourite, Carl Wilkinson is also pushing for a PL berth now while club skipper Neil Painter is being considered by Stoke. Painter helped the Potters out this season and with new machinery in the garage, he is now waiting anxiously for a call from the Loomer Road promoters.
Ex-Club CH riders have also fared well this year with Mark Steel the prime example. A huge hit with Heathens fans, Mark was given a PL chance with Swindon and made an equally big impression with the Robins, turning them into Championship contenders and finishing with an average of around five and a half.
Another popular figure from 99 was Aidian Collins, son of ex-Heathen, Les. Aidian couldn't ride for Club CH in 2000 because of a move up to Premier League Glasgow, and after a successful debut season, he has joined his father as the first two contracted names on Glasgow's team sheet for 2001.

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Results & Match Reports 2000

Click on the links to see the match reports for each of the meetings...

1. Sunday 8th April: Boston 51 Club CH 39

2. Sunday 28th May: Buxton 35 Club CH 55.

3. Friday 16th June: Somerset 55 Club CH 35.

4. Sunday 2nd July: Mildenhall 57 Club CH 53.

5. Sunday 6th August: Club CH 44 Southampton 45.

6. Monday 28th August: Rye House 54 Club CH 35.

Also: Billy Hamill Testimonial Meeting; Sunday 26th March.

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Rider Statistics 2000

In six matchs during 2000, Club CH used a total of 25 riders - compared to just 18 in 1999 - as it became necessary to pick 'horses for courses' against the increasingly competitve Conference League teams. The table below has a minimum qualification of two matches and therefore features just 11 riders. A further 14 riders competed in only one match each.

Only two riders - Meakins and Garrod - competed in four out of the six matches, and no-one made more than four appearances.



                Ave     M       P       B       T       R
Peter BOAST	7.73	3	28	1	29	15
Derek HARRISON	7.20	2	17	1	18	10
Carl WILKINSON	6.55	2	17	1	18	11
David NIX	6.29	2	9	2	11	7
Gordon MEAKINS	5.88	4	21	4	25	17
Dean GARROD	5.18	4	19	3	22	17
Mitchell BARKER	4.80	3	12	0	12	10
Luke CLIFTON	4.44	2	9	1	10	9
Paul BURNETT	3.43	2	4	2	6	7
Steve MILDOON	3.43	2	6	0	6	7
Charly KIRTLAND	1.33	2	2	0	2	6

Key: Ave = Average(CMA), M = Matches, P = Points, B = Bonus Points,
     T = Total Points, R = Total no. of rides.

NB. Billy Hamill Testimonial meeting not included. Club CH were represented in a mini-meeting by Carl Wilkinson, Neil Painter and Luke Clifton who each took two rides.

Disclaimer: the statistics provided are unofficial and calculated solely for use on the Cradley Speedway web site. Any errors will be gladly corrected, should they be found and reported.

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