1967

Misery Continues: Only Way is Up!

Season Review

Attempting to rebuild both team strength and spirit after the tragic 1966 season at Dudley Wood, the management focused on the few positive notes from the previous year. Ivor Brown was still a quality number one and there was never any doubt over his return. He was joined by the entertaining Chris Julian and emerging reserve Ken Wakefield, while Tommy Bergqvist was given the chance of a sustained run in the team after his brief appearance in ‘66.

team photo

L to R. Ken Wakefield, Alan Totney, Tommy Bergqvist, Ivor Brown,
Chris Julian, Graham Coombes, Brian Brett.

Out went Clive Featherby, finally getting his desired move to Kings Lynn, and he was soon followed to East Anglia by Howard Cole. Chum Taylor remained in Australia, so one experienced Aussie was replaced by another with the arrival of former World Finalist Jack Biggs – but he lasted only a few months in green and white before deciding to retire. Also brought in were New Zealander Graham Coombs, Brian Brett – a late starter to replace Cole – and Jack Scott.  

It was the latter who carried a huge weight of expectation. Australian Scott had been touted as a future World Champion and his signing tipped the scales so much that the management committee declared Cradley to be the strongest team in the league.

By April, the Heathens had managed to prove wrong the powers that be. Bottom of the league and struggling to find any consistency, the team just couldn’t get going. Rarely at full strength even from day one, they were robbed of Bergqvist through injury, suffered the retirement of Biggs and most damaging of all, were hit by the decision of Jack Scott to walk out of a two year contract and pay his own fare back home.

Brian Brett brought a ray of light with some plucky performances mid-season and Bergqvist returned from a broken ankle. Both had some fine meetings but never seemed to hit top form at the same time as Julian or Brown, who both showed inconsistencies of their own. Wakefield made progress at reserve and was partnered by Dave Schofield and Pete Wrathall at different times as the pair of youngsters were handed team spots to deputise for more experienced injured colleagues.   

First Eric Hockaday and then Alan Totney both returned to the line-up as cover during June and July, with Totney doing enough to continue until September. By then Bergqvist was injured again and Coombs was also on the sick list. However, even with a patched up team, the Heathens achieved one memorable feat. With Norman Hunter guesting for Brown and rider replacement for Bergqvist, Cradley visited a rain-soaked Halifax at the end of August and won away from home for the first time in 48 attempts. It was Julian’s turn to top score with 13, while three Halifax riders walked out after a single ride complaining about poor track conditions. The victory margin was just a single point.

In the end, the team originally deemed to be the strongest in the league in March, finished bottom but one in the table by October. Using 15 different riders and numerous guests, there was still a distinct lack of stability and an extra helping of bad luck. Ivor Brown topped the averages again but this time with just 7.42 and three other riders - Brett, Bergqvist and Julian – all contributed 7.00+ averages. Fortunately, at last, the only way to go was up.


programme 1967

Riders Performance Chart

'The Heathens' 1967

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
I.Brown
34
153
271
13
284
7.42
B.Brett
19
81
139
9
148
7.31
T.Bergqvist
22
89
141
21
162
7.28
C.Julian
35
155
256
16
272
7.02
J.Scott
15
59
91
3
94
6.37
G.Coombes
31
128
158
28
186
5.81
J.Biggs
12
48
62
6
68
5.67
A.Totney
11
33
26
4
30
3.64
K.Wakefield
34
106
74
18
92
3.47
P.Wrathall
7
19
11
4
15
3.16
D.Schofield
7
18
10
3
13
2.89
E.Hockaday
5
13
5
1
6
1.85
A.Wilkinson
2
5
2
0
2
1.60
J.Woodcock
3
8
2
0
2
1.00
J.Weichlbauer
1
2
0
0
0
0.00

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


Final League Table

British League
Team
PL
W
D
L
BP
For
Ag
Pts
Swindon
36
24
0
12
--
1536
1266
48
Coventry
36
22
2
12
--
1524
1275
46
West Ham
36
21
3
12
--
1514
1288
45
Edinburgh
36
20
2
14
--
1485
1318
42
Hackney
36
20
1
15
--
1402
1400
41
Poole
36
17
3
16
--
1462
1339
37
Halifax
36
18
1
17
--
1456
1349
37
Wolverhampton
36
18
1
17
--
1423
1376
37
Sheffield
36
18
1
17
--
1333.5
1470.5
37
Newcastle
36
18
0
18
--
1386
1417
36
Wimbledon
36
16
3
17
--
1392
1409
35
Newport
36
17
1
18
--
1387
1413
35
Glasgow
36
16
2
18
--
1343
1457
34
Oxford
36
16
1
19
--
1368.5
1432.5
33
Exeter
36
16
0
20
--
1384.5
1418.5
32
Belle Vue
36
16
0
20
--
1333.5
1463.5
32
Long Eaton
36
14
3
19
--
1322
1481
31
CRADLEY
36
12
0
24
--
1262
1533
24
Kings Lynn
36
11
0
25
--
1297
1505
22
KO Cup
Round 1 -
Cradley 45 Long Eaton 51
Graham Coombes 11, Tommy Berqvist 10, Ivor Brown 10, Chris Julian 7, Brian Brett 6, Ken Wakefield 1, Dave Schofield 0.

Long Eaton were KO'd in round 3 by Edinburgh who were beaten by Coventry in the Semi-Final.
Coventry beat West Ham in the Final 
104-88


Midland Cup
Round 1 - 1st leg
Cradley 40 Wolves 38
Brian Brett 14, Graham Coombes 9, Tommy Berqvist 8, Ivor Brown 7, Ken Wakefield 1, Alan Totney 1.
Round 1 - 2nd leg
Wolves 49 - Cradley 29
Graham Coombes 10, Chris Julian 7, Tommy Berqvist 6, Alan Totney 4, Ken Wakefield 2, Brian Brett 0.

Wolves win 87-69 on aggregate but lost to Coventry in the Semi-Final.
Coventry then lost the Final to Swindon 88-68


Cradley hosted a club international in August against Prague, Czechoslovakia and lost 37-41


Cradley finally gave up on the Rememberance Meeting in September after two rain-offs.

Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st Leg - Wolves 57 - Cradley 44
Ivor Brown 14, Chris Julian 11, Brian Brett 10, Pete Wrathall 5, Ken Wakefield 3, Alan Totney 1.

2nd Leg - Cradley 51 - Wolves 51
Brian Brett 17, Ivor Brown 16, Chris Julian 9, Ken Wakefield 4, Alan Totney 4, Pete Wrathall 1.

Wolves win 108 - 95 on aggregate

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