Saturday May 06, 2017
JOSH Bates quickly settled any pre-meeting jitters with a 15-point maximum that eventually saw much-changed Leicester beat Cradley 46-43.

Reserve Bates was the only regular Lions rider on display and did himself justice during a rare outing in the number one race jacket.

The 21-year-old stretched his lead having made the gate in heat one and found the power to edge out fellow Lion Danny Ayres, who represented his National League club on the night, in breathtaking sixth-race battle where there were inches between the rivals.

Bates repeated his opening-race heroics in heat 10 and then twisted the throttle down the back straight to fly away after a nip-and-tuck start to heat 13.

The match was on a knife edge throughout and with Leicester needing an advantage from heat 15 to win, Bates duly obliged from the gate with Matt Williamson in support for the only maximum of the meeting.

“It was great,” said Bates. “I still get a bit nervous before meetings but the track was really good and I have to give Terry (Chrabaszcz, curator) due credit.

“Danny is getting better and better all the time, especially on this track, and pushed me a lot but I am happy. We won the cup and it went well.

“It was about getting out there and just riding. I enjoyed it and didn’t put myself under too much pressure, I just did what I needed to do, my job really.

“There was a bit more pressure on me to score the points, there had to be. If you’re number one, you’re seen as the best rider here.

“It was not easy but I wouldn’t say it really challenged me either. It was all about getting track time, testing and changing a few things and doing things that will help me to get to the main body of the team at Leicester."

Lions journey to King’s Lynn in the Premiership on Wednesday before returning to home shale for an East Midlands Bowl fixture against Coventry next Saturday (both 7.30).

LEICESTER 46: Josh Bates 15, Matt Williamson 11+1, Richard Hall 7, Kyle Bickley 7, Tom Woolley 4+1, Chris Widman 2+1, Luke Woodhull 0.

CRADLEY 43: Tom Perry 11, Dan Greenwood 9+2, Max Clegg 8, Danny Ayres 8, Joe Lawlor 6+2, Ben Woodhull 1, Conor Dwyer r/r.

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