LEICESTER Lion Cubs have won the National Development KO Cup – and have a great chance of securing the Double on Saturday.

The Lion Cubs won both matches of an incident-strewn double header at Mildenhall on Thursday, to establish control in the league Grand Final and then secure Cup honours.

The first leg of the league decider resulted in a 52-37 win for the Cubs, who performed superbly right down the order.

No.1 Dan Thompson dropped a point to opposite number Jason Edwards in Heat 1 but then ran unbeaten for the rest of the match, whilst brother Joe contributed double figures.

Youngsters Max Perry and Vinnie Foord were also hugely impressive with Perry, on a track where he failed to score in the league earlier in the season, picking up paid-10 this time, including two 5-1s with Dan Thompson – whilst Foord fell in his first ride but then scored 9+2 from his remaining four outings, including a super win in Heat 14 when he came from last to first, eventually passing Alex Spooner for the win.

Connor Coles started the meeting in fine form with eight points from his first three rides – but unfortunately he was withdrawn after a tangle with youngster Ashton Boughen in Heat 12.

Coles has suffered a suspected broken collarbone which sadly looks like ending what has been a superb season in Cubs colours.

The visitors took the lead for the first time with a 5-0 in Heat 3 when both home riders Spooner and Josh Warren were disqualified, and the lead was gradually extended throughout.

Dan Thompson and Perry combined for 5-1s in Heats 5 and 11, whilst Joe Thompson and Foord got in on the act in Heat 9 with Foord again coming from the back.

The Thompson twins secured 4-2s in both Heats 13 and 15 as Dan took the flag on both occasions, and there was some fine action in the last race as they looked set for a 5-1 only for Edwards to split them on the run to the line.

But a 15-point victory was still a massive result for Dave Howard’s side, who will look to seal the deal in the second leg on Saturday.

The KO Cup Final was already very much in the Lion Cubs’ hands after their 26-point win at home, and with Boughen and Coles ruled out for either side, the Fen Tigers were further depleted with Jack Kingston also not riding after crashes in the first match.

The Lion Cubs ran up an enormous 61-27 win in a meeting which ended just shy of midnight, for a monstrous 60-point aggregate victory.

Boss Howard took the opportunity to hand Max James his first outings for the club as rider-replacement for Coles, and he won Heat 12 as part of a 5-1 with Foord.

Perry hit double figures in another excellent display, Spencer notched paid-14 dropping his only point to Edwards in Heat 10, and Joe Thompson won his first three rides before falling in Heat 13.

The Fen Tigers were left totally depleted at the end of a meeting which was always going to be tough on both riders and machines, but the Cubs kept the scoring going throughout on their way to retaining the silverware they had previously taken in 2019.

Howard said: “Everybody was tremendous tonight, and a 15-point lead in the Grand Final is a brilliant position for us to be in.

“The Cup was over by Heat 8 and it’s obviously great to win the first trophy – and to be in a very good position to complete the double on Saturday.

“Dan and Joe were brilliant again and Tom had a great match in the Cup. He hurt his ankle in the first meeting but then he produced his best score of the season in the Cup!

“Vinnie has really come on overall, he was so strong in both meetings, and whilst Max (Perry) struggled here last time because of his bikes, this time he was absolutely fantastic.

“Mickie (Simpson) was fighting for every point, and Connor was fantastic until he was taken out in the league match, which is really unfortunate for him. I gave Max James three rides in the Cup and it was great for him to get his first race win at this level.

“I’d also like to say a big thanks to the fans, we had quite a few down here and they all stayed past midnight for the photos, so thanks to all of them who have been supporting us all year.

“It’s a great night for us, it sets us up well, and now we’ve just got to make sure we finish the job off on Saturday.”

MILDENHALL 27: Jason Edwards 13, Luke Muff 8, James Laker 4, Alex Spooner 2, Josh Warren 0, Jack Kingston (Non Starter), James Shanes r/r
LEICESTER 61: Tom Spencer 12+2, Max Perry 12+1, Dan Thompson 11, Joe Thompson 9, Vinnie Foord 7+1, Mickie Simpson 5+2, Max James (No.8) 5+1, Connor Coles r/r
Leicester win 116-56 on aggregate

Photo Credit: DEREK LEADER

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