1948

Into the Second Season

Season Review

In 1948, Cradley were looking to capitalise on their successful inaugural season, after finishing second in the league and attracting crowds of up to 20,000.
 

The association with neighbouring Birmingham through promoter/manager Les Marshall was to prove both fruitful and frustrating. After acquiring the services of some talented riders from the higher-division Brummies, several would also be making the reverse switch. 

After topping Cradley's 1947 averages, Geoff Bennett was recalled to Birmingham pre-season, while Aussie Graham Warren was paraded in a green and white race-jacket for the Good Friday opening encounter with local rivals Tamworth, before also being shipped out of the black country on account of his faultless maximum and stunning performance. 
Instead, Cradley landed Gil Craven, a 27-year old Londoner and Spanish Civil War veteran who had spent the previous two years racing abroad. The club, who this season were officially nicknamed 'The Cubs' - a moniker chosen by the fans due to the young average age of the team - also snapped up Bill Clifton early on from second-division Bristol and brought in local youngster Roy Moreton at reserve. 

team photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L to R. Eric Irons, Bill Clifton, Gill Craven, Ray Beaumont, Phil Malpass, Team Manager:-George Buck,
on bike - Les Beaumont, Alan Hunt.

The club were allowed entry to the prestigious National Trophy competition for the first time and did well to reach the third round, dipping out after an aggregate defeat to Southampton, despite one of the most entertaining matches to date at Dudley Wood in the second leg. Fans' favourite Alan Hunt began to emerge, from gutsy reserve to a genuine match winner, breaking the Dudley Wood track record more than once. He proved to be at the heart of many thrills in the Southampton match, despite racing with stitches in his backside following a crash which had ripped out the seat of his leathers, and later in the season scored two points as he somersaulted across the finish line after being fenced on the last corner by Tamworth's Basil Harris. Craven was promoted mid-season, from reserve into the team proper, due to an injury to Clifton, and was regularly achieving double figure returns by the summer, before notching back to back maximums against Exeter and Plymouth in July. Home crowds continued in excess of 10,000 and new track lights were installed at 'the Wood to enable regular evening racing to take place for the first time.


By mid-August, the Cubs were fancying their title chances and eyeing a promotion push for the second division. They tested their mettle against several teams from the higher league with challenges against Sheffield and Yarmouth, whilst signing Ken Sharples on loan from Belle Vue and Bill Kemp from Wembley. Alan Hunt's progress soon saw him partnered with Eric Irons to form one of the most prolific pairs in the league. However their brave battle was dented in the latter stages of the season with an injury to Craven. Finishing strongly once again, they rounded the season off with a 22-point league victory at Tamworth and a record 66-18 home demolition of Wombwell to claim runners-up spot in the third division for the second successive year. Under new regulations it was enough for promotion into Division Two, a commendable achievement for the young Cubs.

Craven was one of the finds of the season, topping the club's averages, closely followed by Beaumont, and backed-up admirably by Eric Irons and the hugely entertaining Hunt. Jimmy Wright earned a 7.00+ average before serious injuries cut short his season in a horror crash at Exeter.


Riders Performance Chart

1948 Cradley 'The Cubs'

Rider Matches Rides Points Bonus Aver
G.Craven 28 -- 238.5 -- 8.52
L.Beaumont 44 -- 368 -- 8.36
E.Irons 44 -- 332 -- 7.55
J.Wright 14 -- 102 -- 7.29
A.Hunt 44 -- 307 -- 6.98
B.Kemp 15 -- 82 -- 5.47
K.Sharples 14 -- 68 -- 4.86
P.Malpass 44 -- 191 -- 4.34
B.Clifton 40 -- 160 -- 4.00
J.Coy 5 -- 16 -- 3.20
R.Beaumont 19 -- 40 -- 2.10
R.Moreton 35 -- 62 -- 1.77
W.Wilstead 5 -- 7 -- 1.40
F.Evans 3 -- 4 -- 1.34
T.Moore 2 -- 2 -- 1.00

statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for NL matches only.
for a more comprehensive look at Cradley's statistics for 1948 we recommend The Speedway Researcher - statistics by Nigel Nicklin & Roger Beaman-
1948 Statistics - pdf file you will need Adobe Acrobat for this - get Adobe Acrobat


League Table

1948 National League Division 3.
Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Exeter
44
32
1
11
--
2152
1523
65
CRADLEY
44
29
2
13
--
1979.5
1702.5
60
Southampton
44
29
0
15
--
2113.5
1568.5
58
Tamworth
44
23
4
17
--
1954.5
1725.5
50
Hanley
44
24
1
19
--
1925
1753
49
Hastings
44
22
0
22
--
1755
1924
44
Plymouth
44
21
1
22
--
1857.5
1810.5
43
Coventry
44
19
1
24
--
1670.5
1998.5
39
Hull
44
19
1
25
--
1757
1909
38
Poole
44
17
0
27
--
1761.5
1916.5
34
Yarmouth
44
13
1
30
--
1606.5
2058.5
27
Wombwell
44
10
1
33
--
1512.5
2155.5
21

National Trophy
Qualifying Competition

Round 1 - 1st leg - Plymouth 56 Cradley 50
Jimmy Wright 14, Alan Hunt 10, Les Beaumont 6, Eric Irons 6, Bill Clifton 6, Phil Malpass 4, Ted Moore 2, Jimmy Coy 2.
Round 1 - 2nd leg - Cradley 66 Plymouth 42
Les Beaumont 14, Bill Clifton 11, Jimmy Coy 11, Alan Hunt 10, Ernie Appleby(G) 10, Eric Irons 9, Jimmy Wright 1, Phil Malpass 0.
Cradley win 116-98 on aggregate

Round 2 - 1st leg - Hull 42 Cradley 66
Jimmy Wright 18, Bill Clifton 12, Eric Irons 10, Les Beaumont 8, Alan Hunt 8, Jimmy Coy 6, Phil Malpass 4, Frank Evans 0.
Round 2 - 2nd leg - Cradley 78 Hull 29
Jimmy Wright 15, Eric Irons 14, Jimmy Coy 12, Bill Clifton 11, Alan Hunt 10, Les Beaumont 10, Phil Malpass 3, Ted Moore 3.
Cradley win 144-71 on aggregate

Semi Final - 1st Leg - Southampton 85 Cradley 23
Jimmy Wright 8, Les Beaumont 5, Alan Hunt 4, Eric Irons 2, Jimmy Coy 2, Phil Malpass 2, Ted Moore 0, Bill Clifton 0.
Semi Final - 2nd Leg - Cradley 54 Southampton 50
Alan Hunt 12, Eric Irons 11, Bill Clifton 10, Jimmy Wright 7, Les Beaumont 5, Ray Beaumont 4, Phil Malpass 4, Jimmy Coy 1.
Southampton win 135-77 on aggregate
Southampton went on to win the Qualifying section beating Hanley in the Final.


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