BIRMINGHAM 35 LIONS 55

Wednesday August 21, 2019
LEICESTER turned on the style with an emphatic 55-35 win at Birmingham to go seven points clear at the top of the Championship.

The Watling JCB Lions recorded the biggest away victory anywhere in the league this season, and their hopes of edging out Glasgow for top spot ahead of the play-offs are still very much alive.

Skipper Scott Nicholls thrilled the crowd with a spectacular display of track craft at Perry Barr as the Lions’ top four enjoyed a field day.

Steve Worrall proved a perfect stand-in for brother Richie with four wins; Ryan Douglas took the flag three times, and the re-united combination of Nicholls and Ellis Perks reaped huge dividends – whilst reserves Connor Mountain and Joe Lawlor both got stuck in for paid-10 between them.

The large contingent of travelling fans saw their side get off to a good start with Worrall defeating home No.1 Adam Ellis in Heat 1, and Lawlor summed up the determination in the camp by snatching third place from Connor Coles at the end of Heat 2.

Nicholls and Perks produced a wheel-perfect 5-1 in Heat 3 to put their side six-up and although Jason Garrity managed to split Douglas and Mountain in the next having come from the 15-metre handicap, the visitors were still in control.

Birmingham never got back closer than six points, even when using a tactical substitute in Heat 7 when Nicholls superbly switched inside Ellis for victory whilst Perks pegged Garrity at the back.

Douglas survived a nervous moment on turn one to record the first of back-to-back wins in Heat 8, and another super Nicholls/Perks 5-1 over Ellis in the tenth put the Lions 14 points to the good.

Nicholls saw his unbeaten run ended by Tero Aarnio’s fine ride to hold him off in Heat 12, but it was the Lions who finished the strongest despite Garrity getting the better of Douglas for second place in a fiercely competitive Heat 13.

Perks wrapped up a quality display by overcoming Paco Castagna to win Heat 14, and Nicholls delighted the away crowd again with another great move to come from the back and complete a final 5-1 with the fast-gating Worrall.

Said Nicholls: “You can’t under-estimate anyone and Birmingham have certainly got some riders who pop out and cause a surprise.

“We came here going for maximum points, but we certainly didn’t take it for granted and all the boys dug in for us to get a convincing win, and the four points are important for us.

“It’s a shame Ty (Proctor) wasn’t here, but the boys covered that successfully. I know Birmingham had some misfortune with last-minute changes to their team but that’s the way speedway goes, we took advantage and we all did well.

“It would be nice to finish top – it’s not the be-all and end-all, but it’s all about racking up the points and making the play-offs which we’re confident we’ll do, and then it’s a fresh slate.”

Lions return home on Saturday to face Somerset, and a win will also mathematically confirm their play-off place.

BIRMINGHAM 35: Tero Aarnio 8+1, Adam Ellis 8, Paco Castagna 8, Nick Agertoft 6, Jason Garrity 5+1, Connor Coles 0, James Shanes R/R.
LEICESTER 55: Scott Nicholls 12+2, Steve Worrall 12, Ellis Perks 11+1, Ryan Douglas 11+1, Connor Mountain 5, Joe Lawlor 4+1, Ty Proctor R/R.



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