1947

The First Team at Dudley Wood

Season Review

  The first ever Cradley Heath team entered a newly formed Third Division speedway league in 1947.  The squad comprised mainly riders from a novice training school directed by former international star, Harold 'Tiger' Stevenson, at Birmingham's Perry Barr track during the preceding Winter.  Mr. George Bridgewater paved the way to run the sport at the derelict fairground site which would become Dudley Wood Stadium and he formed an association with Les Marshall, then promoter of second division Birmingham, also taking on former grass-track rider George Buck as the first team manager.

team photo

L to R. Ray Beaumont, Les Beaumont, Eric Irons, Geoff Bennett, Phil Malpass,
front row:Stan Crouch, Jimmy Wright, Alan Hunt.

         Eric Irons, Phil Malpass and Alan Hunt were amongst those selected from the training school to be in the ground-breaking Cradley team which rode it's first match on 8th May, a 33-48 defeat at Stoke's Sun Street Stadium, although Irons and Malpass had also represented the club in a pairs event a week earlier.  Dudley Wood eventually opened it's doors for racing on 21st June with a crowd of 12,000 people, after poor weather had hindered progress on the newly built track being superbly modelled on Wembley's famous speedway oval.  Following a couple of away defeats, the young team was strengthened with the acquisitions of Les and Ray Beaumont, Geoff Bennett and Jimmy Wright, all of whom had experience with Birmingham, and all who would become the mainstay of the squad for the rest of the year.
        Les Beaumont was named as captain, Bennett twice became track record holder at 'the Wood and Alan Hunt's gradual determined improvement endeared him as the young new hero to the flocking supporters.  Bob Fletcher, from first division Belle Vue, and Frank Evans joined the ranks during the course of the season and helped the club mount a very serious title challenge despite their young average age and relative inexperience.  In fact, the final league table shows Cradley as runners-up in the debut campaign to south coast outfit Eastbourne, after the two clubs finished on exactly the same points total.  Superior match points handed the accolades to Eastbourne, but it didn't stop Cradley thrashing the newly crowned champions 59-25 in the Black Country team's last home league match.  

Riders Performance Chart

1947 Cradley 'The Lukes?'.
Rider Matches Rides Points Bonus Aver
G.Bennett 28 -- 243 -- 8.68
L.Beaumont 28 -- 224 -- 8.00
E.Irons 18 -- 120 -- 6.67
J.Wright 28 -- 177 -- 6.32
B.Fletcher 20 -- 110 -- 5.50
R.Beaumont 26 -- 117 -- 4.50
A.Hunt 28 -- 103 -- 3.68
F.Evans 13 -- 45 -- 3.46
P.Malpass 24 -- 62 -- 2.58
S.Crouch 4 -- 9 -- 2.25
A.Abbott 2 -- 2 -- 1.00
A.Briggs 2 -- 2 -- 1.00
W.Wilstead 2 -- 1 -- 0.50
G.Scrivens 1 -- 0 -- --

statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for NL matches only.
for a more comprehensive look at Cradley's results for 1947 we recommend The Speedway Researcher - stats by Nigel Nicklin & Roger Beaman -
1947 statistics  - pdf file you will need Adobe Acrobat for this - get Adobe Acrobat


Final League Table

1947 National League Division 3.
Team PL W D L BP For Ag Pts
Eastbourne 28 18 0 10 -- 1260 1057 36
CRADLEY 28 18 0 10 -- 1215 1116 36
Southampton 28 17 1 10 -- 1274.5 1057.5 35
Exeter 28 15 0 13 -- 1193.5 1131.5 30
Tamworth 28 12 0 16 -- 1159 1179 24
Hanley 28 12 0 16 -- 1105 1206 24
Wombwell 28 12 0 16 -- 1100 1225 24
Plymouth 28 7 1 20 -- 995 1330 15
 

 

Midland v South Cup

  Wombwell 45 Cradley 51
Les Beaumont 12, Geoff Bennett 12, Jimmy Wright 10, Alan Hunt 5, Ray Beaumont 5, Arthur Abbott 4, Bernard Tennant 2, Bob Fletcher 1.
The Cradley v Wombwell match was never ridde
n

Tamworth 54 Cradley 42
Jimmy Wright 9, Les Beaumont 8, Alan Hunt 6, Geoff Bennett 6, Ray Beaumont 4, Eric Irons 4, Phil Malpass 4, Frank Evans 1 

Cradley 47 Tamworth 49
Jimmy Wright 13, Geoff Bennett 9, Les Beaumont 8, Ray Beaumont 7, Alan Hunt 3, Frank Evans 3,  Phil Malpass 2, Eric Irons 2.

Hanley 55 Cradley 39
Geoff Bennett 13, Jimmy Wright 5, Les Beaumont 5, Bob Fletcher 5, Alan Hunt 3, Phil Malpass 3, Ray Beaumont 3, Frank Evans 2.

Cradley 64 Hanley 32 (@ Tamworth)
Alan Hunt 15, Eric Irons 11, Geoff Bennett 10, Jimmy Wright 7, Les Beaumont 7, Bob Fletcher 7, Ray Beaumont 4, Phil Malpass 3.

Tamworth won the Midland Group and went on to beat Eastbourne in a single-leg Final

Match to Remember:

The First Meeting at Dudley Wood

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Next Year


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