LION CUBS 59 KENT 31

Wednesday October 16, 2019
LEICESTER are on the brink of National League title glory after a stunning Grand Final first leg win on Wednesday.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs demolished Kent 59-31 at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena to give them full control of the tie ahead of next Monday’s return fixture at Central Park.

Skipper Danyon Hume and No.1 Ellis Perks were both in unbeatable form, Hume going through the card from six rides, whilst Joe Thompson added a spectacular paid-14, and there were other important contributions right down the side.

The Lion Cubs attacked the track superbly and got the rewards for their bravery, often making passing moves on the outside, whilst the Kings were limited to just two race wins.

The visitors were unlucky in Heat 2 when youngster Jake Mulford crashed when holding a clear lead, and the race was awarded as a 5-1 to get the Cubs off and running.

Perks and Hume both won their opening rides, whilst Thompson provided a thrilling effort in Heat 3 to pass both Dan Gilkes and Rob Ledwith.

Brother Dan recovered from two scoreless rides to win Heat 5 whilst Joe joined him for a 5-1 by getting the better of visiting No.1 Anders Rowe.

The Cubs established a 12-point lead going into mid-meeting but the Kings hit more trouble in Heat 8 when Jordan Jenkins, who had initially led before being rounded up by another great Joe Thompson move, fell on turn two with the other riders doing well to avoid him – and Leicester were awarded another 5-1.

Drew Kemp became Kent’s first winner in Heat 9 but Leicester boss Dave Howard’s rider-replacement tactics proved spot-on with a maximum in Heat 10 as Perks and Hume were combined for the first of three races in the latter stages.

That put the lead up to 20-points and two 4-2s followed as Hume surged around Rowe to win Heat 11, whilst Joe Thompson took his third win in Heat 12 backed up by third place for a hard-working Ryan Terry-Daley.

Heat 13 provided arguably the race of the season in Cubs matches with all the action behind Perks, as Hume came from fourth to second with sensational passes of Kemp and Rowe.

The one setback came in Heat 14 when Dan Thompson hit the fence on turn four when attempting another outside move, and the following Josh Embleton was unable to avoid him. Both riders thankfully walked away from a frightening crash, although the Kings did manage a 5-1 in the re-run from Ledwith and Mulford over Terry-Daley, who replaced the bruised Embleton.

But that was only brief respite for the Kings as Perks and Hume combined yet again in Heat 15 over Gilkes and Kemp to bring the lead back up to 28-points, and give the Cubs a position of real strength heading into the second leg.

Hume said: “It was a great night for me, but it wasn’t just me that rode well – the whole team went out there and got the job done.

“Kent were never going to be easy, but we all dialled in. The track was a bit bumpy but it was the same for everyone and we made use of the home advantage.

“To get the win we did was amazing, and it’s one step closer to bringing that trophy back home.

“I’ve really enjoyed being captain of this team, everyone is awesome and that makes my job a lot easier. We’re all buzzing, and it’s an honour and a privilege to be captain.”

NATIONAL LEAGUE GRAND FINAL, 1st leg
LEICESTER 59: Danyon Hume 16+2, Ellis Perks 14+1, Joe Thompson 12+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 8+2, Dan Thompson 5, Josh Embleton 4, Luke Ruddick r/r.
KENT 31: Dan Gilkes 7+1, Drew Kemp 7, Rob Ledwith 6+1, Anders Rowe 6, Jake Mulford 3+1, Jordan Jenkins 1+1, Alex Spooner 1.

Picture: CHRIS SIMPSON



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