Saturday June 04, 2022
LEICESTER’S youngsters went agonisingly close to a league point in a 49-41 defeat at National Development League leaders Berwick.

The Lion Cubs recorded the biggest score of any of the five visitors to Shielfield Park at NDL level this season, and were just one point away from taking some reward for their efforts.

As it was, they were frustrated by Kyle Bickley’s wins in Heats 13 and 15 over the Thompson twins, with Dan beating the Berwick No.1 in Heat 1 but being edged out by Bickley in those two later races.

Dan won his first three rides, and brother Joe dropped his only points to Bickley himself, but there was misfortune for the Lion Cubs with Connor Coles dropping a chain in his first ride, and Vinnie Foord twice losing his silencer, the first of those costing him a third place over Ben Rathbone in Heat 4.

And Tom Spencer fell in Heat 7 after taking an excellent win in his first ride over Greg Blair.

The Bullets took the lead with a 5-1 in Heat 2 and extended their advantage to eight points with successive 4-2s in Heats 6 and 7, with their track knowledge meaning it wasn’t until Heat 8 that they ran a last place.

But the Cubs battled away and remained in contention with a succession of shared races, and they cut the gap back to six when Coles defeated Ace Pijper in Heat 12 and Foord passed Rathbone for third.

However, it was a Bullets’ 4-2 in Heat 14 from Blair and Kieran Douglas which took the lead back up to eight, meaning the Cubs needed an advantage from the last race to snatch a league point – and Dan Thompson just missed out in a fine scrap with Bickley.

It was still an encouraging display though, on a track where the Cubs had lost 53-36 last season – especially bearing in mind that the sides also meet in the KO Cup semi-finals.

Boss Dave Howard said: “Overall it was a great effort from all the guys, and we really should have come away from the meeting with a point at least.

“If it hadn’t been for Connor’s chain breaking when he was in the lead, and Vinnie’s silencer falling off, which cost him a point as he got excluded, we would have been closer to the win rather than just missing out on a point.

“The positive to take is that we’ve got them in the Cup, and if we can ride like we did tonight in the away leg, then that will put us in a good position for the home leg.”

BERWICK 49: Kyle Bickley 14, Greg Blair 8+1, Luke Crang 7, Ace Pijper 6+2, Kieran Douglas 6+1, Mason Watson 5+1, Ben Rathbone 3+2
LEICESTER 41: Dan Thompson 12+1, Joe Thompson 11+1, Connor Coles 7, Tom Spencer 6+1, Vinnie Foord 3+1, Mickie Simpson 2, Kyran Lyden 0.

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