Saturday May 21, 2022
LEICESTER made it back-to-back home wins in the National Development League by overcoming Mildenhall 49-40 in an incident packed meeting on Saturday.

Lion Cubs No.1 Dan Thompson lowered his own track record when he clocked 61.44 in Heat 1, although both he and brother Joe did see their unbeaten NDL runs on their home circuit ended by an impressive Jason Edwards in Heats 13 and 15.

The Fen Tigers suffered an unfortunate night as both of their reserves crashed out of the meeting, as they dropped out of contention for a league point in the latter stages.

Visiting No.7 Luke Muff led Heat 2 before falling on turn four, and the re-run saw an ugly collision involving the three remaining riders on the second bend, resulting in Josh Warren and the Cubs’ Vinnie Foord going heavily into the fence.

Both were remarkably able to continue, but in the re-run Warren led until the final bend when he was clipped from behind by Kai Ward, and although the Mildenhall man was rightly awarded the win, he was then ruled out with an ankle knock.

And the visitors were further depleted when Muff crashed out in Heat 8 having once again taken the lead, as after spinning on turn four he was collected by team-mate Alex Spooner and ruled out with a neck complaint.

Even so, the Fen Tigers kept the gap at just one point after nine races as they went into several races only able to field one rider.

Birthday boy Mickie Simpson recovered from two early falls to take a key third place from Spooner in Heat 10, and Joe Thompson’s third win in Heat 11 saw him switch superbly inside Edwards coming off the second bend.

With Connor Coles defeating Kingston in Heat 12 to make it 39-32, it effectively meant the Fen Tigers needed two 5-1s from Edwards and James Shanes in their clashes with the Thompson twins in Heats 13 and 15 if they were to snatch an unlikely victory.

But in the event both races were shared, with Heat 13 in particular seeing Edwards fend off serious pressure from the Leicester top two, with Shanes at the back on both occasions.

And in between, Heat 14 saw a superb ride by Tom Spencer, who showed great determination to make it around Spooner on the third and fourth bend.

Cubs boss Dave Howard said: “We had some issues with getting the right lines out of bends in the early races, and the crashes as well.

“Obviously we’re pleased to win and stop them getting a point, because the objective is always to not only win the match but to stop the away team grabbing a losing bonus point.

“They have two strong heat-leaders and Kingston has come back far stronger than his average, considering he’s had some years out, so he’s strengthened them.

“It was good to get the win, and good to stop them getting a point.”

The Lion Cubs are back in action on Tuesday at Plymouth, whilst the next meeting at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena sees the Watling JCB Lions face Scunthorpe in the KO Cup next Saturday (May 28).

LEICESTER 49: Dan Thompson 12+1, Joe Thompson 12+1, Connor Coles 9, Tom Spencer 6+2, Vinnie Foord 5+1, Mickie Simpson 3, Kai Ward 2.
MILDENHALL 40: Jason Edwards 12+1, Jack Kingston 9+1, Alex Spooner 7, James Shanes 7, Josh Warren 4+1, Luke Muff 1+1, Sam Bebee r/r.

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