LEICESTER Lion Cubs are National Development League champions for the second time in three seasons.

The Lion Cubs completed a league and KO Cup double at King’s Lynn on Friday by demolishing a depleted Mildenhall side 62-28, for a massive 49-point aggregate triumph.

Much of the hard work had been done at West Row in last week’s first leg, and it was hard not to feel sympathy for the position of the Fen Tigers, who had literally nowhere to turn due to their injury crisis, but the overall outcome was just reward for the Cubs who have been the best team in the league this season.

And the second leg also underlined the rapid improvement of the Cubs youngsters, who have grown in stature over the course of the season to back up Dan and Joe Thompson, along with third heat leader Connor Coles who was absent with a broken collarbone.

Max Perry notched a mighty score of 11 paid 15, despite a Heat 1 mishap when he had to take a 15-metre penalty but still fought back to pass Ashton Boughen.

Reserves Vinnie Foord and Mickie Simpson both notched seven paid ten, and both took the scalp of the far more experienced Tom Woolley along the way.

Tom Spencer also showed his great value to the team in the middle-order with a paid-13 score, being involved in three 5-1s and earning a Heat 15 nomination.

And there was also a superb display from club asset Max James at No.8, who was unbeaten over his two rides and passed Woolley in his first outing in Heat 9 to join Spencer for a 5-1 which mathematically secured the league title.

That was the fifth of eight 5-1s on the night as the Lion Cubs predictably raced clear, with the main resistance for the Fen Tigers coming from classy No.1 Jason Edwards, along with a Heat 2 race win for youngster Boughen.

Edwards won his first four rides, producing a quality effort to snatch victory from Joe Thompson in Heat 11 – but he was passed himself by Dan Thompson in Heat 13 with the Cubs’ No.1 producing the move of the meeting to switch through on the inside going into lap two.

Manager Dave Howard paid tribute to his team after delaying his own flight for a holiday to the USA by a day to ensure he could be present at the meeting.

He said: “The team spirit has been fantastic all year, everyone has been so together, even with the mechanics helping out and diving in when things go wrong.

“There’s so much togetherness in the team, and that spirt really helps. It’s just been a joy to be manager of them.

“The progression the riders have made as well, everyone has been great, from Dan and Joe, and Connor who unfortunately couldn’t be here tonight but has had a great season.

“Max has come on so much in his first year, he’s really taken off as the year has gone by, Tom has continued his consistency and put in good performances, Vinnie has grown in the past couple of months, he’s become such a more solid rider, and Mickie as well has just gradually and consistently improved during the year.

“It was really good to see Max James too, and in his first five rides he’s got ten paid twelve, so that’s good for the future as well.”

LEICESTER 62: Max Perry 11+4, Dan Thompson 11, Joe Thompson 11, Tom Spencer 10+3, Vinnie Foord 7+3, Mickie Simpson 7+3, Max James 5+1, Connor Coles r/r.
MILDENHALL 28: Jason Edwards 17, Ashton Boughen 5, Tom Woolley 3, James Laker 2, Bailey Fellows 1, James Jessop 0, James Shanes r/r.
Leicester win 114-65 on aggregate

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July 18, 2024 19.30

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