1963

Midland League Champs & Another PL KO Cup

Season Review
The omens were not good for Cradley right from the beginning of 1963.  The club struggled to strengthen the squad after a disappointing league campaign the previous year and would eventually concede an even lower league finish, ending up in 9th.

team photo

L to R. John Belcher, Alan Totney, John Edwards,
front row: Harry Bastable, Ivor Brown, John Hart.
photo by kind permission of Speedway Star & News)

They were officially recognized by the speedway authorities as ‘under-strength’ before a wheel was turned and attracted only one new signing mid-season to bolster their ranks. Despite this, the battling Heathens showed all their fight and determination at the right times to bag a hatful of silverware – conquering the Midland League Championship, the Dudley-Wolves Trophy for the first time and the Provincial League Knock Out Cup again!

While Ivor Brown continued to rule the league, lowering a clutch of track records on his way to overall top points scorer again, the times were a-changing in the middle and lower order of the team.  Stan Stevens had left for a new start at New Cross and Nick Nicholls had carried out his threat of retirement.  Ivor Davies started the season still on the injury list, but John Hart withdrew his transfer request and stayed on to become a much needed extra-heatleader.  If Hart was a steady improver, then Alan Totney was breaking through like a steam train.  After holding down a reserve team place in 1962, he produced a string of high scores to bolster the middle order in ’63.  Heading in the other direction was Harry Bastable, still captain and recognized as one of the team’s top stars, he was appearing more often than not in the lower half of the scorers.   

The real difference was made when first Johnny Edwards was signed from Stoke in May and a few weeks later, Ivor Davies was able to return from his long injury.  Edwards gradually settled in and by the end of the season was contributing at the top end of the scorechart.  Davies made an admirable comeback to further reinforce the middle order and Cradley went cup crazy.  They saw off the challenge of Stoke, Sheffield and a weakened Newcastle in the Knock Out Cup and secured a comfortable aggregate victory in the third annual Dudley-Wolves showdown.

Brown had faced stiff competition as PL top dog from a rising New Zealand star by the name of Ivan Mauger, but held his nerve and also became the first winner of the Alan Hunt Memorial meeting staged at Dudley Wood.  The league campaign failed to go as planned once more, but the cup success provided plenty of cheer, and the season ended with a challenge match against the first National League team to visit the Wood.  Coventry were the guests but Cradley, strengthened by the one-off additions of Eric Boocock and Jimmy Squibb, fought off the Bees to win by two points.


Riders Performance Chart

1963 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
I.Brown
25
110
279
3
282
10.25
E.Eadon
2
4
9
1
10
10.00
J.Hart
25
101
175
24
199
7.88
J.Edwards
21
82
117
10
127
6.20
H.Bastable
25
98
132
19
151
6.16
A.Totney
22
84
102
16
84
5.62
I.Davies
11
40
45
8
53
5.30
D.Timms
23
72
76
10
86
4.78
G.Bewley
1
4
3
1
4
4.00
J.Belcher
15
46
36
6
42
3.65
J.Westwood
4
8
3
1
4
2.00

statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for PL matches only.


Final League Table

1963 Provincial League
Team
PL
W
D
L
BP
For
Ag
Pts
Wolverhampton
24
15
1
8 - 906 954 31
Stoke
24
14
1 9 - 971.5 895.5 29
Poole
24
14 0 10 - 1004 867 28
Sheffield
24
14 0 10 - 986 802 28
St Austell
24
13
2 9 - 967 895 28
Newcastle
24
13
1
10 - 890 889 27
Exeter
24
12 1 11 - 985 882 25
Edinburgh
24
12
1
11
- 969.5 896.5 25
Cradley
24
11 1
12
- 934 927 23
Hackney
24
10 1 13 - 875 990 21
Middlesbrough
24
9
2 13 - 881 980 20
Long Eaton
24
7 2 15 - 848 1009 16
Rayleigh
24
5
1
18
- 815 1045 11
New Cross 17 4 0 13 - 581 737 8

New Cross record deleted as they did not complete the league.
Newcastle v Sheffield match awarded to Newcastle


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st Leg - Cradley 48 Wolves 30
Ivor Brown 12, Ivor Davies 9, Harry Bastable 8,
Alan Totney 7, John Edwards 5, John Hart 4, 
John Belcher 3.
2nd leg - Wolves 41 Cradley 36
Ivor Brown 12, Harry Bastable 10, John Edwards 7, 
John Hart 4, Alan Totney 2, John Belcher 1, 
Ivor Davies 0.
Cradley win 84-71 on aggregate


  Midland League

Team P W D L F A Pts
Cradley 6 5 0 1 251 217 7
Stoke 6 4 0 2 238 226 6
Long Eaton 6 2 0 4 207 259 3
Wolves 6 1 0 5 234 228 2

 

KO Cup

Round 1 - Cradley 55 Stoke 41
Ivor Brown 14, Harry Bastable 10, John Edwards 8,
Alan Totney 7, Derek Timms 7, John Hart 6, 
Ivor Davies 3.
Semi-Final - Cradley 61 Sheffield 35
Ivor Brown 14, John Hart 13, John Edwards 11, 
Harry Bastable 9, Ivor Davies 8, Alan Totney 5,
Derek Timms 1.
Final 1st leg - Newcastle 50 Cradley 45
Ivor Brown 14, Harry Bastable 12, John Edwards 9, 
Derek Timms 5, Alan Totney 4, Ivor Davies 1.
Final 2nd leg - Cradley 64 Newcastle 32
Ivor Brown 15, John Hart 15, John Edwards 13, 
Derek Timms 8, Harry Bastable 6, Alan Totney 6,
Joe Westwood 1.
Cradley win the K.O.Cup for the second time


The Alan Hunt Memorial Trophy in July was won by
 Ivor Brown

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