Sunday June 06, 2021
LEICESTER and Berwick fought out a highly entertaining 45-45 National Development League draw in Sunday’s second fixture.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs displayed great character to come back from six points down and were agonisingly one lap away from snatching victory before having to be content with a share.

Berwick went 9-3 up after two races but a string of race wins from Dan and Joe Thompson, and guest Connor Coles, helped the Cubs to level by Heat 7 when Bullets rider Greg Blair slid off on turn three.

There was an encouraging home debut for Mickie Simpson, after a first ride fall, and he took an excellent second place in a shared Heat 8 whilst also beating ex-Cubs rider Ryan MacDonald in his previous outing.

Berwick edged back in front in Heat 11 when Leon Flint defeated Dan Thompson with Ben Rathbone supplying third place, and they doubled their lead in a classic Heat 13 with Thompson bursting in between Flint and Kyle Bickley to take the lead, only for Bickley to fight back and re-pass on the inside.

Berwick led 41-37 but the Cubs produced a storming Heat 14 5-1 with 15-year-old Ben Trigger taking his first race win at this level, tracked all the way by Tom Spencer who ensured no way through for the Bullets.

Heat 15 was also a cracker between four of the country’s best young talents, and it looked to be heading the Cubs’ way as Dan Thompson superbly got in front from the outside gate whilst Joe battled his way past Bickley on the fourth bend – only to slow momentarily at the end of the third lap, which enabled Bickley to regain third place and a 3-3 for a draw.

Cubs manager Dave Howard said: “After being six down after two races, everybody really fought hard, and obviously with them having a top two of Bickley and Flint and a reserve who was really scoring, it made it difficult.

“But we fought away and Heat 14 was amazing to bring us level – I think was in tears myself with that one!

“Then Dan and Joe did a great job to get us in the position, and it was just one of those unfortunate things. It was a great meeting, and I was really pleased with the way we fought back a number of times from being behind, so we’ll take the point and move on.

“Mickie has a lot of speed when he gets out of the start, and although it was unfortunate when he fell off in his first race it didn’t play with his mind, he kept going, and the speed he’s got shows what a prospect he is.

“It was great to see the crowd staying on to watch us. We were supposed to do a double-header in 2019 but it was rained-off after the Lions match, so this was the first double-header we’ve had with the Lions where both meetings have gone ahead.

“Certainly it was great to have the noise when Ben won Heat 14, and I’m very thankful to the fans for staying and cheering us on when early in the meeting it looked like things perhaps weren’t going to go very well.”

The Lion Cubs’ next fixture is a home clash with a powerful-looking Mildenhall side on Wednesday June 16.

LEICESTER 45: Dan Thompson 13, Joe Thompson 10, Connor Coles 8, Tom Spencer 5+3, Ben Trigger 4+1, Mickie Simpson 3, Kai Ward 2.
BERWICK 45: Leon Flint 12, Kyle Bickley 11+1, Ben Rathbone 7+2, Greg Blair 6, Kieran Douglas 4+1, Ryan MacDonald 4+1, Mason Watson 1.

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