Saturday July 24, 2021
LEICESTER’S unbeaten home run in official fixtures was ended just short of three years as Poole edged a 47-43 victory at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday.

Pirates star Steve Worrall completed a most impressive display by holding his nerve in a last-heat decider to see the visitors through to their win, with Watling JCB Lions man Nick Morris falling on the last lap having given everything in his bid to salvage a draw.

But in truth the visitors were well worth their result, which underlines once more how competitive the Championship is at the top end.

Lions never led during the meeting and often found themselves just short of where they needed to be, although No.1 Hans Andersen kept them in contention with wins in his opening three races.

Andersen became the only rider on the night to defeat Worrall in Heat 10, but even that required a smart switch-back on the second lap to make a re-passing move after Worrall had gone ahead into the second lap.

That maintained a two-point deficit, which had been as high as four on two occasions – Lions levelled in Heat 5 thanks to Kyle Howarth and Ryan Douglas shutting out Rory Schlein, but a fall for Morris when chasing Worrall in Heat 7 allowed Stefan Nielsen through for a return maximum in the Pirates’ favour.

Zaine Kennedy marked his home debut with a good win in Heat 8, but just when Lions looked set to turn the match around, former home favourite Danny King produced a terrific Heat 9 ride to get the better of Howarth and Douglas from the back.

Four successive shared races kept the Pirates two points up, but Morris raced clear of King in Heat 13 with Andersen picking up third place to level the scores.

But when Poole needed a late hero, they got one in the shape of former Roger Webster Lion Cubs captain Danyon Hume who came up with a brilliant Heat 14 effort to defeat Douglas – whilst behind them, Nielsen held off every attempt from Dan Thompson to make it through for third.

That meant Lions needed a 5-1 from the last race to win, but although Andersen closed down King from the inside gates, Worrall made the best start from gate three and the all-out challenge of Morris ended at the start of the last lap when he spun into the fence.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “I think Poole were the better side, and credit has to go to them.

“We can offer excuses, a couple of our guys were off-form, but the bottom line is Poole are a decent side, and I did say beforehand we had to make sure we kept the back door closed at home – and we didn’t do it.

“We just weren’t matching them out of the gates tonight, so we met our match and they deserved to win.

“I’m not silly enough to think we’re going to be unbeaten the whole time I’m here, and now it’s about how we pick up and re-group – we have big meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday where we’ll try and claw back the points we lost tonight.”

Lions head into an important week on the road as they visit Plymouth on Tuesday and then face the return with Poole at Wimborne Road on Wednesday, before a Midlands derby home clash with Birmingham next Saturday.

LEICESTER 43: Hans Andersen 12, Kyle Howarth 8+1, Ryan Douglas 7+2, Nick Morris 6+1, Dan Thompson 6+1, Zaine Kennedy 3, Joe Thompson 1.
POOLE 47 Steve Worrall 14, Danny King 10+1, James Wright 7, Rory Schlein 6, Danyon Hume 5, Stefan Nielsen 4+2, Alfie Bowtell 1+1.

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