Friday September 24, 2021
LEICESTER will move into the top three of the Championship if they beat Kent on a big Saturday night of racing at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena (6pm).

The Watling JCB Lions have hit a terrific run of form in recent weeks, and three points against the Kings will lift them above Redcar who have completed their fixtures.

And it would also open up the possibility of snatching second place by winning at Glasgow on Sunday, with every step up the ladder likely to offer a more preferable route through the play-offs.

Saturday’s meeting is a double-header with 30 races on the schedule from the earlier start-time of 6pm, as the sides also meet at National Development League level.

The Championship match will offer Lions supporters the opportunity to finally welcome back Kent skipper Scott Nicholls, who superbly led Leicester to a league and Shield double in 2019.

Lions were emphatic winners at Central Park on Tuesday but Nicholls and Troy Batchelor have formed one of the strongest spearheads in the league in the second half of the season, and should be a threat to Leicester’s own top guns.

Another former Lions man, Paul Starke, lines up in the Kent middle-order, with Alex Spooner called up at reserve to replace the unavailable Jake Mulford.

Leicester boss Stewart Dickson said: “I’m pleased with what has gone on over the last few weeks, and I now feel we’re riding at a level that we should have been when we signed Hans (Andersen) and Zaine (Kennedy).

“We are now where I expect us to be, and I did say in the summer that we were seeing other teams having good runs, whilst I was hopeful that Leicester’s good run would come in September and October!

“Looking at the last few matches, we are coming into form at just the right time, and now it’s just a case of keeping it going.”

The NDL action which follows is a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final, with Kent strongly in title contention again this year with an impressive away record.

There is a popular return to Roger Webster Lion Cubs action for Ryan Terry-Daley, part of the ’19 title winning side, who lost his team place this year when Newcastle withdrew from the league and now comes in for Joe Lawlor as an unattached replacement.

LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Dan Thompson, Ryan Douglas, Kyle Howarth, Hans Andersen, Joe Thompson, Zaine Kennedy.
KENT: Troy Batchelor, Ben Morley, Paul Starke, Cameron Heeps, Scott Nicholls, Alex Spooner, Dan Gilkes.

LEICESTER LION CUBS: Dan Thompson, Ben Trigger, Tom Spencer, Ryan Terry-Daley, Joe Thompson, Kai Ward, Mickie Simpson.
KENT ROYALS: Dan Gilkes, Jake Mulford R/R, Ryan Kinsley, Jacob Clouting, Alex Spooner, Josh Warren, Vinnie Foord.

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