April 2 Tigers 59 Hackney 19 (British League)
Tigers fans were in optimistic mood for the season opener. Bluey Scott and Willie Templeton were heavy scorers at the White City last year and now lined up in Tigers colours. Norwegian Nils Paulsen, Tigers third winter capture, was not available for the first two weeks of the season due to commitments back home in Norway and Chris Julians would turn out in his absence. Chris had been allocated to Cradley, which was considerably closer to his Cornwall home, but still involved a six hundred mile round trip for home meetings! Colin Pratt, who had a perfect record against the Tigers having scored two maximums in both Provincial League fixtures last year, was missing from the Hackney line up and Tigers fans fancied that a good home win was on the cards. STV sent their cameras to record the first ever British League meeting to be held in Scotland and highlights were to be shown the following afternoon.
Sadly the meeting had few highlights and the main camera, positioned on the centre green halfway between the tapes and the first bend, gave some strange “wall of death” shots. As for the meeting itself, Chris Julians had bike problems in heat two; Bruce Ovenden completely missed the gate and trailled in last in the next race; and Charlie Monk had bike problems which saw him pull up in heat nine while well in the lead. Otherwise the Tigers scored 5-1s in all the other heats, which did not really make for particularly exciting viewing.
Willie Templeton won heat one in 78.2 seconds, just half a second outside the track record and went on to complete a paid maximum, as did his partner Maury Mattingly. Bluey Scott became the first Tiger to score a full maximum in the British League. Thirteen bonus points in as many heats made it an expensive night. The track was obviously in good condition with Charlie Monk recording 78.4 seconds in a second half heat.
Scott 12; Templeton 11; Monk 9; Mattingly 9; Julians 7; Ovenden 7; Coombes 4:
Davies 4; S McGillivray 4; Byford 3; Poyser 3; L McGillivray 2; Trigg 2; Brown 1:
Bluey Scott, a Tigers debutant with a maximum
April 9 Tigers v Halifax (British League)
Rained off. With Nils Paulsen due to arrive in a few days time, this was to have been Chris Julians final meeting as a Tiger. Trevor Redmond presented him with a silver salver in recognition of his services.
April 16 Tigers 56 Coventry 22 (British League)
On hearing the result, many believed the score had been transposed! Tigers proved definitively that former Provincial League teams would be more than a match for their National League counterparts, certainly at home. Maury Mattingly beat Nigel Boocock in heat one in 77.8 seconds, just 0.1 seconds outside the track record. Charlie Monk did even better setting up a new track record of 76.4 while beating Nigel Boocock in heat nine. In between, Coventry put up an inept performance with World Finalist Jim Lightfoot and England international Ron Mountford completely at sea. Coventry complained bitterly about the track being deep, the bends being shallow and just about everything else! Charlie Monk equalled his new track record in heat thirteen suggesting there was little wrong with the track.
Nils Paulsen made his Tigers debut and his four paid six would have been more but for a fall while leading heat eight. Nigel Boocock was the only visitor to finish ahead of a Tiger and spoiled the maximum hopes of Willie Templeton, Bluey Scott and Bruce Ovenden. Maury Mattingly scored his second consecutive paid maximum while Graham Coombes was again unbeaten in the reserve slot.
Charlie Monk won the second half Easter Egg trophy, a huge Easter Egg, which was subsequently taken to Yorkhill Sick Kids hospital by Tigers skipper Maury Mattingly.
Monk 12; Mattingly 10; Scott 9; Templeton 9; Ovenden 7; Coombes 5; Paulsen 4:
Boocock 12; Mountford 3; France 3; Lightfoot 1; Cottrell 1; Booton 1; Hodder 1:
April 17 Edinburgh 36 Tigers 42 (British League)
Willie Templeton returned to his old track and gave his best ever performance there, scoring eleven and only having his maximum spoiled by a narrow defeat from George Hunter in his last race.
Tigers hit Edinburgh hard in the early heats. Willie Templeton beat George Hunter in heat one in 65.8, just 0.4 seconds outside the track record. With Maury Mattingly third, Tigers were two up. Bluey Scott put in a great ride in heat two to pass the team riding Colin McKee and Doug Templeton. Charlie Monk and Bruce Ovenden took a 5-1 with Charlie setting a new track record of 65.0. When Graham Coombes and Willie Templeton repeated the treatment in heat four, Tigers were ten points ahead. This lead was extended to twelve after Willie Templeton beat brother Doug in heat six with Maury Mattingly again getting the vital third place.
Heat seven saw Monarchs reduce the leeway with a 4-2 as George Hunter equalled the track record in beating Charlie Monk but Tigers struck back immediately with a 4-2 of their own courtesy of a Graham Coombes win and a third from Nils Paulsen. Tigers then weathered Monarchs tactical substitutes which saw both Doug Templeton and George Hunter get extra rides before an Edinburgh 5-1 in the final heat gave the score line a far closer margin than the racing suggested.
