LEICESTER’S Championship title chase comes down to 15 races in the second leg of the Grand Final on the neutral territory of King’s Lynn on Friday (7pm).

The Watling JCB Lions go into the meeting 41-49 down after a sterling effort at title favourites Poole last week, but they have had to forsake home advantage due to the recent weather and track issues at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

It's a hugely frustrating situation given that the Lions completed their regular league programme way back on July 24, with the month of August comprising just one senior fixture.

But the good news is that they do go into the meeting at full strength with No.1 Nick Morris having delayed his return to Australia in order to race, whilst skipper Kyle Howarth is back from a mandatory period of absence for illness – with thanks to Scott Nicholls for being prepared to stand in again last weekend.

The Lions will, though, again be without team boss Stewart Dickson, who is making a good recovery after being taken into hospital last week but is not yet well enough to make the journey. Plymouth’s Garry May once again stands in at the Adrian Flux Arena.

May said: “I’ll gee the boys up just like I did at Poole, and we’ll all talk as we go through the meeting. I just want to win the league for Stewart, and that’s the aim.”

And Leicester do have some home track knowledge within their ranks as heat-leader Richie Worrall has spent the 2022 season with King’s Lynn in the Premiership – a fact that also applies to Poole’s Richard Lawson.

Lions co-owner Damien Bates said: “Nick changed his flight. Nick’s words to me were ‘I have done the whole season, I want to win the league with Leicester.

“It is great for Nick to have that attitude. I appreciate that.

“The best two teams are in this Final in my eyes – probably the most successful teams of the last few years, and probably the best supported teams. I think both teams deserve to be in this Final.”

Supporters are reminded that start-time is 7pm and tickets are available on the gate at King’s Lynn, with normal Leicester Championship prices applying. Online sales are no longer open, but those already purchased will be honoured, and anyone who cannot attend having already bought a ticket should e-mail .

LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Connor Mountain, Richie Worrall, Dan Thompson, Kyle Howarth, Joe Thompson, Max Clegg.
POOLE: Danny King, Ben Cook, Steve Worrall, Drew Kemp, Richard Lawson, Zach Cook, Nathan Ablitt.

*Meanwhile, Leicester Lion Cubs take a 15-point lead into the second leg of their Grand Final against reigning champions Mildenhall.

Dave Howard’s side produced a brilliant display at West Row last week to put themselves in the driving seat to complete a league and KO Cup double.

But they will be without third heat-leader Connor Coles, who suffered a broken collarbone in the first leg, with rider replacement in operation and Max James once again declared at No.8.

The Fen Tigers have had huge problems in putting together a team with Alex Spooner and Jack Kingston added to their injury list last week, and Josh Warren is unavailable due to an operation planned for the scheduled end of the season.

They have therefore had to scour the list of ‘unattached’ riders, as well as the inclusion of Tom Woolley as a guest, but the presence of 15-year-old Ashton Boughen at reserve could be significant as he has plenty of experience of the Adrian Flux Arena.

Howard said: “Nothing can be taken for granted as Mildenhall will be giving everything they have to pull back the deficit.

“But the team are motivated in every way to finish the job and achieve a Grand Final victory. As always, our Lion Cubs boys will all be fighting for every position in every race, to achieve that league title aim.”

LEICESTER: Dan Thompson, Max Perry, Connor Coles R/R, Tom Spencer, Joe Thompson, Vinnie Foord, Mickie Simpson. No.8: Max James.
MILDENHALL: Jason Edwards, James Shanes R/R, Bailey Fellows, James Laker, Tom Woolley, Ashton Boughen, James Jessop.

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Lions V Ipswich Witches
July 18, 2024 19.30

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