DUDLEY Heathens have swooped to sign Lewis Blackbird for the 2013 National League season.

And in an ironic twist, Blackbird joins the club from the Heathens’ arch-rivals Mildenhall, having captained the Fen Tigers to a string of trophies this year.

The 25-year-old, who is based in Ely and will be doubling-up with Leicester in the Premier League, made no secret of his desire to make the switch to Monmore, and Heathens bosses believe he is worth far more than his 7.01 average.

Chairman Nigel Pearson said: “We were amazed to discover that Lewis was available, and in fact it was Lewis himself who got in touch to say how much he would like to ride for Dudley.

“At 7.01 we feel he’s on a bargain average and he could possibly put as much as two points onto that figure. Our intention is to build a team of riders who will improve their average, and Lewis fits that criteria.

“What has impressed me most is the enthusiasm he’s shown for joining us. I know it will surprise a few people and I’m sure it will add more spice to our clashes with Mildenhall, which can only be a good thing for us all.

"I’d like to welcome Lewis to the club, and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

Meanwhile, the club has described an internet report claiming they have signed Ashley Birks as totally false. 

A statement from the club said: "The report is not true, and could not possibly be so because the Scunthorpe and Swindon rider is ineligible for the National League next season.

"Dudley Heathens have no idea where the suggestion that he has joined us has come from, and advise supporters to keep in touch with official sources for accurate club information."