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Brian White  Thursday, August 08, 2002  21:09 GMT

Injured Carmarthen Dragon Gordon Meakins received some better news last week after his X-rays were reviewed. Originally, there were worries that part of the crushed and splintered lower third vertebra were lying on his spinal cord but thankfully the review showed this was just a shadow on the X-ray.

The Welshman now faces an anxious wait whilst doctors assess whether the back is healing naturally, as this would mean he will not then need to be moved to Cardiff for the fusion operation and could be out of hospital in about a month in a body cast.

Meakins remains upbeat and is determined to be ready for action in 2003.

“Although I’m in a lot of pain, I am being optimistic and want to be back on a bike at the start of next season,” he said.

“This next week or so will be crucial but I am keeping everything crossed that things go my way.

“I must thank everyone who has sent messages and cards. It’s great to know that speedway fans are thinking about me.”

Meakins missed a meeting full of controversy against Peterborough Pumas last Saturday, with refereeing decisions affecting both sides throughout the match.

The Tarmac Dragons’ victory was made all the sweeter having lost new signing Corey Blackman after his motor gave up on him in his third ride with a snapped cam chain.

The all-action Aussie recorded his maiden win in Dragons colours in his second ride before having to withdraw from the meeting, stretching the home side’s resources to the full.

With Craig Taylor easing himself back in after injury and wanting to only take his programmed rides, and with Dean Felton and Stuart Williams both forced on to their spare bikes, the Dragons were running out of options and machines near the end.

With boss Nigel Meakins tied up with various jobs, stand-in team manager Laurence Rogers had his work cut out but was a relieved man when Heat 15 was over and the Dragons had secured a one-point win.

“It was getting a little tough to say the least,” he said. “Craig didn’t really want to take an extra ride after his long lay-off whilst Corey Blackman was out of it when his bike gave up.

“Dean Felton’s number one machine stopped after Heat 10 and, despite work on it, he couldn’t get it going so he had to use his spare machine.

“Stuart Williams’ engine was damaged and he had to go out on a cold bike in Heat 12. Then Matthew Cross was harshly excluded even Phil Wing, the Peterborough manager agreed but we held out with Lady Luck just about shining on us in the end.”

The Dragons face a busy weekend this week with a return to Mildenhall on Sunday and then on to Rye House on Monday.

The side should be unchanged at Mildenhall whilst Blackman will be missing at Rye House as he will be riding for Exeter that night. Cross will be unavailable due to work commitments with a possible new signing plugging the gap.

The next home action for the Dragons is on Sunday, August 18, when the Newcastle Gems visit West Wales with the start-time back to the normal 3.15 pm after Saturday’s experiment of a 5.15 pm start.

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