1951

Central Shield Victory but Decline Begins

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Season Review

With number one and fans' favourite Alan Hunt moving to Birmingham over the Winter, and then being closely followed by Eric Boothroyd shortly into the 1951 season, Cradley were forced to suffer their top two riders from 1950 racing for their arch rivals a few miles away. Only Les Tolley's brother Dick, and Dennis Hitchings were initially signed to fill the gap, but Cradley soon turned to Guy Allott from Sheffield when Brian Shepherd picked up a broken leg early on.

team photo

L to R. Don Prettijohn, Harry Bastable, Dick Tolley, Guy Allott, Laurie Schofield,
team manager - Dicky Wise - Phil Malpass, Les Tolley, 
On bike: - Gil Craven.

In the central shield, the Heathens plundered the overall honours despite a raging inconsistency. They won away at Liverpool, but lost at home to Leicester. Then after thrashing Halifax and snatching a victory at Sheffield, they defeated Liverpool again, this time at Dudley Wood, to lift the silverware.

With Hunt badly missed however, the league campaign ended with a devastating 15th out of 16 - the first time the club had ever finished outside the top four! The encouraging early season performances of Schofield were cut short with a National Service call and he left Dudley Wood for the RAF. By the time the league hopes had become a lost cause, skipper Craven made an early exit and left for New Zealand, unhappy with morale and conditions, but no sooner had Malpass taken on the captaincy, he suffered a broken collarbone.

It was a season where promoter Eli Sumner was rocked by injuries, wrangles over wages and declining crowds, while team manager Dick Wise handed in his resignation after a Midland Cup demolition by Birmingham in September. By October, Cradley were barely able to field a full team. Young Australian Don Prettijohn was thrown into a dreadfully weak line-up, along with regular back-up rider Wilf Wilstead. Although Bastable and both Tolley brothers came to the fore with some good scores late on, it could not mask a hugely disappointing year at Dudley Wood. Speedway in general was in decline, and most tracks were losing money. Cradley announced a 6000 loss but promised to battle on into 1952.

 


programme

Riders Performance Chart

1951 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
G.Craven
15
--
120
--
120
8.00
P.Malpass
22
--
154
--
154
7.00
G.Allott
30
--
184
--
184
6.13
L.Schofield
22
--
128
--
128
5.82
L.Tolley
28
--
159
--
159
5.68
H.Bastable
29
--
145
--
145
5.00
D.Tolley
30
--
126
--
126
4.20
W.Wilstead
10
--
25
--
25
2.50
D.Hitchings
24
--
58
--
58
2.42
B.Clifton
12
--
24
--
24
2.00
D.Prettijohn
15
--
16
--
16
1.06

statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for NL matches only.
for a more comprehensive look at Cradley's statistics for 1951 we recommend The Speedway Researcher - statistics by Nigel Nicklin & Roger Beaman -
1951 statistics
- pdf file you will need Adobe Acrobat for this - get Adobe Acrobat


Final League Table

1951 National League Division 2
Team
PL
W
D
L
BP
For
Ag
Pts
Norwich
30
24
0
6
--
1526
990
48
Leicester
30
19
0
11
--
1350
1169
38
Edinburgh
30
18
0
12
--
1333
1179
36
Coventry
30
16
3
11
--
1311
1199
35
Walthamstow
30
17
0
13
--
1394
1116
34
Halifax
30
17
0
13
--
1300
1219
34
Motherwell
30
16
1
13
--
1277
1237
33
Glasgow (Ashfield)
30
16
0
14
--
1287
1228
32
Hanley
30
15
0
15
--
1242
1268
30
Glasgow (White City)
30
14
1
15
--
1303
1215
29
Yarmouth
30
13
1
16
--
1158
1355
27
Oxford
30
12
2
16
--
1183
1330
26
Liverpool
30
12
1
17
--
1211
1300
25
Fleetwood
30
9
2
19
--
1049
1453
20
CRADLEY
30
9
0
21
--
1139
1372
18
Newcastle
30
7
1
22
--
1039
1472
15
Southampton
7
4
0
3
--
297
291
8
Southampton rode 7 matches before withdrawing from the League their records were deleted.

