Tuesday October 12, 2021
LEICESTER booked their place in the Championship play-off semi-finals with a 38-28 win over Scunthorpe in a curtailed fixture at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

Nick Morris scored a 12-point maximum for the Watling JCB Lions who progress by a 28-point aggregate margin and immediately now head for Poole in the first leg of the semi on Wednesday.

The return fixture will be back at home this Saturday, October 16, with a slightly later start of 7.30pm due to the televised Speedway of Nations taking place at Belle Vue earlier in the afternoon.

Tuesday’s meeting again came under threat from the weather with a heavy downpour at tea-time leaving conditions heavy, but the riders agreed to proceed with the quarter-final.

The Lions operated rider replacement for Hans Andersen, who was involved in a frightening crash whilst racing for his Premiership club Peterborough on Monday, and the Scorpions kept things tight on the night for most of the evening.

Morris defeated British Champion Adam Ellis in Heat 1 with Dan Thompson taking third place for a 4-2 – and this was remarkably followed by seven successive 3-3s.

The visitors were unlucky to see Josh MacDonald disqualified after a second-bend tangle in Heat 2, and youngster Jordan Palin was an impressive winner of Heat 3 over Lions stars Kyle Howarth and Ryan Douglas.

Conditions meant much of the action was decided from the gate, and Morris was never threatened on his way to wins in Heats 4 and 6, whilst Douglas took the flag in Heat 7 and Zaine Kennedy did likewise in the next.

Lions finally pulled clear on the night when Howarth and Douglas combined for a 5-1 over Ellis in Heat 9, and it was at this point where all momentum was lost from the meeting.

Heat 10 saw Palin collide with Thompson on the third bend with both riders thankfully walking away from a heavy trip into the air-fence, and the re-run was another Lions 5-1 from Morris and Thompson after Palin had been disqualified.

By now rain was beginning to again threaten proceedings and Ellis did not appear in Heat 11 with Howarth taking the flag over Simon Lambert and Connor Mountain after the Scorpions’ No.1 had been timed out.

Palin was unsurprisingly an absentee from Heat 12, but that race didn’t go beyond turn two as Mountain found himself being sent wide and fortunately got off his bike before it hit the fence.

Referee Tony Steele was then called to inspect the track and assess the conditions, and took the decision to call a halt with the result standing.

Leicester manager Stewart Dickson said: “It wasn’t ideal, but I’d like to give credit to both sets of riders because they were keen to give it a go.

“We did plan to go to Heat 15, but there were one or two crashes in the latter heats, it was beginning to rain again, and we had to be sensible.

“We didn’t want to just get to Heat 10 and stop the meeting as has happened before in other matches, and everybody gave it a go, although I’m not going to kid anyone that it was a great spectacle.

“Hopefully all the riders came through unscathed and there’s now a big cleaning job on for tomorrow.”

LEICESTER 38: Nick Morris 12, Kyle Howarth 9+1, Ryan Douglas 8+2, Zaine Kennedy 4+1, Dan Thompson 3+1, Joe Thompson 2, Hans Andersen r/r
SCUNTHORPE 28: Connor Mountain 7+2, Jordan Palin 6+1, Adam Ellis 6, Simon Lambert 5+1, James Shanes 3, Josh MacDonald 1+1, Thomas Jorgensen r/r
Abandoned after 11 heats due to weather/track conditions – Result STANDS
Leicester win 92-64 on aggregate


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