Sunday June 20, 2021
LEICESTER again fell short on the road as they suffered a 49-41 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday.

Despite another sterling performance from youngster Dan Thompson at reserve, the Watling JCB Lions narrowly missed out on a league point as the Diamonds collected their first win of the campaign.

The home side dominated the race victories thanks to guest No.1 Steve Worrall and an impressive Matthew Wethers – and they received strong support from Lions asset Connor Mountain, racing against his parent club, and the experienced James Wright at reserve.

All three Lions heat-leaders did win at least one race, and Thompson took a super Heat 3 victory over Mountain and Max Clegg, but there were no points forthcoming from the second-string department as boss Stewart Dickson ran out of options.

Newcastle began to pull ahead with back-to-back 4-2s in Heats 7 and 8, but skipper Kyle Howarth defeated Mountain in Heat 9 with Thompson holding off Clegg for third place as the Lions reduced the arrears to 28-26.

But two further 4-2s to the Diamonds extended the advantage to six points, leading to Dickson handing Nick Morris a tactical substitute ride in Heat 12, partnering Ryan Douglas.

However, the move was thwarted as Morris got out of shape when he was clipped by Mountain on turn one - and was adjudged to have caused Douglas and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn to come down.

With the Leicester man harshly disqualified the best they could manage was a 3-3 with Douglas winning the re-run.
Worrall then frustrated Howarth and Morris in Heat 13 and a 5-1 in Heat 14 from Clegg and Wright sealed the match for the Diamonds, with a 4-2 to the Lions in the last race leaving them just short of a league point.

Dickson said: “Take nothing away from Newcastle, they made an excellent guest choice in Stevie Worrall, and I also had James Wright down for ten to twelve points as well. They deserved to win, and we got beaten by the better team.

“But no disrespect to them, with the team we have, we should be at the very least taking a point, and away matches are now slipping away from us with three gone already.

“I know we’re okay at home, but we need points on the road and we have a problem in that department which we need to address.

“At the moment we’re asking our heat-leaders to win every race, which I know they want to do, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t go to them demanding a win.

“We felt Nick’s exclusion was an error, because Connor Mountain clipped Nick’s back wheel causing him to lose control, and we assumed it was all four back.

“I was fairly confident we’d get an advantage there, and a 5-1 would have put them under pressure with three heats to go, but we didn’t deserve to win and I’m not going to dress it up otherwise.

“I do feel for the supporters who travelled in very large numbers. They know that’s not the sort of performance they’ve come to expect from a Leicester team with me in charge, and I apologise to them because it didn’t happen for us today.”

The Lions are back in action at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday with the reverse fixture against Newcastle – a reminder that this Tuesday’s scheduled trip to Kent is off.

NEWCASTLE 49: James Wright 11+2, Steve Worrall 11, Matthew Wethers 11, Connor Mountain 10, Max Clegg 4, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 2+1, Adam Roynon r/r.
LEICESTER 41: Kyle Howarth 12, Dan Thompson 10+1, Nick Morris 9+1, Ryan Douglas 8, Joe Thompson 2+2, Ty Proctor 0, Josh Bates r/r.

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