LIONS 39 WOLVERHAMPTON 51

17/08/2023

LIONS 39 WOLVERHAMPTON 51

LEICESTER slipped to a second successive home defeat as Wolverhampton took an impressive 51-39 victory from the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park.

The Watling JCB Lions paid the price for a poor start to the meeting, going ten points down in the space of the opening five heats, and they never made serious inroads into the deficit.

Wolves put on a fast-gating performance inspired by former Lions man Ryan Douglas, who won his first four races, and it was not until Heat 7 that a home rider saw the chequered flag in first place.

By then, Steve Worrall had held off the constant threat of Max Fricke in Heat 1 before the visitors’ reserve duo of Leon Flint and Zach Cook struck a convincing 5-1 in Heat 2.

Richie Worrall looked set for a Lions win in Heat 3 only for Rory Schlein to pass him on the outside, and after Douglas won Heat 4 the gap went up to ten points in the next with Masters racing clear of Richie Worrall whilst Steve Worrall supplied third place.

Lions were hampered by the absence of Craig Cook, ruled out with a back injury, and an early tactical move in Heat 6 didn’t have the desired effect as Douglas gated sharply to defeat Fricke and Richard Lawson.

Heat 7 finally provided a Lions winner with Lawson holding off Schlein, and Justin Sedgmen was also successful in Heat 8 – but Wolves took a 4-2 in Heat 9 as Richie Worrall was squeezed out at the back, Drew Kemp riding strongly to split Douglas and Zach Cook.

Finally the home fans had something to shout about in Heat 10 with a terrific battle for second place between Sedgmen and Luke Becker with the home rider re-passing the American to team up with Fricke for a 5-1.

But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished immediately when Masters and Steve Worrall gated to a 5-1 over Lawson in the next, and the all-action Becker went past Richie Worrall in Heat 12 to keep the visitors 12 points up.

They secured victory with a 4-2 in Heat 13, Fricke coming from the back to pass Masters for second place, and they added another 4-2 in Heat 14 from Schlein and Leon Flint, split by Richie Worrall.

The last race was a cracker, albeit academic in terms of the result, with Fricke again getting the better of Masters from the back to complete a consolation 5-1 with Lawson as Douglas missed out on his maximum.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “Wolverhampton were very good, but at the same time that’s two heavy defeats in a row at home for us, which is not something we’ve been used to.

“The riders just weren’t making starts, and even when we did we were getting passed, Wolves were just quicker. There was nothing wrong with the track, nobody was blaming the track, and it’s not something I can figure out straight away.

“Unfortunately there’s a slump somewhere and we need to get our motivation back, and when I say that I mean all of us. I’m not making excuses, and there has been a bit of disruption with the team personnel, but really the 5-1 in Heat 15 made the scoreline look a bit better than what it actually was.

“We’re going to have to knuckle down, maybe a practice day, and do something to get the spark back. We need to make sure we don’t blow this – we always said it was about reaching the top four, and we’re now hanging on and need a couple more home wins.”

Lions are back in action next Thursday (August 24) at Ipswich at the start of a crucial Bank Holiday period, with the next home meeting being the visit of Sheffield on Saturday August 26 (6.30pm start in a double header with the Lion Cubs versus Oxford).

LEICESTER 39: Max Fricke 11+1, Richard Lawson 10+1, Richie Worrall 8, Drew Kemp 5+2, Justin Sedgmen 5+1, Jake Allen 0, Craig Cook r/r.
WOLVERHAMPTON 51: Ryan Douglas 12, Sam Masters 9, Steve Worrall 8+1, Rory Schlein 8, Luke Becker 6+1, Leon Flint 5+1, Zach Cook 3+1.
 

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