Friday May 13, 2022
LEICESTER produced a brilliant performance to win 50-39 at Edinburgh for their first victory on the road this season.

The Watling JCB Lions are now four points clear at the top of the Championship as their regular league campaign takes a break at the halfway stage – and this result at Armadale gives their play-off prospects a massive boost.

Nick Morris was in sublime form once again, dropping just one point from five rides against a team with powerful top-end strength, and amongst an all-round team effort there were key contributions from ex-Monarch Richie Worrall who stepped up in big races in the second half of the meeting, whilst guest Kyle Bickley contributed a most useful paid-six.

Bickley combined with Joe Thompson for a 5-1 in Heat 2 with Edinburgh’s James Sarjeant falling in his efforts to pass, and although Kye Thomson managed to split Morris and Connor Mountain in Heat 3, it was still a Leicester 4-2.

Lions gained a further advantage in Heat 5 thanks to a Worrall win and a fine third for Dan Thompson over Paco Castagna, and although that was cancelled out in the next race the visitors still led by four at the halfway stage.

That was extended to five in a dramatic Heat 8 when home man Lasse Fredriksen crashed out, and then in the re-run Dan Thompson was disqualified after tangling with team-mate Bickley – who picked himself up to win the re-run for a 3-2.

The meeting really swung the Lions’ way in Heat 10 when Fredriksen came to grief again, and in the-re-run Morris was leading Edinburgh No.1 Sam Masters, who slowed on the second lap to allow Mountain through for a big 5-1.

And when the home side used a tactical substitute in Heat 11, pairing their top two riders, Worrall came up with a strong ride to split Masters and Josh Pickering and limit Edinburgh to a 4-2.

Morris controlled a shared Heat 12 before the Lions made virtually sure of victory with Worrall beating Masters in Heat 13 and Kyle Howarth adding third place as Pickering fell as he tried to challenge.

Mountain and Joe Thompson collected a 3-3 from Heat 14 to confirm the win, and take the Lions closer to all four league points. Only an Edinburgh 5-1 in Heat 15 could have stopped that, but in the event Morris superbly got the better of Masters on the first lap with Worrall adding extra insurance with third place.

Leicester boss Stewart Dickson said: “I’m very, very pleased, and I feel that result gets us up and running. I know we’re 100 per cent at home, but this was away from home, and it’s fair to say that getting the four points was beyond expectations.

“It was a good team effort, we were very good out of the starts which does make things a bit easier, but we rode well and we thoroughly deserved it.

“Kyle Bickley came in and did a job for us, he was excellent, and I purposefully swapped him with Joe Thompson in Heats 8 and 9 because he would be going off the inside gate, which worked in our favour.

“I don’t really want to single people out but certainly Nick Morris top-scored and had a really good night, and there was a key moment when I said to Richie Worrall that we needed to nullify their tactical substitute in Heat 11, if we could do that we would go on and win the match, and Richie did that in a very hard first bend.

“From then on it looked like it was going to be Leicester’s night and the Edinburgh promoters, Alex Harkess and John Campbell, who have been in the game a long time and are well respected, agreed we deserved it too. All in all it was a really good evening for us.”

EDINBURGH 39: Sam Masters 14, Kye Thomson 9, Josh Pickering 7, Paco Castagna 3+1, James Sarjeant 3+1, Lasse Fredriksen 2, Jacob Hook 1
LEICESTER 50: Nick Morris 14, Richie Worrall 11, Kyle Howarth 8, Connor Mountain 6+2, Joe Thompson 5+2, Kyle Bickley 5+1, Dan Thompson 1
Championship points: Edinburgh 0 Leicester 4


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