The Cradley-Wolves Rivalry
The Black Country derby matches between Cradley and Wolves are arguably the most fierce and competitive in the sport of Speedway. With literally just a few miles between the two clubs, the conflict is inevitable with each and every meeting between the two providing both entertaining racing on track and a healthy supporters' banter on the terraces. As a Heathens fan, the greatest thrill in Speedway is watching a hard fought victory at Monmore Green, home of the Wolves. The competition between these two local rivals stretches back a long way and there have been countless exciting clashes that have gone either way time and time again . If the league and cup encounters over the years were not enough, then the annual Dudley-Wolves trophy was always an added bonus to take in. A special head to head between only these two teams may just have been a two-leg challenge match to the uninitiated. But for the locals, the pride of the Black Country was at stake and the matches certainly couldn't be described as 'friendly'!
This rivalry goes back a long way! Can you name these two riders battling into the bend?
Dudley-Wolves Trophy Encounters
1961 Wolves 97-94 1972 Wolves 86-69 1987 Cradley 107-72 1962 Wolves 81-74 1973 Wolves 80-76 1988 Cradley 95-85 1963 Cradley 84-71 1974 Cradley 79-77 1989 Wolves 90-89 1964 Wolves 103.5-88.5 1975 Wolves 80-76 1990 Cradley 91-87 1965 Wolves 110-81 1976 Cradley 45-33 1991 Cradley 102-78 1966 Wolves 115-89 1977 Wolves 90-66 1992 Cradley 97-79 1967 Wolves 108-95 1978 Cradley 81-75 1993 Cradley 119-96 1968 Cradley 112-103 1979 Cradley 89-67 1994 Cradley 106-86 1969 Cradley 79-77 1980 Cradley 84-71 1995 Cradley 97-95 1970 Wolves 82-74 1985 Cradley 99-57 1996 Wolves 103-89 1971 Cradley 83-73 1986 Cradley 84-72 1999 Cradley 42-36 TOTAL: Cradley 20 wins, Wolves 13 wins. NB. The 1999 trophy was staged at amateur level between the Varta Wolf Cubs and Club Cradley Heath. Only one leg took place, at Monmore Green.
Arthur Price reflects the current Dudley-wolves trophy victories with Cradley clearly in the lead.
Recent Cradley-Wolves Encounters
The titanic clashes between these historic Speedway giants have thankfully been allowed to continue, despite Cradley's current track problems. In both 1997 and 1999, Wolves promoter Chris Van Straaten organised challenge matches to compete for the Tom Johnson Memorial Trophy - remembering the journalist who covered the sport on both sides of the Midlands.
Unfortunately, on both occasions, the home team have prevailed - but more importantly each date has seen an enormous turn out of Heathens supporters, past and present. The atmosphere has been as good as it ever was and the racing has been of a standard worthy of the billing.
The Cradley team has been represented in both matches by Billy Hamill, Peter Nahlin, Les Collins. In '97 they were joined by Greg Hancock, Troy Pratt & Scott Smith and in '99 by Gert Handberg (flown in specially), Grant McDonald, David Walsh & Mark Loram (guesting for the injured Hancock).