LEICESTER head to Poole on Friday (7.30pm) for the first leg of the Championship Grand Final - eager to put big points on the board in their bid to take the league title.

The Watling JCB Lions finished top of the regular standings and made it past Edinburgh with home and away wins in the play-off semi-finals to reach this stage for the second time in three seasons.

The Final pits together the two most recent league champions as the Lions, who triumphed in 2019 against Glasgow, were succeeded last year by the Pirates, who are therefore looking to claim back-to-back titles.

And there’s no doubt that the Dorset side, despite finishing third in the league table, go into the Final on a roll having already claimed the KO Cup and having run up a series of big home wins in recent weeks.

Mindful of that, and of the Lions’ Cup defeat at Poole last month, boss Stewart Dickson has switched his riding order for Friday’s meeting, with the most significant change seeing Dan Thompson move to No.5 whilst skipper Kyle Howarth joins Richie Worrall in a potentially powerful middle-order pairing.

Dickson said: “We need to score as many points as we can at Poole, and I’m trying to maximise points in the races where we can do that.

“It’s a team game and I’ve explained to the riders the reasons why, but the bottom line is that we need to perform – if we don’t, then the juggling around won’t make any difference.

“We’ve enjoyed a really good season and the riders deserve great credit for their achievements – but now we want to finish it off in style, hopefully with the league title.”

Poole are at full strength with the form of the Cook brothers, Ben and Zach, being integral to their success of late.

Leicester can also confirm that regardless of any potential weather intervention on Friday, Saturday’s fixture at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena will definitely go ahead as scheduled.

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

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July 18, 2024 19.30

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