Friday October 01, 2021
LEICESTER took a giant stride towards the Championship play-off semi-finals by barely putting a foot wrong in a 54-36 victory at Scunthorpe ahead of tomorrow’s decisive home leg (Saturday, 7pm).

The Watling JCB Lions were merciless in three maximum heat advantages between heats five and eight and never looked back.

Scunthorpe’s Jordan Palin hit the front in heat five but Nick Morris drove around the outside during lap three with Kyle Howarth then breaking through on the final lap.

Ryan Douglas, Leicester’s top scorer on the night thanks to three straight chequered flags, then teamed up with Zaine Kennedy to secure five points from the re-run of heat seven, a significant turnaround after home number one Adam Ellis had been leading the first attempt only for Josh MacDonald to fall.

Howarth then held a good line to lead another 5-1 in heat eight, truly stamping the away side’s authority on proceedings and the tie overall – although there was plenty of thrilling racing for the rest of the night.

It puts Leicester in a perfect position going into the second leg at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena with boss Stewart Dickson admitting even he had been taken by surprise by the size of the lead.

“We came looking to either get a victory or to keep it as close as possible and I don’t think we envisaged winning by that margin, even in our wildest dreams,” he said.

“It was a good response from the Poole meeting on Wednesday and it was important for me and the riders to have a good night.

“We took command of the meeting around heat five and then marched on thanks to some really good individual performances. It was a good team performance too, everyone scored points.

“I would not say the tie is over from Scunthorpe’s point of view but if we are professional in the second leg, we should be in the semi-finals.”

Dickson had been critical of his Lions following a 20-point loss at Poole on Wednesday, a result that ended hopes of Knockout Cup success, and revealed he had noticed a difference ahead of tapes up at the Eddie Wright Raceway.

“It was a bit quiet on the track walk, usually we have a laugh and a joke,” he added.

“It was not that we were not focused at Poole but there was a quiet determination from the boys before this one.

“There had been some stern words on Wednesday and I reiterated that I would not have been screaming at them if I did not believe they could win a trophy this year.

“We have one to go for now and the guys deserve all the credit for a great performance.”

The triumph also marked a third win out of three for the Lions at Scunthorpe in 2021 over a Scorpions outfit that won all nine fixtures against other teams at their fortress, a statistic Dickson dedicated to a strong away following in Lincolnshire.,

“I won’t deny that this track suits a lot of our riders, we are very good here but we still had to win,” said Dickson.

“Scunthorpe beat a lot of teams here but we seem to have the Indian sign over them and I was pleased for the fans who travelled.

“It costs a lot for people to travel to and get into speedway and it was important for us to acknowledge and thank our supporters who always back us so well. I was pleased to put smiles on their faces again.”

SCUNTHORPE 36: Adam Ellis 13, Connor Mountain 9+1, Kasper Andersen 7+1, Jordan Palin 3, Simon Lambert 2+1, Josh MacDonald 2+1. Thomas Jorgensen r/r.

LEICESTER 54: Ryan Douglas 13, Zaine Kennedy 10+2, Kyle Howarth 10+1, Nick Morris 9, Hans Andersen 6+2, Joe Thompson 6, Dan Thompson r/r.

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