Monday July 23, 2018
LEICESTER’S new-look line-up went down 51-39 at Swindon on Monday – with the result far from a true reflection of the action in Wiltshire.

The Watling JCB Lions could consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to leave the Abbey Stadium with nothing after running the Robins close for much of the meeting.

With track conditions playing a major part in proceedings, Swindon skipper Nick Morris crashed in both of his first two outings before withdrawing – the second time wiping out Lions debutant Scott Nicholls on turn four, thankfully without major injuries.

But on the first occasion, Leicester had been holding a clear 5-1 only for Morris’s team-mate David Bellego to win the re-run.

Leicester still had a good start when new reserves Connor Mountain and Stuart Robson combined for a 5-1 in Heat 2, but the home side hit back with maximum points in the next to level the scores when they could have been having to fight back from eight points down.

The scores were level after Heat 6 but Swindon guest Dimitri Berge then played a starring role by winning the next two races, the second in a 5-1 with Bellego in Heat 8 to put the hosts six points up.

Lions had a let-off when Tobiasz Musielak crashed out of Heat 9, but when Hans Andersen went as a tactical substitute in the next he was out-trapped by Troy Batchelor as Swindon notched a 4-2.

Andersen, however, hit back in Heat 11 with a forceful first bend to get the better of Batchelor which also created space for Charles Wright to follow him through for a 5-1 to halve the gap to four points.

But after a shared Heat 12, things turned against the Lions in the next race when Batchelor and Bellego hit the front, with Andersen’s efforts to make an inside pass proving to be in vain.

A Swindon 4-2 in Heat 14 secured their win, leaving Leicester needing a 5-1 from the last race to snatch a league point – but Batchelor raced clear from the start and made no mistake with Adam Ellis in third place.

Leicester boss Simon Stead said: “We were really in it until the final stages, and we probably ran out of steam a bit.

“It was a decent performance, and obviously with four new guys they are trying to gel into their new positions, so we’ve got some positives to take from it.

“It wasn’t a complete disaster and I think we deserved more out of the meeting than we got.

“I think some things went for them, certainly in Heat 1 we were away with a 5-1 before it got stopped and then it was a 3-3 in the re-run, and then they were able to replace Nick who was having a nightmare with people who were scoring points, plus Dimitri at reserve came up trumps.

“We’re obviously disappointed that we came away with nothing, but it gives us something to build on, and we know the upcoming meetings are of even more importance.”

Lions are on the road again on Wednesday when they travel to Poole, before hosting the Pirates at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena next Monday (July 30).

SWINDON 51: Troy Batchelor 13, David Bellego 11+2, Adam Ellis 11+1, Tobiasz Musielak 7+1, Dimitri Berge 7, Jack Smith 2, Nick Morris 0.
LEICESTER 39: Hans Andersen 12+1, Scott Nicholls 6, Connor Mountain 5+2, Charles Wright 5+1, Ricky Wells 5, Stuart Robson 4+3, Josh Auty 2.

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