Saturday August 03, 2019
LEICESTER’S rampant Lion Cubs took a big step towards the KO Cup Final with a 54-36 win at Stoke on Saturday.

Another super all-round team performance made it three away victories in a week in all competitions, with the return fixture to come on Sunday.

Ellis Perks top-scored for the Roger Webster Lion Cubs with a bumper 17-point haul, but there were major contributions right down the line, as well as another successful guest booking – this time from Matt Marson, who carded paid-12.

Skipper Danyon Hume got the better of his opposite number Tom Perry in Heat 1 to get the Cubs off to a good start, and reserves Ryan Terry-Daley and Ryan MacDonald raced to a 5-1 in the next.

Lions regular Joe Lawlor was the outstanding rider for the Potters as he took Heats 3 and 5, the latter with an impressive ride to pass Hume, but Perks won Heats 4 and 6 in the fastest times seen at Loomer Road this season.

And then Marson and Dan Thompson displayed plenty of maturity to team-ride the more experienced Connor Coles out of contention in Heat 7, putting the Cubs ten points up.

Mason and Perks added further wins before Perry just held off a battling Thompson in Heat 10, but the Potters’ night was summed up in the next when Coles hit the fence heavily when trying to get the better of Hume.

Fortunately he was uninjured but Perks and Hume strolled to a maximum in the re-run, and repeated it in Heat 13 with Perry this time coming to grief as he looked to split them.

The final race took place in a deluge but the riders creditably gave it everything, and Lawlor finally ended the winning run of Perks, who was denied a six-ride maximum, albeit the Cubs were still emphatically on top overall.

Team boss Dave Howard said: “We did what we came to do, which was to treat it as a one-off meeting, try to win on the night and put ourselves in a good position to reach the Final.

“Our gating was very good and everybody did their jobs from top to bottom, so overall it was a great performance and a comfortable victory.

“In the three meetings this week Dan seems to have taken a step up each time, racing in the top five for the first time and rising to the occasion. His team-riding with Matt was excellent and then he chased Tom Perry all the way in a later race.

“This week has been so good in terms of getting the riders together, because we haven’t had that many meetings, and you can really see the way everyone is working as a team.

“It’s three superb performances on the road in a short period of time, we couldn’t ask for anything more and obviously it puts us in a strong position – but we need to finish the job on Sunday.”

If the Cubs can defend their 18-point advantage at home, they will face either Belle Vue or Cradley in the Final.

Meanwhile the Watling JCB Lions now know their Championship Shield Final opponents will be Eastbourne – after the Eagles overcame Glasgow with a thumping home win in a controversial encounter on Saturday.

STOKE 36: Joe Lawlor 14, Tom Perry 8, Luke Priest 5+1, Shelby Rutherford 3+1, Connor Coles 3, Kieran Douglas 3, Kean Dicken 0.
LEICESTER 54: Ellis Perks 17, Matt Marson 11+1, Danyon Hume 9+2, Dan Thompson 8+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Ryan MacDonald 3+2, Joe Thompson r/r.

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