Friday May 21, 2021
LEICESTER will be up against some familiar faces when they finally launch their Championship title defence at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Saturday (7pm).

The Watling JCB Lions host Edinburgh exactly 19 months since they sensationally clinched the league silverware at Glasgow at the end of a memorable 2019 campaign.

And the enforced season out of racing has left riders, officials and supporters even more determined to enjoy further success upon the resumption.

Boss Stewart Dickson acted quickly to build the team originally intended for 2020, which takes to the track on Saturday with just one change as Josh Bates returns to the club after injury.

Ryan Douglas and Ty Proctor are back from the title-winning side, whilst Nick Morris and new skipper Kyle Howarth make their debuts – and it will be a proud moment for 17-year-old local twins Dan and Joe Thompson who step up to race in the professional league for the first time.

The Monarchs, who gave the Lions one of their toughest home tests in 2019, track a powerful top three including Richie Worrall, who did a sterling job for Leicester in the first half of the season before breaking his ankle in a crash at Poole.

And at reserve they track Roger Webster Lion Cubs captain Joe Lawlor in their Rising Star berth, which should make for some intriguing clashes with the Thompsons.

Dickson said: “I feel this could be a very difficult opening fixture. We know how good Sam Masters is around here, and I’d say he was one of the top three visitors in 2019, when he scored a maximum.

“Richie of course knows the place very well and Josh Pickering is a rider who’s only going to get better.

“That makes it an exciting fixture and an immediate test for our own top boys, the likes of Nick and Dougy, because they need to be beating Sam at least once if they want to be classed up there as that sort of level of rider.

“I’m delighted to welcome everyone back, and our aim once again is to finish top. I feel we’ve got a good enough team to do so, but things can change very quickly so we won’t get carried away just yet!”

Tickets for the meeting remain available and must be purchased in advance from .

Supporters are also asked to familiarise themselves with the ‘code of conduct’ information which enables the club to stage meetings during these times of restrictions: .

The new-look programme will be available for £3, including the detailed thoughts of Stewart Dickson and a feature interview with Ryan Douglas.

And a final reminder of the new start-time for Saturday meetings at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena, which is now 7pm.

LEICESTER: Nick Morris, Ty Proctor, Kyle Howarth, Josh Bates, Ryan Douglas, Dan Thompson, Joe Thompson.
EDINBURGH: Sam Masters, Nathan Greaves, Kye Thomson, Josh Pickering, Richie Worrall, Joe Lawlor, William Lawson.

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