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Bekker suffers suspected broken leg as Heathens fall to Mildenhall
8:50am Monday 8th October 2012 in Sport
DUDLEY Heathens star Byron Bekker was taken to hospital with a suspected broken femur after an horrific crash in the club’s 61-33 National League KO Cup Final first leg defeat at Mildenhall.
Bekker was involved in a collision with team-mate Dan Greenwood in Heat 3 of the West Row encounter and was flung into the fence, with the meeting delayed so he could receive extensive medical attention.
The crash left the Heathens severely depleted in their middle order, especially as they were already one man down with the rider-replacement facility in operation for Ashley Morris due to a Premier League commitment.
And the Fen Tigers ruthlessly exposed the visitors’ weakness with recent signing Joe Haines the only rider to break a run of Mildenhall race victories, Haines taking the flag in his first and third outings.
With tactical rides for Haines and Tom Perry both restricted to four points rather than six, Mildenhall retained their early control, and although Heathens had pegged the margin at ten points after Heat 8, they had used both of their double-points opportunities by that stage.
Four 5-1s in the final seven races saw the Fen Tigers pull clear and go over the 60-point mark, and it could have been worse for Heathens but for a mechanical failure for Stefan Nielsen whilst heading for a maximum with team-mate Jason Garrity in Heat 13.
A further update on Bekker’s injury is expected to be available on Monday.
Heathens boss Will Pottinger said: “Losing Byron so early obviously had a massive effect on the overall performance and result, and naturally we wish him all the very best.
“We were already up against it with using rider-replacement for Ashley, and then to lose Byron in his first race was a crushing blow. Some of our boys haven’t raced for five weeks and it was quite clear to see they were rusty.
”However, I don’t want it to sound like I’m making a list of excuses because Mildenhall were the better team on the day and they took advantage of our problems.
“The important thing now is for us to re-group for the National League play-offs this week against Stoke and get some sharpness and confidence back into the boys, starting on Tuesday.”
MILDENHALL 61: Joe Jacobs 14+1, Jason Garrity 14, Danny Halsey 11+2, Josh Bates 10+2, Stefan Nielsen 7+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 5+2, Lewis Blackbird r/r.
DUDLEY 33: Joe Haines 13+1, Tom Perry 10, Darryl Ritchings 5+1, Dan Greenwood 3, James White-Williams 2+1, Byron Bekker 0, Ashley Morris r/r.