WORKINGTON 37 LION CUBS 53

08/07/2023

WORKINGTON 37 LION CUBS 53

LEICESTER took a giant step towards the NDL KO Cup Final with a superb performance to win 53-37 at Workington on Saturday afternoon.

The Lion Cubs dominated the first leg at Northside as their defence of the trophy got off to the best possible start in what was the perfect all-round team display.

15-year-old Ashton Boughen starred once again with paid-15 from six rides, Max James took seven outings at reserve and racked up paid-14, whilst Max Perry and guest Sam Hagon were both also paid for double figures.

After two shared opening races, including a surprise last place for home No.1 Connor Bailey in Heat 1, Perry and the back-from-injury Vinnie Foord put the Cubs on their way with a 5-1 in Heat 3 as they quickly got the better of Harry McGurk.

And that was the first of a hat-trick of maximums with Hagon and James outpacing Ace Pijper in Heat 4, before the prolific Dan Thompson/Boughen combination repeated the feat at the expense of Luke Harrison in the next.

Comets riders won the next two races with Bailey re-passing Hagon in Heat 6 to trim the gap to ten points, but the Cubs banged in another big 5-1 courtesy of Boughen and James in Heat 8.

Foord picked up a disqualification in Heat 9 after tangling with Elliot Kelly, but Hagon won the re-run ahead of Harrison, before Perry made an excellent move in Heat 10 to split the team-riding of Bailey and Sam McGurk and prevent a Workington 5-1.

Heat 11 took four attempts to get started after a series of first-bend incidents, and the action continued in the race proper as the Cubs initially looked set for a 5-1 until Pijper worked his way to the front and then held off the strong challenge of Boughen.

But whilst the visitors had to settle for a 3-3 there, they were back in maximum mood in Heat 12 thanks to Perry and James, making the scoreline 44-28 in Leicester’s favour.

Pijper was disqualified from Heat 13 after clashing with Hagon with Dan Thompson out in front at the time, before Bailey won the re-run for a 3-3.

The teams then shared 4-2s in the last two races, Boughen and James being split by Harrison in Heat 14 before Bailey drove inside Boughen in the finale but the Lion Cubs racer held off Sam McGurk for second place.

Manager Dave Howard said: “We’ve still got to finish the job, but obviously to have a 16-point lead is fantastic, and it puts us in a great position to get to the Cup Final and defend our trophy.

“Everybody put in some really good performances, the whole team rode well and there was some great racing and overtaking moves as well.

“Sam was a really good guest for us, so our thanks to him, Ashton was very strong again, and Max Perry made some great moves – he’s really coming on with his passing now, and it’s so good to see that improvement.

“Max James had another very good meeting, and Vinnie had two good rides before he had a couple of unfortunate ones, but it was really good to have him back with us and to see him coming from the back as well.

“Dan had a difficult day engine-wise but he still played a great part in the meeting for us, and it was just a great performance overall.

“Those three 5-1s in a row really gave us a big boost to put us ahead, and we managed to keep that lead which puts us in a strong position for the second leg to come.”

The Cubs will look to secure progression against the Comets in their next home match on Saturday August 5, with the prize for the aggregate winners being a place in the Cup Final against Mildenhall.

But before that, they face a crucial trip to Kent with league points at stake on Sunday July 23 (midday start) as they battle to move into the top two of the NDL.

WORKINGTON 37: Connor Bailey 12, Sam McGurk 7, Luke Harrison 7, Ace Pijper 7, Harry McGurk 3, Elliot Kelly 1+1, Luke Crang r/r.
LEICESTER 53: Ashton Boughen 14+1, Max James 10+4, Sam Hagon 10, Max Perry 9+1, Dan Thompson 6+3, Vinnie Foord 4+1, Tom Spencer r/r.

Photo credit: DAVE PAYNE

 

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