Monk 11; W Templeton 11; Scott 8; Coombes 5; Ovenden 3; Mattingly 3; Paulsen 1:
Hunter 14; D Templeton 10; Briggs 3; Landels 3; Harrfeldt 2; McKee 2; Harkins 2:
April 19 Hammers Trophy (West Ham, London)
On a wet night, Charlie Monk struck another blow for the Provincial League by winning the Hammers Trophy with fourteen points, including a sensational heat one victory from the back over homesters Ken McKinlay and Sverre Harrfeldt. Not only did he get a trophy but also a kiss from Miss World – Anne Sidney
April 22 Sheffield 42 Tigers 36 (British League)
Tigers rallied from being ten points down mid meeting but were never really in with a chance of winning. Sheffield second strings consistently got the better of their opposite numbers in securing the minor placings. This lack of support meant that the efforts of Bluey Scott, Charlie Monk and Maury Mattingly were ultimately to no avail.
Bluey Scott top scored with thirteen points and Charlie Monk scored two bonus points in this meeting. This was quite newsworthy, as he would only score four in the entire British League campaign! Maury Mattingly again impressed on a track that he considered among his favourites. Nils Paulsen and Bruce Ovenden failed to score while Willie Templeton and Graham Coombes gained the bulk of their points against Sheffield reserve Stan Holey who made his only Sheffield appearance in this fixture.
Reports in the previous week’s Speedway Star had suggested that Nils had finished last in a couple of novice races at Sheffield prior to his Tigers debut. However tonight the mystery was cleared up when it transpired that Sheffield had a local junior by the name of Bob Paulson and hence the confusion. Bob would go on to captain Sheffield and be an Owlerton stalwart for a number of years.
Scott 13; Monk 10; Mattingly 8;Templeton 3; Coombes 2; Ovenden 0; Paulsen 0:
Roper 12; Featherby 10; Kitchen 8; Crane 6; Dews 4;A Jay 2; Holey 0:
Ivan Mauger sustained a badly broken ankle and shinbone at Wolverhampton and was expected to be on the injured list for two to three months, leaving Charlie Monk to pick up the mantle of the Provincial League’s main man to challenge the National League superstars
April 23 Tigers 48 Edinburgh 30 (British League)
Tigers confirmed their superiority over Edinburgh with a comfortable win, their second in a week against their deadly rivals. The score was close over the early heats and by the end of heat six Edinburgh had provided four of the six race winners, with Charlie Monk being the only Tiger to have taken the chequered flag to that point. However no Tiger had been unplaced and Tigers held a four-point lead. They cut loose in the next three races, culminating in Charlie Monk handing George Hunter his only defeat of the night in heat nine in a time of 76.6, just 0.2 seconds outside the track record. This took their lead to twelve points and, after weathering Edinburgh tactical substitutions, went on to clinch the meeting by eighteen points.
Edinburgh had little to offer apart from George Hunter and Doug Templeton who scored fourteen and ten respectively. For Tigers, Charlie Monk was again unbeaten and Nils Paulsen continued to settle in, having his best score to date with seven paid nine.
Monk 12; W Templeton 10; Paulsen 7; Scott 7; Mattingly 5; Ovenden 4; Coombes 3:
Hunter 14; D Templeton 10; Harrfeldt 4; McKee 2; Briggs 0; Landels 0;Harkins 0:
Manchester based Tigers, Graham Coombes and Bruce Ovenden, were given a second half booking at Belle Vue and finished second and third behind Dent Oliver in an Invitation Race. The exact purpose of this booking was not known although Belle Vue were looking to strengthen their tail end. The Aces subsequently signed Dent Oliver. Whatever the reason, it afforded the two Tigers some practice at Hyde Road ahead of their league fixture there the following week.
April 30 Tigers 37 Wimbledon 41 (British League)
Top of the league and everything went wrong! Maury Mattingly was on a standby ticket and was unable to get on two flights. He finally arrived at half past eight by which time it was too late to take part. Graham Coombes moved to number one with Bill McMillan getting his chance at reserve. Trevor Redmond’s program notes commented that Graham Coombes was avoiding the mechanical mishaps of last season. Kiss of death! The Coombes bike seized solid and he was unplaced in two outings. Charlie Monk was chasing Trevor Hedge to the line in heat five when his bike reared up and flipped over. Despite the fact that he was well over the finishing line, he was disqualified for not being in contact with his bike. However he recovered to beat Olle Nygren in heat nine and, with Bruce Ovenden third, Tigers had a four-point lead.
The impressive Hedge/Dugard pairing had little trouble in taking a 5-1 over Willie Templeton and the mechanically struggling Graham Coombes to level the scores with two heats remaining. Heat twelve saw the unbeaten Bluey Scott loop at the gate but a fine ride by Bruce Ovenden split Olle Nygren and Reg Luckhurst. However Tigers were now two down going into the last heat. Trevor Hedge made a good gate and outpaced the still shaken Charlie Monk. To compound Glasgow’s woe John Edwards finished ahead of Bill McMillan.
Wimbledon certainly enjoyed their first visit to the White City. Olle Nygren complimented the track surface. Hopefully Coventry were made aware of his comments! With a home league meeting the next night, the Dons returned to London by sleeper but Olle Nygren organised a card school and they got little sleep. Some returned with little to show for their night’s racing as Olle proved to be quite a card sharp
Scott 9; Monk 8; Templeton 8; Ovenden 6; Paulsen 4; McMillan 2; Coombes 0:
Hedge 11; Nygren 10; Luckhurst 8; Dugard 6; Tebby 3; Edwards 3;Hughes 0: