Wednesday October 13, 2021
LEICESTER’S home play-off semi-final decider with Poole on Saturday is perfectly poised after a tense first leg in Dorset.

The Watling JCB Lions came away from Wimborne Road with a 48-42 deficit to give themselves every chance of a place in another Grand Final.

Skipper Kyle Howarth top scored with 12-points including three impressive wins from his five outings.

And he said: “The boys dug deep there. We’ve given ourselves a chance around our home track but it’s going to be close.

“It’s a massive night for the club and we need our fans to come along and get right behind us.

“We’re in a positive frame of mind and we know what we have to do. Let’s see everyone down at Beaumont Park on Saturday – and bring your mates.”

In their previous 30 heats in Poole, the Watling JCB Lions had only managed a total of four heat advantages but a hat-trick of these between heats four and six had given them an early two point lead and had the Poole camp believing their 100% home record was suddenly in jeopardy.

The meeting began cruelly for Nick Morris as his bike packed up whilst leading heat one and there were further problems for guest Chris Harris in heat 13 when he failed to get off the start, but Morris held his nerve that time, denying the Pirates the opportunity to gain any advantage to add to the six point lead they had established after the mid-meeting break.

Howarth was in solid form winning his first two rides, dropping his first point after newly appointed number one Steve Worrall made his first decent gate of the evening. Leicester had been sharper out of the tapes in the first half and had the Pirates visibly riled but with a brace of 4-2 advantages for the home side after the second major track grade the Pirates began to grow in confidence.

Their guest Zach Cook produced a match-turning ride when he won the re-run of heat 11, called after Pirates skipper Danny King had been too fierce in his challenge on Ryan Douglas on the fourth turn of the opening lap. Cook had been out of the points at the time of the stoppage, but he drove hard off gate four and kept Douglas and Morris at bay, rousing the Poole fans into giving him a standing ovation.

A Leicester advantage at that stage would have changed the direction of the meeting but Zaine Kennedy and Joe Thompson had no response to Rory Schlein and Ben Basso in the 12th as Poole put six points between the two sides.
Then came Harris' unfortunate retirement that denied a further chance for the Lions to reduce the margin.

Howarth returned to winning ways in 14 and he and Morris combined in the final heat to deny Schein any openings, before the Poole man pulled up sharply at the end of the heat in some discomfort.

POOLE 48: Steve Worrall 12+1, Zach Cook 10+2, Rory Schlein 8+2, Benjamin Basso 7+1, Danny King 5, Ben Cook 4+1, Danyon Hume 2.
LEICESTER 42: Kyle Howarth 12, Nick Morris 9+1, Ryan Douglas 8, Chris Harris 8, Zaine Kennedy 5+1, Dan Thompson 0, Joe Thompson 0.


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