Monday July 09, 2018
LEICESTER lost ground in the play-off race with a last-gasp 43-47 defeat to Poole at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

The Watling JCB Lions conceded 5-1s in each of the final two races with their former skipper Nicolai Klindt giving an inspirational display back on his old track.

Klindt was only beaten in one of his seven rides as he racked up 17+1 at reserve, and he was up-front in both of the last two races.

It was a meeting where the lead was constantly traded with both sides recording five maximum 5-1 advantages.

But crucially the Pirates also notched two 4-2s with some late passing moves from Josh Grajczonek and Linus Sundstrom also pivotal to the outcome.

Lions started well enough with 5-1s in two of the first three races as their upper-order showed good form, even despite a maximum response from Klindt and Frederik Jakobsen in Heat 2.

Charles Wright rode strongly to repel Kacper Woryna in Heat 3, but when Klindt defeated Lions captain Hans Andersen in the next, it was an indication that the visiting No.7 was in for a high-scoring night.

Lions conceded the lead in Heat 5 but grabbed it back through Ricky Wells and Kenneth Bjerre in Heat 6, although with gates 1 and 3 favourable and being monopolised by the visitors in mid-meeting, it looked like the Pirates could take control.

Klindt and Grajczonek outpaced Wells in Heat 8, and the Poole lead moved up to four points when Klindt won again in Heat 9 with Sundstrom rounding Krystian Pieszczek off the final turn for a 4-2.

But Bjerre and Wells combined for their third 5-1 with some super riding early in Heat 10 to bring the match level again – and when James Sarjeant gated with Andersen in the next, Lions looked set for another advantage only for Brady Kurtz and then Grajczonek to work their way through for a 3-3.

Sarjeant did, however, complete a big ride in Heat 12 as he held Jakobsen at bay with Klindt at the back to complete a 5-1 with Wright, giving the Lions a 38-34 lead.

Andersen produced a brave back straight in Heat 13 to round Kurtz, but any hopes of extending the advantage evaporated when Bjerre hit the deck on turn three after a tight turn with Kurtz and Sundstrom.

That gave Poole hope for what proved a controversial Heat 14 with Klindt making a flying start whilst Pieszczek battled strongly with Richie Worrall for second place, Sarjeant re-mounting at the back after a first-lap fall.

On lap three Worrall dived inside Pieszczek with the two subsequently making contact and coming down as their bikes locked, with the referee’s ruling going in the Pirates’ favour as Worrall was deemed to have completed the pass.

With Poole awarded a 5-1 and having the favourable gates for Heat 15, Lions needed a big start from their top Danish duo – but it was that man Klindt who did it again from gate three to baulk Andersen’s run from the outside, and with Kurtz also fast away, it was the Pirates who were left celebrating.

Andersen said: “It was a tough call in the last one but I said I’d take one for the team and try off gate four, but it didn’t work as Nicolai trapped again!

“No disrespect to Poole, they shouldn’t have won, but it’s always a bit easier when you have a reserve scoring you 18 points and it’s never easy for our reserves going up against someone like Nicolai when he’s scoring so many points compared to ours.

“We’ll keep plugging away, and we have a lot more to offer. The season is far from over, we’re not even halfway through and there’s plenty more to come from us.”

Lions have no other meetings this week with Wednesday’s trip to Swindon postponed due to England’s World Cup semi-final, and they return to action next Monday (July 16) with the visit of King’s Lynn.

LEICESTER 43: Hans Andersen 11, Ricky Wells 9+1, Kenneth Bjerre 8+2, Charles Wright 7+1, James Sarjeant 4+1, Krystian Pieszczek 4, Todd Kurtz 0.
POOLE 47: Nicolai Klindt 17+1, Brady Kurtz 9+1, Josh Grajczonek 7+2, Richie Worrall 6+1, Linus Sundstrom 4+1, Frederik Jakobsen 3+1, Kacper Woryna 1+1.

Picture: MARK HALL

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