1968

Inconsistent and Unpredictable: It's Progress!

Season Review

1968 can generally be remembered as the year that Cradley finally came together as a team but lost their star man. Pre-season team building went well and the Heathens again started the campaign with one of the strongest looking line-ups on paper.

team photo

L to R. Graham Coombes, Peter Wrathall, Chris Julian, 
Tommy Bergqvist, Ken Wakefield, Roy Trigg, Bob Andrews,
 On bike: - Ivor Brown.

Ivor Brown, Chris Julian, Tommy Bergqvist, Graham Coombes and Ken Wakefield were all welcomed back from the previous season, but two significant additions made all the difference. The major two signings of the winter were Bob Andrews and Roy Trigg, both capable scorers and genuinely nice guys, and they slotted in perfectly at Dudley Wood. With these seven and back-up at reserve from Alan Totney, Pete Wrathall and Archie Wilkinson, Cradley made one of their best starts to a season. Rising to fifth in the league table at one point, they looked solid and strong for the first time in the top flight. Both Andrews and Trigg were regularly topping the scorechart, the Heathens were looking powerful at home and were even turning in the occasional away win, including hard-fought victories at Oxford and Swindon.

Tommy Bergqvist seemed to be the only casualty of the summer, with a succession of injuries taking their toll on the Swede. He returned to Scandinavia to be replaced at the Wood by fellow countryman, Lars Jansson, who settled well. However, the turning point of the season came at the end of August. Cradley took on Oxford at Dudley Wood on the back of a thrilling two-legged victory in the Dudley-Wolves Trophy. The Heathens first lost Jansson from heat one, who in turn lost the tip of one of his fingers; In the same incident the Cheetahs saw their number one Ronnie Genz rushed to hospital with a fractured skull. The devastating blow for Cradley came later when Ivor Brown took a heavy tumble and broke his ankle. Brown was already returning from a damaged shoulder but the latter accident brought an abrupt end to his majestic career at Dudley Wood. Two home defeats followed and the team couldn’t muster another away win for the rest of the season.   

In a close finish to the British League, the Heathens slipped to a relatively disappointing 14th, and yet were just ten points behind eventual champions Coventry. And despite not managing to fulfil the promise of the early-Summer heights, it was a season of certain progress. There was no doubt whatsoever thatIvor Brown would be sadly missed from the Cradley line-up, but there was also visible signs that Bob Andrews and Roy Trigg were vital pieces of the jigsaw in turning the septet of Heathens into a real team.


programme 1968

Riders Performance Chart

'The Heathens' 1968

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
R.Trigg
36
158
350
5
355
8.99
B.Andrews
31
126
221
26
247
7.84
G.Coombes
35
140
211
24
235
6.71
C.Julian
36
144
199
25
224
6.22
L.Jansson
11
41
55
8
63
6.15
I.Brown
22
90
111
16
127
5.64
K.Wakefield
30
103
107
23
130
5.05
T.Bergqvist
17
55
63
4
67
4.87
Ar.Wilkinson
7
20
14
8
22
4.40
A.Totney
6
17
13
2
15
3.53
P.Wrathall
13
40
28
5
33
3.30
C.Hawkins
4
8
1
0
1
0.50

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
Coventry
36
22
0
14
--
1436
1369
44
Hackney
36
21
2
13
--
1421
1383
44
Exeter
36
20
1
15
--
1556.5
1248.5
41
Sheffield
36
20
1
15
--
1463.5
1337.5
41
Newcastle
36
20
0
16
--
1454
1350
40
West Ham
36
19
1
16
--
1454
1348
39
Halifax
36
19
1
16
--
1424
1379
39
Coatbridge
36
18
1
17
--
1404
1397
37
Wimbledon
36
18
0
18
--
1411
1384
36
Belle Vue
36
18
0
18
--
1387
1417
36
Swindon
36
17
1
18
--
1448
1353
35
Leicester
36
17
1
18
--
1373
1430
35
Newport
36
17
1
18
--
1348
1457
35
CRADLEY
36
15
4
17
--
1373
1430
34
Oxford
36
17
0
19
--
1319
1487
34
Wolverhampton
36
16
0
20
--
1388
1413
32
Poole
36
13
2
21
--
1327
1478
28
Kings Lynn
36
13
1
22
--
1330
1473
27
Glasgow
36
13
1
22
--
1130
1495
27

KO Cup

Round 2-Sheffield 71 Cradley37
Bob Andrews 7, Roy Trigg 7, Tommy Berqvist 6, Chris Julian 5, Pete Wrathall 5, Ivor Brown 3, Graham Coombes 2, Ken Wakefield 2.

Sheffield lost to Belle Vue in the next round who lost to Wolves in the Semi-Final, Wolves  then lost the Final to Wimbledon 118-98


Midland Cup
Round 1 - 1st leg
Leicester 45 Cradley 32
Roy Trigg 12, Bob Andrews 6, Chris Julian 5, Graham Coombes 4, Ken Wakefield 4, Pete Wrathall 1, Tommy Berqvist 0.
Round 1 - 2nd leg
Cradley 37 Leicester 41
Roy Trigg 10, Lars Jansson 7, Ivor Brown 6, Bob Andrews 6, Graham Coombes 5, Chris Julian 3, Pete Wrathall 0.

Leicester win 86 - 69 on average then went on to beat Coventry in the Semi-Final but lost the Final 77-78 to Swindon


Cradley again hosted a club international against Prague, Czechoslovakia and won 51-27.

The Alan Hunt Memorial Trophy was won by Hasse Holmqvist

Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st Leg - Cradley 62 Wolves 46
Bob Andrews 16, Roy Trigg 12, Chris Julian 8, Graham Coombes 8, Lars Jansson 8, Ivor Brown 5, Pete Wrathall 3, Alan Totney 2. 

2nd Leg - Wolves 57 - Cradley 50
Bob Andrews 14, Graham Coombes 10, Roy Trigg 9, Lars Jansson 7, Pete Wrathall 4, Ivor Brown 3, Chris Julian 3, Alan Totney 0.

Cradley win 112 - 103 on aggregate

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