Monday April 23, 2018
LEICESTER suffered a heartbreaking last-gasp 44-46 defeat to Premiership champions Swindon at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Monday.

The Watling JCB Lions appeared well on course for victory with a ten-point lead after six races, only for the Robins to fight back just as they had done on their previous visit last season.

Even so, there was only one occasion all evening that the visitors led – but sadly for the Lions it was after Heat 15, when Tobiasz Musielak and Troy Batchelor combined for a 5-1 over home duo Hans Andersen and Kenneth Bjerre.

Lions started superbly with race wins in each of the first six heats, Bjerre opening up with wins in his opening two rides – the second of which saw him partner Kyle Newman to a 5-1 over Musielak.

Fellow debutant Todd Kurtz was also a winner first time out, with Andersen, Danny King and Krystian Pieszczek also notching three-pointers in the early stages of the meeting.

But two Swindon 5-1s in Heats 7 and 9 changed the complexion of the contest, with the visitors noticeably improving from the starts.

Lions had been unfortunate when King retired from third place in Heat 5 but appeared to get that stroke of fortune returned when Musielak hit similar trouble in Heat 11 to hand the home side a 4-2 and a four-point lead.

But that was cut to two in Heat 12 when Kurtz’s defence of third place ended with a fall on the last bend, and Swindon levelled up in the next race with a 4-2 which could have been worse as Andersen re-passed Nick Morris for second place.

With the scores level, Pieszczek held off Adam Ellis throughout Heat 14 whilst Kurtz this time got the better of Zach Watjknecht, leaving the Lions two-up with one race to go.

But it was the Robins who emerged from the start of Heat 15 in first and second, and with Musielak clearing off to win, Andersen found his every move thwarted by Batchelor to leave the visitors celebrating.

Leicester boss Simon Stead said: “It’s disappointing, but our season won’t be defined by tonight – it will be defined by how we come back from the loss.

“There are certainly positives to take from it. The new boys are settling in, and Kenneth will be on his own equipment rather than having to borrow his brother’s.

“I’m disappointed we’ve lost, we know we need to turn it around, and the next few fixtures will be very important.”

Lions have a week to get over the disappointment, before their next home fixture against Rye House next Monday (April 30).

LEICESTER 44: Hans Andersen 10, Kyle Newman 7, Kristian Pieszczek 7, Kenneth Bjerre 6+2, Todd Kurtz 6+1, Danny King 6, James Sarjeant 2.
SWINDON 46: Troy Batchelor 15+2, Tobiasz Musielak 12, Nick Morris 8+2, Adam Ellis 7, Zach Wajtknecht 4+1, Mitchell Davey 0, David Bellego r/r.

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