Saturday June 25, 2022
LEICESTER roared back to form with a comprehensive 62-28 win over local rivals Birmingham at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday.

The Watling JCB Lions recovered from their blip at Glasgow 24 hours earlier to put three more points on the board as they continue to set the target for the other challengers to catch at the top of the table.

Lions carded no fewer than eight 5-1s in a dominant display, although on this occasion all of their riders were frustrated in their bid for maximum individual points.

No.1 Nick Morris was denied yet another home full house when Brummies guest Tom Brennan rode a good race to deny him in Heat 6, whilst Kyle Howarth’s only dropped point came at the hands of Justin Sedgmen in the next.

Connor Mountain combined with Morris for three 5-1s, whilst Dan Thompson was unbeaten from his first three rides before he had to settle for third behind Sedgmen in Heat 12.

Lions made an explosive start to proceedings with four 5-1s in the first five races, and it could conceivably have been a clean sweep but for Richie Worrall most unusually coming to grief on the fourth bend whilst leading Heat 3.

Joe Thompson emerged in front as the riders took avoiding action, whilst Worrall put that setback behind him to reel off three wins from his next three rides.

That included his Heat 9 effort to defeat Sedgmen and Brennan when the former was taking a tactical substitute ride, whilst guest reserve Jason Edwards produced a solid display throughout with paid-10.

Lions were approaching their highest score of the season when they took 5-1s from each of Heats 10, 11 and 13, with a 4-2 in Heat 12.

But the Brummies’ young reserve James Pearson popped up with a surprise but well-judged race victory in Heat 14, holding off Joe Thompson and Edwards, and Brennan then surged inside Worrall on the last bend of Heat 15 to split the home combination as Morris took the win.

Even so, the Lions hit the 60-point mark for the fifth time this season at home, with the league table to shortly be revised to reflect the withdrawal of Newcastle.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “It was a perfect response to Friday, three points in the bag, and it was a good, strong one-to-seven team performance.

“We had a chat on the track walk as we always do, but the riders didn’t need talking to too much.

“The plan of attack was that good teams need to bounce back and show what they’re made of, so we didn’t go overboard on it, because we know we’re a good side and we know we’re pretty strong around here.

“Conditions were difficult. We kept on watering with the crop sprayer right up to as close as 7pm as we could get, and the mascots both slid off because it was greasy as we were watering as close as we could to start time!

“We stuck at it, and it was just one of those days – windy and sunshine, but we got there in the end, we got some good racing, and we got the win which was the important thing.”

The Lions are back in action at Oxford on Wednesday in their final away fixture of the regular league campaign.

LEICESTER 62: Nick Morris 14, Kyle Howarth 10+1, Richie Worrall 10, Dan Thompson 9+1, Joe Thompson 7+1, Jason Edwards 6+4, Connor Mountain 6+3.
BIRMINGHAM 28: Justin Sedgmen 10, Tom Brennan 8+1, Stefan Nielsen 3+1, James Pearson 3, James Shanes 2, Claus Vissing 2, Ashley Morris r/r.

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