LIONS 42 IPSWICH 48

01/04/2024

LIONS 42 IPSWICH 48

LEICESTER face an uphill battle to remain in the Premiership Knockout Cup after a 48-42 home defeat to holders Ipswich at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park on Monday.

The Watling JCB Lions were unable to build on a dream start which saw skipper Max Fricke and Richard Lawson race to a 5-1 over Witches star Emil Sayfutdinov in Heat 1, and that turned out to be the only time they led the meeting.

Lawson kept up his strong opening to the season and there were three race wins from the impressive Sam Masters, but with Ryan Douglas under the weather and the visitors providing strength at reserve, it proved to be a tough night.

Dan Thompson and Keynan Rew immediately levelled the scores with a 5-1 in Heat 2, and Thompson then teamed up with Jason Doyle in Heat 4 for maximum points over Douglas.

The Lions hit back through Masters and Luke Becker who relegated Sayfutdinov to third place in Heat 5, but the Witches’ No.1 went unbeaten in his final three rides.

Ipswich edged back ahead as Thompson impressively held Lawson at bay in Heat 8 with Jordan Jenkins picking up third place, and the visitors kept that advantage across the next two races as Fricke was kept at the back of Heat 10 behind Adam Ellis and Danny King, despite Lawson’s race victory.

The teams traded 4-2s across Heats 11 and 12 with Thompson and Drew Kemp alternating the third places, and whilst Fricke and Douglas kept Doyle out of the points in Heat 13, there was no answer to Sayfutdinov.

Rew popped up with an important Heat 14 win for Ipswich ahead of Becker and Kemp which took them into the last race two points up, and the visitors enjoyed the perfect finale from Sayfutdinov and Doyle, who took a 5-1 over Lawson and Masters to take control of the tie.

Masters said: “We were up against a really tough team and it’s disappointing that we lost by six.

“But when Emil and Doyley are on it like that they’re hard to beat, and especially in Heats 13 and 15 they’re always going to be strong.

“You need to get a lead on them early, and we didn’t have that tonight unfortunately.

“We were battling away, we’ve still got a couple of little issues with riders’ bikes in our team, although hopefully I’ve sorted mine out. I finished with a duck tonight but I can’t complain.”

The second leg of the KO Cup tie takes place at Foxhall on Thursday, and the Lions’ next fixture in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership comes up next Monday (April 8) at Belle Vue.

PREMIERSHIP KO CUP, Q/F, 1st leg
LEICESTER 42: Sam Masters 10+1, Richard Lawson 9+2, Ryan Douglas 7+1, Max Fricke 7, Luke Becker 6+1, Drew Kemp 3+1, Joe Thompson 0.
IPSWICH 48: Jason Doyle 11+1, Emil Sayfutdinov 11, Dan Thompson 9+1, Danny King 6+2, Adam Ellis 5+1, Keynan Rew 5+1, Jordan Jenkins 1.

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