Saturday May 18, 2019
LEICESTER got their National League campaign off to a flying start with a 51-38 win over Belle Vue on Saturday.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs were given a tough battle by a Colts side who are also tipped to do well this season, and who had an impressive reserve in Jordan Palin.

But the Cubs ultimately possessed greater strength-in-depth, and they stretched clear in the final third of the meeting.

Leicester youngsters Dan and Joe Thompson continued their terrific progression with Dan taking the scalp of experienced NL campaigner Ben Wilson in Heat 11 as one of two 5-1s with skipper Danyon Hume, and both also defeated Colts captain Danny Phillips.

Joe produced a thrilling ride to go from third to first in Heat 12 after fellow 15-year-old Palin had lifted as he came off the fourth bend.

Dan was also set to get the better of Palin in an eventful Heat 14, but he did come to grief at the start of the home straight with the other riders thankfully avoiding him.

No.1 Ellis Perks suffered mechanical trouble off the start-line in Heat 1 but then reeled off four convincing wins, and Hume also notched double-figures despite a first-ride fall when Palin came down in front of him, also causing Joe Thompson to put the bike down.

Luke Ruddick won his first two rides in fine style before an unfortunate turn one fall in his next, and he was also out of luck in Heat 14 which was stopped as he led on two occasions before Palin took the win at the third time of asking.

After Heat 9 the gap was just three points, but the Lion Cubs then moved clear as Hume was involved in 5-1s with Dan Thompson in Heat 11 – the youngster switching superbly inside Wilson off the second bend – and then Perks in Heat 13.

A final 5-1 in Heat 15 was thwarted on the last lap when value-for-money Belle Vue guest Tom Perry just got the better of Hume, but it was still a more than convincing display from the Cubs.

Manager Dave Howard said: “We had to battle against a lot of things and we overcame them to produce a great team performance.

“From three points up after Heat 9 and wondering how it was going to go, we just dug in and to win by 13 was outstanding from every single rider. Even when things weren’t going right, they were all pulling together.

“The way Dan and Joe took on and beat Championship riders like Danny Phillips and Ben Wilson, they’re going from strength to strength. But everybody in the team pulled out some great performances.

“We look like we can really do the job in the big races at the end, which is good when it’s close, and tonight it was really key to stop Belle Vue from getting a point.”

The Lion Cubs are back in action next Sunday (May 26) when they defend a 21-point lead at Mildenhall in the second leg of their KO Cup quarter-final tie.

LEICESTER 51: Ellis Perks 12, Danyon Hume 11+1, Joe Thompson 10+1, Luke Ruddick 8, Dan Thompson 7+3, Ryan MacDonald 3, Jamie Halder r/r.
BELLE VUE 38: Jordan Palin 12+1, Tom Perry 11, Ben Wilson 6, Danny Phillips 5, Ben Woodhull 2, Ben Rathbone 1+1, Sam Woolley 1.

Picture: MARK HALL

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