1994

Fab Four Not Enough for Cups Silverware

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Season Review

  Everyone who knew Derek Pugh was very surprised when he announced his retirement and he would not be promoting speedway again after the 1993 season.  He had promoted at Dudley Wood for 17 years and transformed the side.  The highest position the Heathens attained before his promotion was 7th in the British League, by the time he retired only once had they been below 7th and they had won 20 Trophies including two league championships.  It was a shock but hardly noticed by the general public.
Les Pottinger and former rider Mike Gardner agreed to take over the promotion leaving Colin Pratt in charge once again.
Colin signed Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill and met them at airport as they had a young unsigned American - Chris Manchester with them but he was told that Chris had all but signed for Wolverhampton, however he ended up at Belle Vue.
The new points limit was set at 44 for 7 man teams and with better pay rates on offer Billy was first to sign followed by Morten Andersen, Scott Smith and Andy Grahame who had got a winter job in engineering but was allowed time off.  He also acquired Dave Clarke from Oxford who had performed well at Dudley Wood in the past when riding for Coventry.
Greg was made captain but the Heathens were still short of a third heatleader.  Simon Cross fitted the bill and came out of his retirement at the last minute.

It wasn't long before the injuries began, Andy Grahame was out early on and then in the match against Arena Essex Morten Andersen, Billy Hamill and David Clarke went hospital within minutes of each other.

L to R. Greg Hancock, Dave Clarke, Billy Hamill, Peter Nahlin,
front row - Jonathan Forsgren, Scott Smith, Lance Sealey, Simon Cross.

Andersen and Clarke were out for the rest of the season and the management moved quickly to sign Peter Nahlin the former World Under 21 Champion who rode so well that he was elected Rider of the Year by the supporters. He also announced that he didn't want to ride for anyone else but the Heathens. Another Swede, Jonathan Forsgren also joined the team and did quite well, showing a lot of potential.  Cradley had lost too many points early on to have much of an impact on the league title, but showed their characteristic fighting spirit in the cup matches.  In the fours they won all of their qualifying rounds fairly easily and went to Peterborough as one of the favourites but it was not their day, although Crossie and Nahlin were brilliant the Yanks had an off day and Cradley were well beaten.
They rode very well in the Speedway Star sponsored KO Cup to reach the Final against the high flying Eastbourne Eagles, the first leg at Dudley Wood was rained off and the following day on the South Coast they took a pasting.  They had to run the home leg on one of Cradley's off nights to a much smaller crowd, although they won by two points it was not enough to win the cup.
Individually Greg Hancock reached his second consecutive World Final but for a very poor last ride he could have been World Champion with 3 wins giving him 4th place behind Tony Rickardsson, Hans Nielsen and Craig Boyce in this the last one-off Final before being changed to a Grand Prix competition.
The management bought in a local vicar the Reverend David Woodhouse to exorcise the track in an attempt to stop the run of injuries but it must have had an adverse effect as it was announced that Dudley Wood Stadium was to be sold for housing.....

programme

Riders Performance Chart

1994 Cradley 'The Heathens'.

Rider
Matches
Rides
Points
Bonus
Total
Aver
G.Hancock
38
196
436
18
454
9.27
P.Nahlin
23
116
233
21
254
8.76
B.Hamill
38
197
393
22
415
8.43
S.Cross
39
210
353
51
404
7.70
M.Andersen
7
28
45
6
51
7.29
An.Grahame
2
9
12
0
12
5.33
S.Smith
35
163
172
33
205
5.03
J.Forsgren
20
98
90
18
108
4.41
D.Clarke
12
51
36
12
48
3.76
J.Walker
18
64
23
6
29
1.81
L.Sealey
12
35
10
3
13
1.49
A.Boyd
7
23
7
0
7
1.22

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


Final League Table

British League 1994
Team PL W D L BP
For
Ag
Pts
Poole
40
30
1
9
16
2081
1670
77
Eastbourne
40
23
2
15
14
1978
1767
62
Wolves
40
20
2
18
12
1925.5
1902.5
54
Coventry
40
19
3
18
11
1925
1853
52
Kings Lynn
40
20
1
19
10
1799
1985
51
Ipswich
40
19
2
19
10
1944
1890
50
Bradford
40
18
1
21
11
1891
1901
48
Arena Essex
40
19
0
21
8
1868
1948
46
CRADLEY
40
16
3
21
7
1871
1895
42
Reading
40
14
2
24
6
1815.5
2018.5
36
Belle Vue
40
13
1
26
5
1781
2049
32

Dudley Wolves Trophy

1st leg Cradley 57 Wolves 39
Greg Hancock 12, Peter Nahlin 11, Billy Hamill 11, 
Jonathan Forsgren 9, Simon Cross 8, Scott Smith 5,
Lance Sealey 1.
2nd leg Wolves 47 Cradley 49
Billy Hamill 14, Greg Hancock 11, Peter Nahlin 11, 
Simon Cross 6, Scott Smith 4, Jonathan Forsgren 3,
Lance Sealey 0.

Cradley win 106-86 on aggregate


The Golden Hammer was won by Mark Loram
-Golden Hammer-

    K.O.Cup

Round 1-1st leg Cradley 70 Ipswich 25
Morten Andersen 16, Greg Hancock 14,
 Simon Cross 13, Billy Hamill 11, Scott Smith 10,
Dave Clarke 6.
Round 1-2nd leg Ipswich 61 Cradley 33
Billy Hamill 13, Greg Hancock 13, Dave Clarke 6,
Scott Smith 1, Simon Cross 0, Morten Andersen 0,
Anthony Boyd 0.
Cradley win 103-86 0n aggregate

Round 2-1st leg Arena Essex 52 Cradley 44
Billy Hamill 16, Greg Hancock 13, Morten Andersen 8,
Simon Cross 5, Justin Walker 1, (G)Steve Masters 1.

Round 2-2nd leg Cradley 59 Arena Essex 24
Greg Hancock 15, Simon Cross 14, Morten Andersen 9,
Scott Smith 9, Billy Hamill 8, Justin Walker 4.
Cradley win 103-76 on aggregate

Semi-Final-1st leg
Cradley 55 Coventry 41
Billy Hamill 13, Peter Nahlin 12, Simon Cross 11,
Greg Hancock 9, Jonathan Forsgren 5, Scott Smith 3,
Justin Walker 2.
Semi-Final-2nd leg Coventry 48 Cradley 47
Billy Hamill 19, Simon Cross 12, Greg Hancock 10,
Scott Smith 5, Justin Walker 1, Anthony Boyd 0.

Cradley win 102-89 on aggregate

Final - 1st leg
Eastbourne 59 Cradley 57
Greg Hancock 13, Peter Nahlin 9, Billy Hamill 7,
Simon Cross 6, Jonathan Forsgren 2, Scott Smith 0,
Lance Sealey 0.
Final-2nd leg Cradley 49 Eastbourne 47
Simon Cross 14, Billy Hamill 14, Peter Nahlin 9,
Greg Hancock 7, Jonathan Forsgren 4, Scott Smith 1,
Lance Sealey 0.

Eastbourne win the K.O.Cup 106-86 on aggregate



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