Wednesday June 08, 2022
LEICESTER pulled off another stunning result with a 47-43 win at Poole to smash the Pirates’ 23-match unbeaten home run.

The Watling JCB Lions raced to a seventh successive Championship victory to move eight points clear at the top of the table and put themselves in pole position for a top two finish ahead of the play-offs.

Wimborne Road had proved a bridge too far in 2021, but the Lions of this season led all the way in a superb overall performance, with reserve Dan Thompson taking top billing with a paid-13 haul from six rides.

Thompson had struggled at the Dorset venue last year but he gave a match-winning display this time around as he shared in three Leicester 5-1s – the third of which left the home side stunned as it saw him take the scalp of former British No.2 Steve Worrall.

Lions provided the first three race winners with Thompson and guest Ben Morley racing to a 5-1 in Heat 2, and then Richie Worrall winning the first battle against his brother in the next.

The gap increased to eight points when Nick Morris got the better of Steve Worrall in the early stages with the rock-solid Connor Mountain supplying third place.

A Poole comeback was always expected, and it came as the visitors took the next two races by a 9-3 margin, making a tactical substitution work in Heat 7 from Worrall and Richard Lawson.

But Leicester hit straight back in Heat 8 through Thompson and Mountain to withstand the challenge of Zach Cook – only for their six-point lead to be trimmed back to two thanks to a pair of Poole 5-1s.

But Heat 12 was the big result for the visitors with Richie Worrall teaming up with Thompson to make it 39-33, and then in the clash of the big guns in Heat 13 skipper Kyle Howarth took the win over Lawson, with Nick Morris in the vital third place.

That left Leicester eight points up and they looked set to secure the result in Heat 14 when Joe Thompson came to grief, only for the referee to order a re-run. But thankfully Dan Thompson got the job done once more, splitting Ben Cook and Drew Kemp to ensure the Lions were uncatchable.

Lawson and Steve Worrall took a 4-2 in the last race to confirm Leicester’s reward would be three league points rather than four, but this was still a big statement result against the title favourites.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “I don’t know if I’m doing a dis-service to my riders to say it’s a surprising result, but it was a really pleasing result and performance.

“We started very strongly, and to make them use a tactical at home says something about the way we’re racing at the moment.

“I don’t like to single riders out, but Dan Thompson does deserve special praise, especially for Heat 12 when he beat Steve Worrall, and that was the catalyst to get us over the line. To take a scalp like that was very impressive.

“We had a good support down there as well, which we really appreciate, and also I will say Matt Ford, Dan Ford and Middlo (Neil Middleditch) were very sporting in defeat, they took it on the chin and fair play to them for that – but I’m sure they’ll want to come back at us later in the season.

“Without getting carried away, we now have a realistic chance of finishing in the top two. It’s a big result for us, I’m not going to play it down, but at the end of the day we will need to do it all over again come play-off time, when it really counts.

“But I’m pleased with my team and everyone connected with Leicester. It is a big result to win down at Poole, I know how big a club they are, and I’m pretty sure our paths are going to cross again this year!”

The Lions are back in action on Saturday when they host a strong Plymouth side, with start-time earlier than normal at 6.30pm.

POOLE 43: Richard Lawson 13+1, Steve Worrall 12, Zach Cook 7, Ben Cook 5+1, Danny King 4, Drew Kemp 2, Nathan Ablitt 0
LEICESTER 47: Dan Thompson 11+2, Kyle Howarth 11, Richie Worrall 9, Nick Morris 9, Connor Mountain 5+2, Ben Morley 2+1, Joe Thompson 0
Championship points: Poole 0 Leicester 3

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