1977

McCormick Starts the Ultimate Revolution

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Season Review

  Flamboyant Scot Dan McCormick took over as Cradley's new promoter and immediately pledged to bring the League Championship to Dudley Wood within three years.
The many Heathens fans had heard it all before and the trouble started even before the season began with John Boulger asking for a transfer and was subsequently allowed to return to his old happy hunting ground at Blackbird Road, Leicester.
So Dan talked Swedish Star and former World Champion Anders Michanek into joining the Heathens and also persuaded Bernie Persson to comeback.
To complete the squad he signed his "ace-in-the-hole", Bob Valentine.

Already supporters were beginning to believe that this team had the capabilities to win the League. 
Michanek and Persson soon settled in scoring the points, however the rest of the team were so inconsistent, Steve Bastable was up and down, Bob Valentine was struggling a little as was Arthur Price. Bruce Cribb was no more than a good second-string and Dave Perks was far from happy with his machinery.

team photo

L to R. Anders Michanek, Bernt Persson, Bob Valentine, Dave Perks, Steve Bastable Team Manager - Bob Wasley, Arthur Price,
On bike: - Bruce Cribb. team mascot
(photo by John Hipkiss)

Once again the team found themselves at the bottom of the league table losing six of the first nine matches. then the tide seemed to turn and the team won four matches in succession. 
However, new promoter Dan McCormick wanted more, Anders Michanek was sacked for missing too many matches and then after missing a match at Kings Lynn, Persson was also sent packing.
The team spent the rest of the season using guests and rider replacements. 
The good news was that some good youngsters seemed to be coming through with James Moore, Richie Cauldwell, John Williams, John Hack and Doug Poole.  Surprisingly the Heathens had their best ever season finishing 7th in the league.
Dan was voted "Administrator of the year", for his fresh approach to speedway, despite sacking his top two riders!

Some oddments during the season - At Swindon Anders scored more than the rest of the team put together with 20 out of the total of 37! Cradley won at Wolves in the league and Wolves won at Cradley....Bluey Valentine ace-in-the-hole got every score between 0 and 12 in league matches.

They reached the Final in both Inter-League and Midland Cup's missing out to Ipswich and Coventry respectively.  Out of the KO Cup in the first round and lost the Dudley Wolves Trophy with a very depleted side, but then won the Sandwell Mail Triangular Trophy beating Birmingham and Wolves.

Dan McCormick also introduced a brand new Individual event called the Golden Hammer which became one of the most prestigious events of the year
This season equalled the Heathens best ever in the British League finishing seventh.


programme 1977

Riders Performance Chart

1977 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
A.Michanek
11
51
127
5
132
10.35
B.Persson
22
105
210
9
219
8.34
S.Bastable
35
163
292
27
328
8.05
B.Valentine
34
133
186
29
215
6.47
B.Cribb
36
158
222.5
32
254.5
6.44
Ph.Collins
1
4
5
1
6
6.00
D.Perks
28
96
125
19
144
6.00
A.Price
35
132
146
33
179
5.42
J.Hack
1
4
5
0
5
5.00
J.Williams
1
2
1
0
1
2.00
R.Caulwell
2
4
1
0
1
1.00
N.Wasley
2
5
0
0
0
0.00
D.Poole
1
3
0
0
0
0.00
J.Moore
2
4
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
White City
36
27
1
8
--
1543
1258
55
Exeter
36
25
3
8
--
1625
1178
53
Reading
36
25
3
8
--
1482
1323
53
Ipswich
36
25
1
10
--
1507
1293
51
Belle Vue
36
19
3
14
--
1473.5
1330.5
41
Kings Lynn
36
19
2
15
--
1448
1350
40
CRADLEY
36
20
0
16
--
1437.5
1357.5
40
Coventry
36
19
1
16
--
1454.5
1340.5
39
Wimbledon
36
17
2
17
--
1413
1387
36
Poole
36
17
2
17
--
1382
1416
36
Swindon
36
17
1
18
--
1423.5
1379.5
35
Bristol
36
17
0
19
--
1381
1417
34
Sheffield
36
16
2
18
--
1374.5
1430.5
34
Hull
36
15
0
21
--
1349.5
1454.5
30
Wolverhampton
36
14
0
22
--
1334
1468
28
Hackney
36
13
1
22
--
1256.5
1537.5
27
Halifax
36
12
0
24
--
1288
1504
24
Birmingham
36
8
0
28
--
1220
1581
16
Leicester
36
6
0
30
--
1206.5
1530.5
12

Midland Cup

Round 1- 1st leg - Leicester 38 Cradley 40
Bob Valentine 9, Steve Bastable 9, Bruce Cribb 9,
Arthur Price 5, Dave Perks 4, Bernt Persson 4.

