Tuesday October 29, 2019
LEICESTER’S record-breaking season ended on a massive high with victory in the National League KO Cup Final at Belle Vue.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs emulated the club’s senior side by completing their own ‘double double’ as they limited the Colts to a 47-43 win on the night in the second leg, meaning the Cubs triumphed 88-74 on aggregate.

That made it two major trophies in two nights after they clinched the league title at Kent on Monday, and it was a fourth trophy for the club as a whole following up the Watling JCB Lions’ league and Championship Shield successes – and both teams also topped their respective league tables.

Meanwhile the trophy haul for Lion Cubs No.1 Ellis Perks in 2019 stands at an astonishing six from a possible seven, as he was also part of a Premiership league and Cup winning team at Swindon in the top-flight.

It’s a season of achievement at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena which will take pride of place in the record books, not only for the club but in the sport as a whole, and both teams should take all the plaudits.

The Cubs led 45-27 heading to the National Speedway Stadium, an advantage which was comfortable but not decisive after the final three races of the first leg had been called off due to the weather.

But Dave Howard’s men produced a super-professional display around the pacy Manchester circuit, and even when there was a moment of slight pressure with their aggregate lead down to ten points, they rapidly hit back to seal the silverware.

Perks – en route to another paid maximum - and Josh Embleton eased any nerves with early race wins, and the scores on the night were level after five races as skipper Danyon Hume also took the flag in Heat 4 whilst Perks quickly overhauled Connor Bailey to win the next.

The Colts were in urgent need of 5-1s but the Cubs defended stoutly, although the track knowledge of Danny Phillips and Leon Flint with passing moves enabled the home side to take the lead in the second leg.

Heat 9 proved controversial as Hume led only to be reeled in by home skipper Kyle Bickley, who went past on the last lap – and then the following Bailey also launched a challenge, and was awarded second place despite replays clearly showing Hume had beaten him to the line by the full diameter of a wheel.

That injustice could have given the Colts a head of steam but another clash of the sport’s best 15-year-olds resulted in the Cubs’ Dan Thompson getting the better of Jordan Palin in Heat 10, with Joe Thompson just behind in third.

And then boss Howard’s tactics to again delay Hume’s rider-replacement ride until later in the meeting came up trumps as the captain combined with Perks to see off Flint and take the Cubs to the brink of overall victory.

That was duly secured by Joe Thompson’s second place in Heat 12 as home reserve Ben Woodhull came to grief while he chased, before Perks and Hume brought the meeting level on the night with a 4-2 split by Flint in Heat 13.

The impressive Bailey overhauled Dan Thompson and Ryan Terry-Daley in a shared Heat 14, before the Cubs fittingly sent out their former club mascots, the Thompson Twins in Heat 15 – with Flint and Bailey giving their side some consolation with a 5-1 for victory on the night.

Howard said: “As soon as we finished last night at Kent, we said we wanted to match what the Lions had done in the Championship and the Shield.

“There was total focus from the guys, in fact I think I was the last one out of the stadium at Kent, and when we got to Belle Vue it was the same as always, to try and win the meeting.

“Obviously they got it back to ten at one point, but we just struck straight back, and it’s just been amazing from all the riders.

“To say it’s been a great year is a bit of an under-statement – we had high hopes at the start, and we were the last team to start as we waited for Dan and Joe to turn 15, but we couldn’t have even dreamed it would have ended up like this with a Double!”

The Lion Cubs’ riders and management also wish to thank main team sponsor Roger Webster for his unstinting support throughout the season, as well as all other sponsors and fans who have helped make 2019 such a memorable campaign.

BELLE VUE 47: Connor Bailey 12+2, Leon Flint 11, Kyle Bickley 8+1, Jordan Palin 7, Danny Phillips 5+1, Ben Woodhull 4+1, Ben Rathbone 0.
LEICESTER 43: Ellis Perks 11+1, Dan Thompson 11+1, Danyon Hume 10, Joe Thompson 5, Josh Embleton 4+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 2+1, Luke Ruddick r/r.
Leicester win 88-74 on aggregate.


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