October 7 Tigers 36 Cradley 29 (British League)
With Cradley making their fourth attempt to race of this fixture and with a firework display planned, it was no surprise that it poured all day! However both sides were determined to give it a go, perhaps because it was now apparent that there would be no further attempts to restage this match. With Ivor Brown injured and Chum Taylor having returned home to Australia, Cradley had two guests. Surprisingly, they chose Vic White. Yes, Vic White who hadn’t scored a point at the White City in three years! But it was an inspired choice as he took eight points. Doug Templeton, Cradley’s other guest, didn’t prove nearly as effective, with just two points from four starts. Heathens also tracked late season acquisition, Tommy Berquist, the Swede whom Tigers weren’t allowed to sign in April. He scored seven points to leave Tigers fans wondering about what might have been. Former Tiger, Chris Julians, made light of the conditions, winning three races and falling in his other start when attempting to catch Charlie Monk.
Riders were slipping and falling all over the place and times were in the high eighties. Tigers built up a comfortable lead on a night when no one was taking any rash chances. Charlie Monk was undeterred and untouchable. Any prospect of getting through all the thirteen heats ended when there was an almost tropical downpour during last lap of heat eleven. The time was charitably given as ninety seconds but it was possibly more and no one disagreed with the decision to abandon the meeting. Nor was there any disagreement about Tigers being declared he winners, although the 36-29 score meant it was still theoretically possible for Cradley to run out 39-38 winners had they taken 5-1 s in the final two races. With the meeting being abandoned, there was no Silver Sash match race, which would have seen Charlie Monk defend his title against Chris Julians.
Obviously there were no fireworks but Trevor Redmond and Maury Mattingly manfully wet out to the centre green microphone for the traditional end of season farewell speeches. This would turn out to be Trevor’s final farewell.
Monk 9; Wells 7; W Templeton 7; Mattingly 4; Scott 3; B McMillan 3; Faafeng 3:
Julians 9; White 8; Berquist 7; D Templeton 2; Weichlbauer 2; Wakefield 1; Featherby 0:
Cradley travelled over to Edinburgh the next night and, on a better night weatherwise, lost 49-29, with Vic White top scoring for them with ten points. However the Cradley v Edinburgh fixture the following week was rained off …again! This meeting was never staged, as the Dudley Wood stadium was closed for extensive refurbishments, including the installation of new drainage!
October 14 Wolverhampton 45 Tigers 33 (British League)
With Maury Mattingly very much out of sorts and Alf Wells a “no show” any chance Tigers had of finishing the season with an away win quickly vanished. Maury was plagued by motor problems and also found his hand very stiff and sore. It later transpired that he had a broken bone, which was a legacy of a track crash in the home meeting with Wimbledon some three weeks earlier. Alf Wells had also missed the England v Scotland test match at Newcastle a few days earlier. He was going to ride for Scotland! Possibly he was having bike problems, having had a major blow up in the Glasgow Open championship and, with the season nearly over, was reluctant to indulge in major expenditure at this time of year. Former Tiger, Graham Coombes had a worse dilemma when his engine blew just a couple of weeks before he was due to return to New Zealand. His “make do and mend” approach was not appreciated by his promoter Mike Parker who promptly sacked him!
Jonny Faafeng was the surprise packet of the meeting and racked up a career best score of eleven paid thirteen from five starts. Apparently Monmore Green was a similar shape and size to his home track in Bergen. He was involved in both Tigers heat wins of the night, 5-1s no less! Willie Templeton and Bluey Scott both recorded six paid seven without really threatening the Wolves heat leaders.
Peter Vandenberg ended Charlie Monk’s brief reign as Silver Sash holder, but his tenure was to prove equally short lived as he lost it the following week to World Champion Barry Briggs in the final match race of the season.
Faafeng 11; Monk 8; Templeton 6; Scott 6; B McMillan 2; Mattingly 0; Evans 0:
Vandenberg 12; Francis 11; Jarman 7; Hemus 5; Guasco 4; Maxted 4; Cowland 2:
Barry Briggs won the BLRC at Belle Vue for the second year running. He scored a fifteen-point maximum to pip Olle Nygren who finished runner up with fourteen. West Ham’s Norman Hunter was third with twelve. Charlie Monk finished down the field with five points, badly shaken after a second race fall.