Misery Continues: Only Way is Up!
L to R. Ken Wakefield, Alan Totney, Tommy
Bergqvist, Ivor Brown,
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.
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.
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
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
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
Riders Performance Chart
'The Heathens' 1967
statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for BL matches only.
Final League Table
Dudley Wolves Trophy
Leg - Cradley
win 108 - 95 on aggregate
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