1974

Bernie Out & Boulger In

Season Review

  It seems that the start of every season Cradley have high hopes that things will change and this will be the year of the Heathen but 1974 was no different, slightly better league position maybe but nothing spectacular.  Not helped when the Heathens best rider Bernie Persson was unable to compete in the league due to the ban on Swedish riders for 1974.
Gone were some of the previous seasons riders - Colin Gooddy moved to Poole, Ulf Lovaas decided to join Oxford and veteran Speedy Pete Jarman moved down to the Second Division as rider/coach with Eastbourne.
However things looked much better when Cradley snapped up John Boulger from Leicester and the reigning Division II Riders Champion Arthur Price from Kings Lynn.

team photo

L to R. Malcolm Corradine, John Boulger, Bruce Cribb Team Manager - Harry Bastable,
Arthur Price, Russell Osborne, On crutches - Dave Perks, Sandor Levai, On bike: - Howard Cole.(photo by kind permission of Speedway Star)

Team manager Harry Bastable talked Sandor Levai back from his recent retirement and Bruce Cribb came back from his broken leg the year before, Howard Cole was looking fit and well and with Dave Perks and Malcolm Corradine showing lots of promise things were looking better than ever.  On top of this Cradley also had the option of Boston's Russ Osborne and Harry's son Steve!

As usual it was the same old story by the end of April Cradley had won four of the first five matches including two away wins at Kings Lynn and Hull but then came the injuries again....Dave Perks broke his leg and  Malcolm Corradine received very nasty facial injuries.
Dave Younghusband was signed to fill the breach but he too was soon injured and never really looked confident after breaking his leg in 1972.  Out went Howard Cole with a cracked rib and by the end of May they still had only four wins.
Only bringing back Sandor Levai from retirement stopped the slide to the bottom of the table, he proved to be a good second string who could occasionally put in a match winning performance, like his twelve point maximum against Hull in August.
Malcolm Corradine lost his confidence following his early season horrific spill at Newport in the last heat, he was loaned out to Long Eaton and Harry Bastable took the option of Russ Osborne on loan from Boston.
Dave Perks made it back before the end of season and continued to look good.  Another youngster who looked good was Harry's son Steve Bastable who started his career with the Heathens but was wisely 'blooded' in Division 2 to build his confidence and he showed his ability by becoming runner-up in the Junior Championship of the British Isles behind Chris Morton.
John Boulger was a revelation, he scored 18 out of the 35 at Halifax and 15 out of the 30 at Leicester finishing with a official match  average of over ten and winning the Midland Riders Championship Round at Dudley Wood.
A couple of records were set in 1974 - Dave Jessup set up a new track record on the 24th August with a time of 66.2 and on the 13th of October 1974 the Heathens were on the wrong end of a league record defeat when they lost to Sheffield 62-16, John Boulger top scored with 5 but every member of the side scored at least one point!


programme 1974

Riders Performance Chart

1974 Cradley 'United'

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
J.Boulger
30
134
327
5
332
9.91
H.Cole
27
97
180
7
187
7.71
B.Cribb
32
138
186
29
215
6.23
S.Levai
21
83
108
15
123
5.93
A.Price
32
136
165
30
195
5.74
A.Molyneux
4
14
13
7
20
5.71
R.Osborne
24
84
87
14
101
4.81
M.Corradine
18
57
49
7
56
3.93
D.Perks
9
28
21
5
26
3.71
D.Younghusband
5
10
7
1
8
3.20
P.Bass
2
7
4
0
4
2.29
S.Bastable
10
22
9
3
12
2.18
A.Cusworth
1
2
0
0
0
0.00
B.Clark
1
3
0
0
0
0.00

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


Final League Table

1974 British League
Team
PL
W
D
L
BP
For
Ag
Pts
Exeter
32
25
1
6
--
1375
1117
51
Belle Vue
32
23
0
9
--
1380
1106
46
Ipswich
32
22
1
9
--
1364
1128
45
Sheffield
32
21
0
11
--
1426
1067
42
Kings Lynn
32
20
1
11
--
1281
1210
41
Newport
32
17
3
12
--
1299
1197
37
Halifax
32
14
3
15
--
1209
1286
31
Wimbledon
32
14
1
17
--
1200
1287
29
Hackney
32
13
2
17
--
1218
1273
28
Leicester
32
13
1
18
--
1210
1282
27
Wolverhampton
32
13
1
18
--
1157.5
1332.5
27
Swindon
32
12
2
18
--
1179
1316
26
CRADLEY
32
12
1
19
--
1171
1322
25
Poole
32
12
1
19
--
1147
1344
25
Coventry
32
12
0
20
--
1147
1342
24
Hull
32
10
0
22
--
1212
1269
20
Oxford
32
10
0
22
--
1196.5
1293.5
20

Cradley hosted a Test Match in August England v USSR the home nation winning 65-43.


The Watney Mann Trophy was run in October after early rain-offs and again won by Soren Sjosten



KO Cup 

Prelim Rnd 1st leg- Wolves 48 Cradley 30
John Boulger 12, Howard Cole 7, Bruce Cribb 5,
Mal Corradine 4, Dave Perks 2, Arthur Price 0,
Russ Osborne 0.

Prelim Rnd 2nd leg - Cradley 40 Wolves 38
John Boulger 11, Dave Perks 8, Howard Cole 7, 
Arthur Price 5, Bruce Cribb 4, Russ Osborne 4,
Dave Younghusband 1.

Wolves win 86-70 on aggregate


Midland Cup

Round 1-1st leg  Coventry 39 Cradley 39
Dave Perks 12, Russ Osborne 7, John Boulger 5, 
Arthur Price 5, Bruce Cribb 5, Mal Corradine 3,
Howard Cole 2.
Round 1 - 2nd leg  Cradley 50 Coventry 28
Arthur Price 12, Howard Cole 10, John Boulger 8,
Bruce Cribb 6, Brian Clark 6, Mal Corradine 5,
Dave Perks 3.

Cradley win 89-67 on aggregate

Round 2 - 1st leg Cradley 32 Wolves 46
John Boulger 13, Arthur Price 8, Howard Cole 7,
Alan Molyneux 3, Dave Younghusband 1,
Bruce Cribb 0, Mal Corradine 0.
Round 2 - 2nd leg Wolves 40 Cradley 38
John Boulger 11, Bruce Cribb 8, Howard Cole 8,
Arthur Price 6, (G)Ted Hubbard 4, (G)Alan Witt 1,
Mal Corradine 0.

Wolves win 86-70 on aggregate


Dudley Wolves Trophy 

1st leg - Cradley 43 Wolves 35
(G)Jim McMillan 12, Sandor Levai 9, Russ Osborne 7,
Arthur Price 6, Howard Cole 4, Dave Perks 4,
Bruce Cribb 1.
2nd leg - Wolves 42 Cradley 36
John Boulger 10, Bruce Cribb 9, Russ Osborne 8,
(G)Nigel Boocock 6, Arthur Price 3, Sandor Levai 0,
Dave Perks 0. 

Cradley win 79-77 on aggregate.


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