LIONS v EASTBOURNE, PREVIEW

Friday May 03, 2019
HIGH-FLYING Leicester are set to face another of the Championship’s in-form clubs when they host Eastbourne on Saturday (7.30pm).

The two sides meet home and away over the Bank Holiday weekend as the Watling JCB Lions also make the trip to Arlington for the return fixture on Sunday afternoon.

Stewart Dickson’s side remain high in confidence after results so far this season – but like the Lions, the Eagles have suffered only one defeat in official competitions.

And whilst their home form is very much a known quantity, they served due notice of their potential on the road with a thumping 53-37 win at Birmingham on Wednesday which sees them join the Lions in the Championship Shield semi-finals.

The Eagles’ last visit was in the extraordinary televised encounter of July 2014 when the Lions recovered a seven-point deficit with three races to go, to win 45-44.

Leicester will go into the meetings without Australian star Ryan Douglas, who is still being troubled by the shoulder injury he suffered in a crash against Sheffield a fortnight ago.

In his place, Lions have booked Tigers skipper Kyle Howarth to guest on Saturday, and they will operate rider-replacement at Arlington.

Boss Stewart Dickson said: “Ryan came back too soon last Sunday, and of course he had another small crash in his first ride and he had ice on his shoulder the whole time.

“I know he carried on but I don’t think he was doing himself any good, and when we spoke on Monday he was still sore and still getting physio. He said he needed a rest to let it heal properly, which I do feel is the sensible decision.

“We don’t have a meeting the following weekend so the plan will be to try to get him a practice after the Cubs match on the 12th, and that would line him up for a return.

“There’s no doubt we will miss his scoring power this weekend, he’s already put his average up for us, but we’ve got a very able replacement in Kyle as we get the extra five per cent added to Ryan’s average for home meetings.”

Meanwhile a change of averages for May results in Connor Mountain moving into the top five and Ellis Perks, unbeaten in his four programmed rides last week against Newcastle, faces one of his former clubs from the reserve berth.

Perks said: “We want to do the business and get a win, home and away, like we did against Sheffield – that would be great.

“Everyone is doing their job. We’ve all upped our average, which is fantastic, and we’ve had some superb team performances.”

Eastbourne are led by a powerful and experienced heat-leader trio including former British No.2 Edward Kennett, whilst the two riders who contested a thrilling NLRC run-off at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena last September – Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell – are also included, along with fast-rising teenage star Tom Brennan.

LEICESTER: Scott Nicholls, Connor Mountain, Josh Bates, Kyle Howarth, Richie Worrall, Jack Thomas, Ellis Perks.
EASTBOURNE: Edward Kennett, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Georgie Wood, Tom Brennan.




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