1993

Yet again decimated by injuries!

Season Review

  Britain was hit by recession during a winter of discontent and speedway was no exception to this with the Control Board announcing new pay rates.
Colin Pratt thought his luck might change however - could Cradley really have such bad luck that had occurred since the injury to Erik Gundersen four years ago?  Alas when team building began after Christmas Jan O Pedersen rang to say he was still having problems with his back injuries and would be very unlikely to return to ride in 1993.
Another phone call from Andy Grahame who had aggravated his collar-bone injury while getting out of the bath!
To make it worse Billy Hamill decided that the pay rates in the UK were not really worth coming back for and decided to put his British bikes up for sale and stay in USA.
Young Dane Morten Andersen was signed to replace Billy when his former club Oxford announced their
departure from the league.
Andy Grahame and Greg Hancock were not happy with the pay rates but were persuaded to sign, and Simon Cross also decided to give it a go.  Alan Grahame was bought back from Stoke who had closed. Gert Handberg signed again but Scott Smith said his earnings would drop by half but Colin wanted him in the side so found some sponsors to enable him to carry on.

Colin was told by Wolves that if he wanted Andy Grahame in the side then he would have to buy him, but Colin bought in Reserve League Riders Champion Justin Walker and Anthony Boyd.

L to R. Alan Grahame, Morton Andersen, Scott Smith, Anthony Boyd,
Lance Sealey, front row Greg Hancock, Simon Cross, Andy Grahame.

Cradley started  badly losing by two points at home to Wolves in the Clubcall Trophy. Greg Hancock started well and Scott Smith was impressive with paid 9 points, but the rest were disappointing.  They managed to scrape by at home by a slender margin in most of the home matches but looked pretty fragile. They were well beaten in their away matches, however Greg was looking a different class than the rest of the team and Scott Smith was flying too.  At least they were free from injuries - or so they thought, on May 8th Cradley lost at home to Reading despite an 18 point maximum from Greg.  But they also lost Simon Cross with back and chest injuries and Alan Grahame with facial injuries and were in Russells Hall Hospital in adjacent beds.  Soon after, Andy Grahame crashed out of the British Final with leg injuries.  Things got desperate when Scott Smith crashed out at Poole.  In June Colin got on the phone to Hamill who was due to come to the UK for the Overseas Final, Billy relented and with some sponsors was back in the team with paid 15 points against Bradford in a match which saw Andy Grahame return,  however he hardly had time to say hello to his team mates when Greg was out with damaged knee ligaments and had to return to the States for a special knee brace to be fitted.  Yes the injury jinx again with worse to come in July, Handberg broke his wrist in a spectacular pile-up and was followed a few heats later by Billy Hamill with a chipped bone in his wrist after hitting the fence.
Cradley were now two places from the bottom of the league and fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.  With the help from guest riders and rider replacement they held their own until their own riders returned, not for long, by the time October had arrived Morten Andersen was out for the rest of the season, he was joined first by Hancock who dislocated his left elbow and finally in the last match of the season by Scott Smith who broke his collar-bone.
Inevitably the Heathens finished bottom of the league when Colin Pratt said: "This is the worst (year) for injuries since I came here 10 years ago".  He was so depressed he even resigned from his position as joint team manager of the England National side.

Riders Performance Chart

1993 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
G.Hancock
31
173
411
12
423
9.78
B.Hamill
22
126
263
22
285
9.05
S.Cross
27
138
194
22
216
6.26
G.Handberg
34
180
248
23
271
6.02
M.Andersen
30
149
194
28
222
5.96
S.Smith
40
180
246
22
268
5.96
An.Grahame
37
194
220
29
249
5.13
J.Walker
28
103
94
27
121
4.70
Al.Grahame
12
51
53
5
58
4.55
A.Boyd
23
73
45
10
55
3.01
M.Meredith
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
Belle Vue
40
24
1
15
14
2287
2017
63
Wolverhampton
40
23
0
17
17
2284
2029
63
Eastbourne
40
23
1
16
14
2189
2087
61
Arena Essex
40
21
1
18
10
2203
2113
53
Coventry
40
18
3
19
13
2172
2142
52
Reading
40
20
1
19
10
2181
2129
51
Bradford
40
19
3
18
7
2109
2174
48
Ipswich
40
17
0
23
8
2081.5
2202.5
42
Kings Lynn
40
15
4
21
6
2002.5
2215.5
40
Poole
40
17
0
23
6
2033
2281
40
CRADLEY
40
16
0
24
5
2080
2232
37


Cradley again hosted a World Championship 
British Semi-Final, which was won by Gary Havelock.

The Golden Hammer was won by Peter Karlsson
-Golden Hammer-


   K.O.Cup

Round 1-1st leg Belle Vue 58 Cradley 48
Greg Hancock 16, (G)Grahame Jones 13,
 Morten Andersen 6, Anthony Boyd 5, Gert Handberg 4,
Scott Smith 3, Justin Walker 1, Andy Grahame 0.
Round 1-2nd leg Cradley 59 Belle Vue 49
Scott Smith 14, Greg Hancock 14, Gert Handberg 13, 
(G)Brian Karger 10, Anthony Boyd 4,
 Morten Andersen 3, Justin Walker 1.
Drawn 107-107
Round 1 replay-1st leg
 Cradley 59 Belle Vue 49
Billy Hamill 12, Scott Smith 11, (G)Ronnie Correy 9,
Morten Andersen 9, Andy Grahame 8, Gert Handberg 7,
Justin Walker 3.
Round 1 replay 2nd leg 
Belle Vue 59 Cradley 47
(G)Craig Boyce 12, Billy Hamill 11, Andy Grahame 10,
Morten Andersen 6, Justin Walker 4, Scott Smith 4,
Gert Handberg 0.
Belle Vue win 108-106

Belle Vue then beat Wolves 111-104 on aggregate in the Quarter Final, then lost to Arena Essex 113-102
Arena Essex lost to Bradford 105-111 in the Final.


Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg Cradley 57 Woves 51
Greg Hancock 11, Billy Hamill 9, Andy Grahame 9,
Scott Smith 7, Simon Cross 6, Morten Andersen 6,
Justin Walker 5, Gert Handberg 4.
2nd leg Wolves 45 Cradley 62
Greg Hancock 12, Billy Hamill 11, Morten Andersen 10,
Simon Cross 8, Andy Grahame 7, Justin Walker 7,
Gert Handberg 5, Scott Smith 2.

Cradley win 119-96 on aggregate


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