The Cradley-Wolves Rivalry

The Black Country derby matches between Cradley and Wolves are arguably the most fierce and competitive in the sport of Speedway. With literally just a few miles between the two clubs, the conflict is inevitable with each and every meeting between the two providing both entertaining racing on track and a healthy supporters' banter on the terraces. As a Heathens fan, the greatest thrill in Speedway is watching a hard fought victory at Monmore Green, home of the Wolves. The competition between these two local rivals stretches back a long way and there have been countless exciting clashes that have gone either way time and time again . If the league and cup encounters over the years were not enough, then the annual Dudley-Wolves trophy was always an added bonus to take in. A special head to head between only these two teams may just have been a two-leg challenge match to the uninitiated. But for the locals, the pride of the Black Country was at stake and the matches certainly couldn't be described as 'friendly'!

This rivalry goes back a long way! Can you name these two riders battling into the bend?

Dudley-Wolves Trophy Encounters

1961  Wolves   97-94      1972  Wolves   86-69   1987  Cradley 107-72
1962  Wolves   81-74	1973  Wolves  80-76    1988  Cradley 95-85
1963  Cradley  84-71	1974  Cradley 79-77    1989  Wolves  90-89
1964  Wolves  103.5-88.5  1975  Wolves  80-76    1990  Cradley 91-87
1965  Wolves  110-81	1976  Cradley 45-33  	 1991  Cradley 102-78
1966  Wolves  115-89	1977  Wolves  90-66    1992  Cradley 97-79
1967  Wolves  108-95	1978  Cradley 81-75 	 1993  Cradley 119-96
1968  Cradley 112-103	1979  Cradley 89-67 	 1994  Cradley 106-86
1969  Cradley  79-77	1980  Cradley 84-71 	 1995  Cradley 97-95
1970  Wolves   82-74	1985  Cradley 99-57 	 1996  Wolves  103-89
1971  Cradley  83-73	  1986  Cradley 84-72	 1999  Cradley 42-36 

TOTAL: Cradley 20 wins, Wolves 13 wins.
NB. The 1999 trophy was staged at amateur level between the Varta Wolf
Cubs and Club Cradley Heath. Only one leg took place, at Monmore Green.

Arthur Price reflects the current Dudley-wolves trophy victories with Cradley clearly in the lead.

Recent Cradley-Wolves Encounters

The titanic clashes between these historic Speedway giants have thankfully been allowed to continue, despite Cradley's current track problems. In both 1997 and 1999, Wolves promoter Chris Van Straaten organised challenge matches to compete for the Tom Johnson Memorial Trophy - remembering the journalist who covered the sport on both sides of the Midlands.
Unfortunately, on both occasions, the home team have prevailed - but more importantly each date has seen an enormous turn out of Heathens supporters, past and present. The atmosphere has been as good as it ever was and the racing has been of a standard worthy of the billing.
The Cradley team has been represented in both matches by Billy Hamill, Peter Nahlin, Les Collins. In '97 they were joined by Greg Hancock, Troy Pratt & Scott Smith and in '99 by Gert Handberg (flown in specially), Grant McDonald, David Walsh & Mark Loram (guesting for the injured Hancock).

Web site created and maintained by Steve Johnson. E-mail me your comments and suggestions.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Cradley Heath Speedway.
Copyright: Steve Johnson & Cradley Heath Speedway Ltd, 1999.