Friday September 01, 2017
LEICESTER’S ill-fortune of 2017 was summed up in a 49-41 defeat against Wolverhampton in their final home SGB Premiership fixture of the season on Friday.

The result means the Watling JCB Lions will need to win at Rye House on Monday if they are to have a chance of avoiding the relegation race-off, as they remain two points behind King’s Lynn who were beaten once more at Belle Vue.

Again it was a tale of injuries and absences which did for the Lions, who went into the fixture without not only Josh Bates due to his involvement in the World Under-21 Team Cup Final, but also Erik Riss who suffered an ankle injury in a midweek crash in Germany.

But the Lions may still have had enough strength to overcome those setbacks were it not for the loss of Lasse Bjerre, who crashed out of the meeting in Heat 3.

The Dane was battling with Wolves star Jacob Thorssell, who collected Bjerre on the third bend bringing him down – and although Thorssell was disqualified from the re-run, the damage to the Lions’ prospects was far more significant as Bjerre was unable to ride again due to a knee injury.

Skipper Danny King, Kim Nilsson and reserve Kyle Newman carried the fight manfully to ensure a repeat of Wolves’ 57-36 rampage at Beaumont Park in May was never on the cards.

And indeed after the halfway mark the scores were level at 27-27 with King and Newman having combined for two stirring 5-1s over Sam Masters in Heats 4 and 9.

Wolves, however, took control of the meeting with a run of advantages as Thorssell and Fredrik Lindgren won the next two races, Lindgren sweeping around King on turn four in Heat 11, whilst Rory Schlein and Mark Riss applied the critical blow in Heat 12 with Lions forced to track their reserves due to Bjerre’s injury.

Nilsson was a super winner of Heat 13 as the visitors combined to see off King, and Thorssell’s Heat 14 victory ensured the league points would be heading back to Monmore Green.

And it would be all four for the visitors despite a brilliant Heat 15 win from King and a brave effort by Nilsson to pass the impressive Kyle Howarth, as Rory Schlein secured second to boost Wolves’ hopes of finishing as runners-up heading into the play-offs.

Leicester boss Jim Lynch said: “We seem to have had this bad luck all season, but the good thing about it was how well Kim and Danny rode, and also to see Kyle having such a great night.

“It was a good time for him to do it, because obviously we’re looking at what we’re going to do next season, and I think we saw a rider there who we’d love to come back.”

Lions complete their SGB Premiership schedule at Rye House on Monday, before the eagerly-awaited East Midlands Bowl clash with Coventry at Beaumont Park on Sunday September 17 (2pm) – followed by the final round of the British Youth Championship.

LEICESTER 41: Kim Nilsson 13, Danny King 13, Kyle Newman 11+2, David Howe 2+1, Jye Etheridge 2+1, Lasse Bjerre 0, Pawel Przedpelski r/r
WOLVERHAMPTON 49: Rory Schlein 11, Freddie Lindgren 10+1, Kyle Howarth 8+2, Mark Riss 8+1, Jacob Thorssell 7, Sam Masters 5+1, Nathan Greaves 0

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