Saturday June 04, 2022
LEICESTER moved five points clear at the top of the Championship with an impressive 49-41 win at Berwick on Saturday.

The Watling JCB Lions have enjoyed a perfect week on the road with maximum four-point hauls at both Birmingham and then Shielfield Park, and it leaves them in an extremely strong overall position.

Skipper Kye Howarth put in another tremendous display with four wins, Jason Edwards proved an inspired choice of guest at reserve, and No.1 Nick Morris fortunately escaped largely unscathed from a heavy Heat 15 crash.

Lions had plenty to contend with throughout the night, including the fact that rider replacement for Connor Mountain only gleaned one point, compared to the Bandits’ six for Jye Etheridge.

And after Edwards and Dan Thompson had put Leicester in front with a 5-1 in Heat 2, the visitors were unlucky in Heat 3 when clear leader Richie Worrall suffered a chain failure going into the last bend and came down.

Howarth’s win over Chris Harris in Heat 6 put the Lions back in front, before Edwards made a great start in Heat 7 and was team-ridden home by Worrall for a big 5-1 over Berwick heat-leader Ricky Wells.

The Bandits brought Harris into Heat 9 as a tactical substitute but Howarth repelled that threat for a 3-3, passing Leon Flint in the early stages, although the home side creditably fought back to 33-33 including a surprise 5-1 from Harris and Theo Pijper in Heat 10.

But the Lions produced the stronger finish, with the Worrall/Edwards combination coming up with the goods again for a 5-1 in Heat 12, before Morris split Howarth and Wells in the next as Howarth for once missed out.

Lions then grabbed a key 4-2 in Heat 14 with Edwards holding off Flint’s challenge and Thompson taking a vital third, meaning only a Berwick 5-1 in Heat 15 would level the match.

And in the end it was Leicester who took the 5-1, and an extra league point as a result, after Harris was disqualified when he clashed with Morris at the start of the last lap, with Howarth already well clear at the time.

Morris thankfully walked away, albeit with cuts to his knuckles and forearm, and an extensive amount of bike damage,

Lions boss Stewart Dickson said: “Plaudits have to go to our guest, Jason Edwards, but I think the six riders as a whole did very well. It was a good team performance, and I have to say getting four league points at Berwick was beyond my expectations.

“You have to remember in Richie’s first ride he was winning it out of the park until the last bend when his primary chain snapped, and that was a four-point swing. To still collect the four league points after that mishap was very good.

“I know they’re missing Jye Etheridge but I can only concentrate on Leicester. It’s a very pleasing result, and it keeps us top of the table for that bit longer.

“The only downside of the meeting for me was the crash in Heat 15, but Nick escaped relatively undamaged, which is the main thing, and the referee rightly awarded the race because Kyle was well gone.

“It’s just a pity that now with the momentum with us, we don’t have the return fixture on Sunday because of the weather, and the forecast hasn’t changed there.”

BERWICK 41: Leon Flint 13, Chris Harris 12+1, Ricky Wells 6, Theo Pijper 5+2, Lee Complin 4, Kyle Bickley 1, Jye Etheridge r/r, Luke Crang (no.8) dnr.
LEICESTER 49: Kyle Howarth 13+1, Jason Edwards 11+2, Nick Morris 11+1, Richie Worrall 6+1, Dan Thompson 6, Joe Thompson 2, Connor Mountain r/r.

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