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Heathens chairman refutes "dirty tricks" claim
4:57pm Tuesday 9th October 2012 in Sport
NIGEL Pearson has refused to become embroiled in a war of words despite Dudley Heathens being accused of “dirty tricks” by rivals Mildenhall.
The claim was reportedly made by Fen Tigers chairman Kevin Jolly, after watching his side batter the Heathens 61-33 in the first leg of the Knockout Cup final at West Row on Sunday.
He was angered by questions over the eligibility of Josh Bates, who scored 12 points in a meeting where the visitors were hampered by the loss of Byron Bekker to injury after an horrific crash in heat three.
Jolly told the Cambridge News he overheard Dudley partner Chris Van Straaten pass comment on whether Bates, who was returning to action after six weeks out with a broken arm, was eligible to be re-declared into the Fen Tigers squad.
He went on to say: “They (Dudley) are full of dirty tricks. They are so desperate to win and will be made to look silly.
“To have that thrown in your face after what (our) guys did is disappointing.”
Jolly’s comments have angered Heathens officials but chairman Pearson, who was not present on Sunday, said they had not made an official complaint about Bates and were leaving any ruling to the British Speedway Promoters Associasion (BSPA). If Mildenhall are found to have breached the rules, Bates’ points from the meeting could be expunged.
But Pearson said: “We are leaving it to the powers that be.
“At the end of the day if we were playing dirty tricks we could have objected to Josh’s inclusion at the start of the meeting and prevented him from riding.
“But there is no way we would ever do that as it is not fair on the riders or the public who have come out to watch.
“The match referee will have made a note of the fact Josh rode and if the league do not have a problem with it then that’s fine by us.
“For Kevin Jolly to come out with those comments it very disappointing, particularly when we have spent the past few weeks working so closely with the Mildenhall management to sort out our play-off fixtures.”
It is not the first time relations between the two clubs, who are favourites to face each other in the National League play-off final later this month, have become strained this term.
In August Heathens management objected to Mildenhall moving the start-time of their regular season meeting back, as it ruled out key Dudley duo Adam Roynon and Ashley Morris.
The Fen Tigers travel to Monmore Green on Tuesday October 23 for the second leg of the Knockout Cup final.
First they face Stoke over two-legs in the National League semi-final, with the first meeting tonight at Monmore Green and the second tomorrow at Loomer Road.
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