National Trophy
Qualifying Competition

Round 1 - 1st leg - Coventry 48 Cradley 60
Gil Craven 14, Laurie Schofield 14, Harry Bastable 8, Guy Allott 8, Les Tolley 6, Phil Malpass 5, Dennis Hitchings 3, Dick Tolley 2.
Round 1 - 2nd leg - Cradley 58 Coventry 49
Gil Craven 14, Laurie Schofield 13, Phil Malpass 10, Les Tolley 8, Dick Tolley 8, Harr Bastable 5, Guy Allott 0, Dennis Hitchins 0.
Cradley win 118-97 on aggregate

Round 2 - 1st leg - Ashfield 71 Cradley 37
Laurie Schofield 12, Harry Bastable 7, Dennis Hitchings 6, Gil Craven 4, Dick Tolley 3, Guy Allott 3, Les Tolley 2, Bill Clifton 0.
Round 2 - 2nd leg - Cradley 83 Ashfield 25
Gil Craven 15, Les Tolley 15, Guy Allott 14, Laurie Schofield 12, Dick Tolley 10, Hayy Bastable 7, Dennis Hitchings 6, Bill Clifton 4.
Cradley win 120-96 on aggregate

Semi Final - 1st leg - Norwich 67.5 Cradley 40.5
Gil Craven 16, Laurie Schofield 10.5, Guy Allott 6, Phil Malpass 3, Les Tolley 2, Harr Bastable 1, Don Prettyjohn 1, Dick Tolley 1.
Semi Final - 2nd leg - Cradley 47 Norwich 61
Gil Craven 10, Guy Allott 7, Phil Malpass 7, Laurie Schofield 6, Dick Tolley 6, Harry Bastable 4, Dennis Hitchings 4, Les Tolley 3.
Norwich win 128.5-87.5 on aggregate


 

Central Shield
 Liverpool 34 Cradley 50
Gil Craven 12, Brian Shepherd 10, Dennis Hitchings 6, Les Tolley 6, Dick Tolley 6, Laurie Schofield 4, Phil Malpass 3, Harry Bastable 3.
 Cradley 57 Liverpool 26
Laurie Schofield 12, Dick Tolley 11, Les Tolley 9, Phil Malpass 7, Gil Craven 6, Harry Bastable 6, Dennis Hitchings 4. Brian Shepherd 2.

 Cradley 52 Hanley 31
Gil Craven 12, Brian Shepherd 10, Phil Malpass 8, Dick Tolley 8, Les Tolley 6, Laurie Schofield 4, Harry Bastable 4, Dennis Hitchings 0.
 Hanley 45 Cradley 39
Laurie Schofield 9, Phil Malpass 8, Gil Craven 7, Dick Tolley 7, Harry Bastable 3, Les Tolley 3, Brian Shepherd 2, Bill Clifton 0.

Cradley 38 Leicester 46
Brian Shepherd 10, Laurie Schofield 8, Bill Clifton 6, Phil Malpass 5, Gil Craven 4, Les Tolley 3, Dick Tolley 2, Harry Bastable 0.
Leicester 54 Cradley 30
Brian Shepherd 9, Laurie Schofield 7, Les Tolley 4, Gil Craven 3, Phil Malpass 3, Harry Bastable 2, Bill Clifton 1, Dick Tolley 1.


Cradley 51 Halifax 33
Laurie Schofield 11, Brian Shepherd 8, Gil Craven 7, Dick Tolley 7, Phil Malpass 6, Les Tolley 6, Harry Bastable 4, Bill Clifton 2.
Halifax 41 Cradley 43
Laurie Schofield 9, Phil Malpass 7, Gil Craven 7, Dick Tolley 6, Les Tolley 5, Brian Shepherd 5, Harry Bastable 2, Bill Clifton 2.

Cradley 56 Sheffield 28
Dick Tolley 10, Gil Craven 8, Brian Shepherd 8, Harry Bastable 8, Les Tolley 8, Laurie Schofield 7, Phil Malpass 6, Bill Clifton 1.
Sheffield 36 Cradley 48
Laurie Schofield 9, Gil Craven 8, Phil Malpass 8, Dick Tolley 7, Brian Shepherd 7, Les Tolley 4, Harry Bastable 2, Bill Clifton 1.
Cradley win the Central Shield

 

Midland Cup


Cradley 57  Hanley 39
Gil Craven 14, Guy Allott 11, Harry Bastable 10, Phil Malpass 9, Laurie Schofield 5, Les Tolley 3, Bill Clifton 3, Dick Tolley 2
Hanley 50 
Cradley 45
Dick Tolley 10, Gil Craven 9, Harry Bastable 8, Guy Allott 6, Dennis Hitchins 4, Phil Malpass 4, Laurie Schofield 4, Bill Clifton 2.

Birmingham 65  Cradley 30  
Phil Malpass 10, Guy Allott 6, Les Tolley 4, Bill Clifton 3, Wilf Wilstead 3, Dennis Hitchins 2, Dick Tolley 2, Harry Bastable 0.
Cradley 34  Birmingham 61
Phil Malpass 10, Les Tolley 7, Guy Allott 5, Harry Bastable 4, Wilf Wilstead 4, Dick Tolley 3, Bill Clifton 1, Don Prettijohn 0.

 


Cradley hosted the England v Scotland International.
with England beating the Scots 61 - 47 on 10th August.

 


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