MILDENHALL 52 LION CUBS 38 (Agg: 86-93)

Sunday May 26, 2019
LEICESTER are safely through to the National League KO Cup semi-finals – with a 38-52 defeat at Mildenhall enough for progression to the last four.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs took a 21-point advantage to West Row and were grateful for that margin as the home side made their bid to stage a turnaround, and caused some nervous moments in the visitors’ camp.

In the end the Fen Tigers fell short by seven points on aggregate, with the Cubs digging in to protect their position over the last five races once they got to grips with track conditions.

No.1 Ellis Perks won three races and inflicted the only defeat of the afternoon on flying home No.1 Danny Ayres in Heat 15, whilst Dan Halsey proved a good guest for Luke Ruddick as he won his opening two rides.

Halsey’s fall on the first bend of Heat 10 allowed the hosts to increase the pressure, as the outcome of the race was a second 5-1 to the Fen Tigers in the space of three races, putting them 37-23 up on the day.

But with Perks involved in three of the last five races, control was still with the visitors, and as he got the better of Jason Edwards in Heat 11, Dan Thompson secured a vital third place over Elliot Kelly.

Brother Joe did likewise in Heat 12, pouncing on an error from Macauley Leek to pack in with Halsey for a 3-3, leaving the Fen Tigers needing some improbable late results.

Ayres defeated Perks in Heat 13 but skipper Danyon Hume again ensured a share of the points, and that meant the Cubs only needed finishers from the last two races.

As it was, Halsey’s second place in Heat 14 confirmed their progression, and Perks finished on a high by beating Ayres and an impressive Charlie Brooks in the last race.

Cubs co-boss Dave Howard said: “They never got closer than seven points so we were fairly comfortable, and I also think that meeting will stand us in good stead for when we go back there in the league.

“The first objective was to make sure we went through, and obviously Mildenhall are a very different side on their home track than they were when they rode on ours.

“It took some of our riders a little time to get used to the track, but Ellis was on it as always, Danny Halsey was a good guest, and what they picked up early on helped the other riders to get those vital third places later in the meeting.

“We had a lot of last places early on, and a couple of races were pulled back when we were in the lead, but those third places made the difference in the end.”

The Cubs will face either Stoke or Plymouth in the semi-finals, and it is the Potters who provide their next National League action at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena next Sunday (June 2, 4pm start).

MILDENHALL 52: Danny Ayres 14, Charlie Brooks 10+1, Jason Edwards 7, Matt Marson 6+2, David Wallinger 6+1, Macauley Leek 5, Elliot Kelly 4.
LEICESTER 38: Ellis Perks 13, Dan Halsey 10, Danyon Hume 7+1, Dan Thompson 5+1, Joe Thompson 3+1, Ryan MacDonald 0, Jamie Halder r/r.
Leicester win 93-86 on aggregate.

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