Sunday July 18, 2021
LEICESTER gave their play-off hopes a massive boost with a tremendous 48-41 win at a blisteringly hot Eastbourne on Sunday.

The Watling JCB Lions grabbed all four points from their first league victory on the road this season, and it was a result which came against one of their direct rivals for a top-four finish.

Nick Morris led the way with four wins out of five on his way to a 13-point haul, whilst former Lions skipper Scott Nicholls showed his class with a crucial contribution as he guested for the unavailable Hans Andersen.

And youngster Dan Thompson again underlined his massive progress with 11 points at reserve, including a brilliant 5-1 with Nicholls against home skipper Lewis Kerr in Heat 11.

That steadied the ship from a mid-meeting Eagles fightback after the Lions had dominated the early stages, racing into a nine-point lead after Heat 5.

Nicholls won his opening two outings whilst the Thompson twins recorded yet another 5-1, this time at the expense of Jason Edwards in Heat 2.

The home side suffered numerous breakdowns and falls, whilst Ryan Douglas came to grief for the Lions in Heat 3, but they were only really put under pressure when the Eagles banged in back-to-back 5-1s in Heats 9 and 10 to go one point ahead.

Lions hit straight back with the Nicholls/Dan Thompson maximum in the next, and Dan then crucially split the Eagles in Heat 12 after skipper Kyle Howarth had crashed when leading.

The big Heat 13 went the Lions’ way with Morris hitting the front over Lawson and Nicholls supplying third place, and the away win was secured in the penultimate race thanks to a first win from Douglas and another vital point from Thompson over Edwards.

Lions still needed a further advantage to gain maximum league points, and they got just that in Heat 15 with a 4-2, Morris leading from the front and Nicholls showing his commitment with a battling effort to re-pass Kyle Newman for third place.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “Going into the last race we knew we had three points in the bag, but it was pleasing to get the extra point, and a special thanks to Scott for standing in.

“I know people were wondering if he’d be there after last night’s Grand Prix was abandoned, but he was true to his word and his team-riding with Dan in Heat 11 was fantastic.

“I think that was one of the turning points because it looked at that stage that it was turning away from us a bit.

“It was also really good to see so many fans down there, a big thank-you to them, and I’m really pleased they got to see such an important result for us.

“To get four points here is excellent, so we’ll put those in the bag and now look forward to next weekend.”

Next up for the Lions is a return to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena next Saturday (July 24) with a terrific clash in prospect against Poole.

EASTBOURNE 41: Richard Lawson 12+2, Kyle Newman 9+1, Edward Kennett 7+1, Tom Brennan 7, Lewis Kerr 3, Jake Knight 2, Jason Edwards 1.
LEICESTER 48: Nick Morris 13, Dan Thompson 11, Scott Nicholls 10+1, Ryan Douglas 5+1, Kyle Howarth 5, Joe Thompson 3+1, Zaine Kennedy 1.


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