LEICESTER seized control of the NDL Knockout Cup Final with a 55-29 win over Mildenhall with the first leg curtailed one race early due to a heavy downpour.

The Lion Cubs will travel to West Row next Sunday (October 23) with a 26-point advantage after another excellent all-round showing at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena, and have made themselves favourites to secure the silverware.

Dan and Joe Thompson led the way with unbeaten showings, with Connor Coles adding three race wins – and there was strong scoring at reserve too with Vinnie Foord winning two races and Mickie Simpson being involved in two 5-1s.

Simpson produced an on-the-line pass on Luke Muff in Heat 2 to join Foord for maximum points, and the Cubs added another 5-1 in Heat 4 after Fen Tigers guest Lee Complin had fallen on the second lap, triggering a three-man pile-up.

Fen Tigers skipper Jason Edwards became the only rider to defeat Coles when he won Heat 5, and the Cubs hit misfortune of their own in Heat 6 when Max Perry had bike trouble on the start-line.

Mildenhall’s Josh Warren recovered from a fall in Heat 7 to head Simpson and Perry in Heat 8, but the Cubs then began to build their advantage with Coles fending off a strong challenge from Complin to win the next, before Perry rode a superb Heat 10 for a 5-1 with Dan Thompson against Warren and Alex Spooner.

Foord fell in Heat 11 with Joe Thompson beating Edwards in an awarded race, and Coles surged inside Warren to win Heat 12 as the margin extended to 20 points.

The Thompson twins got the better of Edwards in a competitive first lap of Heat 13, but rain was falling by this stage and conditions for Heat 14 were extremely tricky.

Initially that race looked good for the Fen Tigers who held a 5-1 position after Tom Spencer slid off on the second bend – but then Spooner did likewise on turn three, before Foord calmly moved inside Foord to take the win with the re-mounting Spencer collecting third place.

The race time of 72.79 indicated how the conditions worsening so it was no surprise that the meeting was abandoned prior to Heat 15, where the Cubs would have been looking to hit the 60-point mark – but even so, they have put themselves very much in the driving seat.

Boss Dave Howard said: “We wanted a good win, and to get that far ahead obviously puts us in a good position, although there’s still a job to finish at Mildenhall.

“It would have been nice to get further ahead, but you could see in Heat 14 that they were all having problems with the track with it being so slippery, so it was a sensible decision and we’d have taken a 26-point lead from the start.”

LEICESTER 55: Dan Thompson 12, Joe Thompson 11+1, Connor Coles 10+1, Mickie Simpson 7+2, Vinnie Foord 7, Max Perry 4+2, Tom Spencer 4.
MILDENHALL 29: Jason Edwards 8, Josh Warren 7+1, Luke Muff 5+1, Alex Spooner 4, Lee Complin 4, James Laker 1+1, Jack Kingston r/r.
Abandoned after Heat 14 (rain) - Result stands

*The second leg on October 23 is set to become a double-header along with Mildenhall’s home leg of the NDL Grand Final – if the Fen Tigers overcome a three-point deficit against Berwick in the second leg of their semi-final on Sunday.

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