The Leicester Lion Cubs face an important two days with back-to-back fixtures against the Mildenhall Fen Tigers at home on Sunday and away to the Kent Kings twenty-four hours later. The Cubs are presently third in the National Trophy League table and well placed to qualify for the final but first of all they need to secure three points against Mildenhall who are their closest rivals.
The Suffolk club are having a good season and have three top class heat leaders in Joe Jacobs, Daniel Halsey and Josh Bates. Both Jacobs and Halsey have ridden well on their previous visits to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium for their respective Elite League clubs and are expected to pose a threat to the Cubs. Bates misses the match as he is required to race at Workington for his Premier League club Sheffield if fit following an injury to his hand and the Tigers will utilise the rider replacement rule to cover for his absence.
Leicester are also forced into a change following the news that Oliver Greenwood has secured a team place at Rye House in the Premier League and he will be riding for his new club at Newcastle. Greenwood, who is second in the Cubs averages, is replaced by Steven Worrall who rides for Cradley.
“It is vital that we win both meetings, and our target is to collect all seven match points which will then place ourselves in a good position to make the final. Like us, the Mildenhall team contains riders with Elite League experience, but I am confident that we will rise to the occasion. Oliver Greenwood is a big loss to the team but I am pleased that Steven Worrall has agreed to guest for us. He is having a fabulous season racing in all three leagues and I know that Steve will fit in well as he rides in the same Cradley team as Tom Perry and Max Clegg” commented the Lion Cubs Team Manager David Howard.
The Tigers strengthened their league position by completing the double over the Kent Kings in the National Trophy and on Monday the Lion Cubs also need to come away from Sittingbourne with a win. The Kings are led by the one-time Leicester rider Simon Lambert and Ben Morley who also doubles up in the Elite League with the Lakeside Hammers. “Whilst Kent have yet to gain a match point in this competition, their league form is much better and we will not be taking them for granted. Whilst we welcome Oliver Greenwood back in to the side we lose James Sarjeant who has picked up a guest booking in the Premier League for Sheffield on Monday. Leicester’s senior team receive huge support away from home and it would be great to see our fans on the Central Park Stadium terraces on Monday for what will be a new venue to most people and another vital fixture” added Howard.
The racing on Sunday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium gets underway at 4.00 pm and prices have been set at: adults £10, children 10 to under 16 £2.50 and under 10’s free.
Sunday 27th July
Leicester: 1. Steven Worrall, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Max Clegg, 4. Tom Perry, 5. James Sarjeant, 6. Sam Chapman and 7. Tom Woolley
Mildenhall: 1. Daniel Halsey, 2. Rider Replacement, 3. Connor Coles, 4. Brendan Johnson, 5. Joe Jacobs, 6. Jack Kingston and 7. Connor Mountain
Monday 28th July
Kent: 1. Ben Morley, 2. Aaron Baseby, 3. David Mason, 4. Benji Compton, 5. Simon Lambert, 6. Jason Garrad and 7. Danny Ayres
Leicester: 1. Oliver Greenwood, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. Rider Replacement, 6. Sam Chapman and 7. Tom Woolley
For the second time in twenty-four hours Leicester pushed the home team to a last heat decider. At King’s Lynn on Wednesday the Lions were in with a chance of coming away from the Norfolk Arena with a draw and on Thursday at Swindon the team were in a position to gain their first win away from home in the Elite League. Entering the final race Leicester required their two riders to finish ahead of the Swindon pairing and whilst Nicolai Klindt secured second place the race was won by the home side’s captain Troy Batchelor to leave the Lions having to be content with a consolation bonus match point for the second time in two days.
On a night that saw more than its fair share of spills, retirements and exclusions where only three out of the fifteen heats ended with all four riders completing the race it was the Rapid Solicitors Lions who fared marginally better than the Swindon Robins in the first half of the meeting. The table began to change after Heat 8 only for the Lions to draw level again in Heat 11 before Swindon wrapped it up with a 4-2 in the final race and with it disappeared any hope of that elusive first away win since the Lions joined the Elite League.
“We are gradually turning our season around. This was the second time in two days that we have arrived at the last race in with a chance of picking up at least a point. Once again it did not quite work out for us but we picked up another consolation bonus match point and for us that is progress when compared with some of our earlier away performances this season” said the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Swindon 47 points: Peter Kildemand 3+2, Dakota North 9, Nick Morris 8, Simon Gustafsson 5+2, Troy Batchelor 9+1, Nathan Greaves 1 and Steven Worrall 12+2
Leicester 43 points: Jason Doyle 11+1, Sam Masters 6+1, Mads Korneliussen 2, Nicolai Klindt 13, Krzysztof Buckowski 4, James Sarjeant 6+1 and Max Clegg 1+1
Leicester’s new found home form will be severely tested on Saturday when the Lakeside Hammers visit the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. The visitors are currently third in the Elite League table and have maintained a settled septet since the start of the season. Their only change to their team occurred last week when Peter Karlsson was released to make way for Kim Nilsson to return to the club after a short spell riding for Eastbourne last season.
The team have shown consistent form which has helped Lakeside remain one of the forerunners for a place in the play-offs and possibly their best finish since 2008. Their strength has been at home where the Hammers have lost just once when the Elite League leaders King’s Lynn lowered their colours but they gained a measure of revenge when they temporarily halted the Stars run of a record fourteen consecutive wins in the ‘B’ fixture at the Arena Essex Raceway. Away from home Lakeside have won at Birmingham and drawn at Belle Vue but need additional points on their travels to make sure they remain play-off contenders.
On their last visit to Leicester the Hammers felt aggrieved that a decision to withdraw their reserve Adam Ellis from the meeting may have caused them to lose a match point. The flashpoint arose when Ellis crashed and in the opinion of the medical practitioner the Lakeside teenage reserve was not fit to continue much to the annoyance of the rider and his team manager. Leicester went on to win the match by 48 points to 41.
Leicester have a doubt over the fitness of Josh Bates who injured his hand during the win against Eastbourne on Monday and have the Coventry rider James Sarjeant on standby. The visitors are without Mikkel Bech whose sparkling performance at Leicester in May earned the talented Danish teenager the highest step on the rostrum in the World Under-21 Championship qualifier and his place will be filled by the King’s Lynn captain Rory Schlein.
“There are no easy matches in the Elite League and this one will be a stern test for us. Our home form has shown a marked improvement and it is in meetings like this that you gauge just how far we have come as a team. Lakeside know that they need at least another away win to boost their points tally and our goal is at the very least to remain unbeaten in the ‘B’ fixtures at home. We have started well by beating Belle Vue and Eastbourne on their return visits to Leicester and it will be a great boost to our confidence if we can add Lakeside to the list” said the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Josh Bates
Lakeside: 1. Davey Watt, 2. Richard Lawson, 3. Lewis Bridger, 4. Kim Nilsson, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. Ben Morley and 7. Adam Ellis
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