Sunday June 09, 2019
LEICESTER were edged out 46-44 at Sheffield on Sunday with their former skipper Danny King playing a starring role.

The Watling JCB Lions gained another useful away point towards their Championship play-off push, but it could have been more in a nip-and-tuck encounter.

King dropped his only point of the meeting to a superb Ryan Douglas ride in Heat 10, but responded to win the vital Heats 13 and 15, defeating Douglas and Scott Nicholls in a fiercely contested finale.

But the Lions, who fought back from six points down after seven races to square the contest with four heats to go, could look back on a dramatic turn of events in the fourteenth which saw things go against them.

After Nicholls and Richie Worrall had combined to squeeze Sheffield skipper Kyle Howarth out at the back of Heat 13, Leicester trailed by just two points.

And the early signs in Heat 14 looked hugely promising as Douglas and Connor Mountain went clear at the start, whilst both Sheffield riders hit trouble on turn one.

The Lions had a big lead but Mountain was struggling with a broken seat bracket and he was gradually reeled in by his rivals, Zaine Kennedy going through on the inside on lap three whilst Broc Nicol went round him on the final bend.

That swung a potential two-point Lions lead back in the Tigers’ favour, and it meant King could see them home in the decider.

Earlier, Lions had taken maximum points in Heat 3 from Douglas and Cameron Heeps, with Sheffield’s Ty Proctor falling on the third lap as he chased.

But Proctor recovered after treatment to win his remaining three rides, including a good effort to get round Worrall in Heat 9 – whilst home debutant Josh MacDonald also notched some vital points for his side.

Lions battled hard throughout with Nicholls unlucky to be left with nowhere to go in Heat 5, and Ellis Perks provided a super, solid display at No.2, whilst Jack Thomas was clearly rusty after a recent lack of meetings.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “I suppose a point is decent when you come here, and you could see how ecstatic the Sheffield crowd and riders were that they beat us.

“Unfortunately when Connor was being pushed off in Heat 14 his seat bracket broke and he didn’t look too comfortable and got passed. But these things happen, and they can even themselves out.

“A point shows how far we’ve come, especially to be disappointed that we’ve only got a point, because I still think we could have won today.

“You could see Sheffield were up for it, and congratulations to them. They needed the victory more than us, and if we’d lost 49-41 it would have been a horrible day but a point does give us a consolation – although I don’t want to get happy with losing!”

Lions are awaiting a further update on the fitness of Josh Bates ahead of their trip to Birmingham on Wednesday.

SHEFFIELD 46: Danny King 14, Ty Proctor 9, Kyle Howarth 7+1, Zaine Kennedy 5, Josh MacDonald 5, Broc Nicol 4+1, Drew Kemp 2.
LEICESTER 44: Ryan Douglas 13, Scott Nicholls 8+1, Ellis Perks 7+1, Cameron Heeps 6+2, Richie Worrall 6+1, Connor Mountain 4+1, Jack Thomas 0.

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