Round 1- 2nd leg - Cradley 47 Leicester 31
Steve Bastable 14, Bernt Persson 10, Bruce Cribb 7,
Bob Valentine 6, Dave Perks 6, Arthur Price 4.

Cradley win 87-69 on aggregate

Semi-Final -1st leg - Cradley 51 Wolves 27
(G)Larry Ross 16, Steve Bastable 11, Bruce Cribb 9,
Bob Valentine 7, Dave Perks 5, Arthur Price 3.

Semi-Final - 2nd leg - Wolves 40 Cradley 38
Steve Bastable 13, (G)Les Collins 10, Bruce Cribb 7,
Arthur Price 5, Dave Perks 5, Bob Valentine 0.

Cradley win 89-67 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg  - Coventry 47 Cradley 31
Bruce Cribb 11, Bob Valentine 8, Steve Bastable 5,
(G)Larry Ross 4, Arthur Price 2, Dave Perks 1.

Final - 2nd leg - Cradley 36 Coventry 42
Bruce Cribb 12, Steve Bastable 6, Bob Valentine 5, 
(G)Les Collins 5, Dave Perks 4, Arthur Price 4.

Coventry win the cup 89-67 on aggregate

K.O.Cup

Round 1 - 1st leg - Hull 46 Cradley 32
Steve Bastable 11, (G)Mitch Shirra 8, Bruce Cribb 6,
Arthur Price 4, Bob Valentine 2, Phil Collins 1.

Round 1 - 2nd leg - Cradley 42 Hull 36
Bruce Cribb 13, Bob Valentine 12, Steve Bastable 8,
Arthur Price 7, Keith White 1, Nigel Wasley 1.

Hull win 82-74 on aggregate who then lost to Bristol, they were KO'd by Reading in the semi-final and Reading lost to Kings Lynn in the Final 79-77


I.L.K.O.Cup

Round 1 - Newcastle 34 Cradley 44
Bernt Persson 15, Bruce Cribb 10, Steve Bastable 9,
Arthur Price 5, Bob Valentine 4, Nigel Wasley 1.

Quarter Final - Cradley 53 White City 25
Bruce Cribb 15, (G)John Titman 11, 
Steve Bastable 11, Bob Valentine 8, Dave Perks 5,
Arthur Price 3.

Semi-Final - Cradley 44 Hull 33
Bruce Cribb 13, Steve Bastable 11, 
(G)John Titman 10, Dave Perks 4, Bob Valentine 4,
Arthur Price 2.

Final - 1st leg - Ipswich 49 Cradley 29
Bob Valentine 10, Steve Bastable 6, Bruce Cribb 4,
(G)Trevor Geer 3, Dave Perks 3, Arthur Price 3.

Final - 2nd leg - Cradley 46 Ipswich 32
(G)Larry Ross 11, Bruce Cribb 10, Dave Perks 8,
Bob Valentine 7, Steve Bastable 7, Arthur Price 3.

Ipswich win the cup  81-75 on aggregate


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg - Cradley 40 Wolves 38
Steve Bastable 15, (G)Mitch Shirra 8, Bruce Cribb 8,
Arthur Price 6, Dave Perks 2, Richie Caulwell 1.

2nd leg - Wolves 53 Cradley 26
(G)John Titman 11, Steve Bastable 10, Dave Perks 3, 
Bruce Cribb 1, John Hack 1, Arthur Price 0.

Wolves win 91-66 on aggregate


The first Golden Hammer was won by Ole Olsen, designed and made by a local goldsmith hallmarked and valued at
 400 (in 1977) with individually sponsored prizes for each heat.
Golden Hammer




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