Saturday October 05, 2019
LEICESTER Lion Cubs are through to two major Finals in their first season of National League racing.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs completed emphatic semi-final victories over Cradley and Stoke to qualify for both the league Grand Final and the KO Cup Final, with those big matches to be staged later this month.

They first demolished the Heathens 64-26 to complete an enormous 54-point aggregate triumph after winning the first leg at Birmingham on Wednesday.

And then they racked up a 59-31 win over the Potters for a slightly more modest margin of progression of 46 points.

All of the Lion Cubs were heavily in the points throughout the evening as they covered as a six-man unit for the unavailable Luke Ruddick.

15-year-old Thompson twins Dan and Luke delighted the fans with some terrific team riding, and both scored paid-16 against Cradley, with No.1 Ellis Perks chipping in with a four-ride maximum.

The Cubs effectively put the tie beyond the Heathens in the space of the first four races, with the visitors suffering an early blow when skipper Max Clegg touched the tapes in Heat 1.

Cubs reeled off three 5-1s and a 4-2 before Clegg got Cradley on the board by winning Heat 5, but the lead on the night went up to 20-points thanks to a 5-1 from Joe Thompson and Ryan Terry-Daley in Heat 8 – which secured their aggregate progression.

There were still four more maximum race advantages, including from the Thompsons in Heat 9 who combined to squeeze out Dan Halsey, whilst Perks and skipper Danyon Hume relegated Clegg to third place in Heat 13.

The KO Cup match saw the Cubs 18-points up from the first leg, and they quickly seized control once more despite a Heat 2 disqualification for Josh Embleton who brought down Shelby Rutherford.

The Thompsons picked up the first 5-1 in Heat 3 with Joe Lawlor penalised for movement at the start, but the Potters did hold the deficit on the night to ten points at the halfway stage, before Dan Thompson and Terry-Daley extended the advantage with a 5-1 in Heat 8.

Connor Coles pulled off one of the rides of the night with a fine effort in Heat 9 to overcome the Thompsons, but the 3-3 was still enough to confirm the Cubs’ Cup Final place.

Embleton overtook Luke Priest for third place in Heat 10 and rode impressively once more to win Heat 14, which was the second of successive 5-1s – although the Cubs were prevented from hitting 60 points in the match by a couple of examples of ‘arm pump’ from the tough double-header schedule, skipper Hume pulling out during Heat 15 when on a 5-1 with Perks.

Manager Dave Howard said: “It was a great performance from all the guys once again tonight, and they really carried on from Wednesday and reached the Finals in great style.

“Many of the riders said the track was the best it’s ever been, so Stewart (Dickson) did a great job preparing it for the two meetings.

“Obviously now we have Belle Vue in the Cup Final, and it looks like it’s going to be nip-and-tuck between them and Kent in the league, with Kent having just four points to make up.

“Both of them have really strong top fives and solid reserves as well, but we’ve won at Kent and we almost got a point at Belle Vue when we didn’t have Ellis and we had engine problems, so we’ll be confident we can put up a good show – but they will be two really tough Finals whoever we race against.”

LEICESTER 64: Joe Thompson 14+2, Dan Thompson 13+3, Ellis Perks 12, Danyon Hume 10+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 8+2, Josh Embleton 7+3, Luke Ruddick R/R.
CRADLEY 26: Max Clegg 11, Dan Halsey 5, Luke Harris 5, Harry McGurk 2+1, James Chattin 2, Tom Spencer 1, Kean Dicken 0.
Leicester win 117-63 on aggregate.

LEICESTER 59: Ellis Perks 13, Joe Thompson 12+1, Danyon Hume 11+1, Dan Thompson 10+3, Ryan Terry-Daley 8+1, Josh Embleton 5, Luke Ruddick r/r.
STOKE 31: Connor Coles 9+1, Tom Perry 9, Joe Lawlor 6, Shelby Rutherford 3, Luke Priest 2+1, Kieran Douglas 1+1, Joe Alcock 1.
Leicester win 113-67 on aggregate.

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