ADVANTAGE LEICESTER!

Friday May 28, 2021
RYAN Douglas hailed the steely focus of Leicester's ruthless top end after a commanding 52-38 victory at Scunthorpe in the Championship Knockout Cup quarter-final.

The Watling JCB Lions took a giant stride towards the last four having led from heat one and established a 14-point chasm ahead of next month's home leg thanks to two 5-1s in the final three races.

Douglas played a part in both of those and dropped just one point to an opponent all night – to Thomas Jorgensen in his opener – as Stewart Dickson’s charges made light work of tricky early conditions caused by afternoon rain at the Eddie Wright Raceway.

"It was a bit sloppy to start off with so it was very important to get out of the start,” said Douglas.

"Scunthorpe looked pretty strong early on but we got stronger as the meeting went on, we settled down and got the set up and it was pretty comfortable in the end.

"A couple of their boys had a tough night but it doesn't matter to us, we're here to concentrate on our own game. You can't worry about anyone else too much and the boys stayed focused.

"Kyle (Howarth) had an awesome meeting and Nick (Morris) was pretty solid. If us three can put in some pretty big scores when we go to places then we're going to be really competitive."

Ty Proctor led a 4-2 from the gate in the opener with Joe and Dan Thompson packing the minor places behind Josh MacDonald in a shared reserve heat.

Kyle Howarth, Leicester’s top scorer with 14, doubled the lead by heading a 4-2 in which he just about saw off Theo Pijper's courageous dash to the line from the last bend.

Douglas got caught out from the tapes in the fourth but at least reeled in Jordan Palin to limit the damage while Nick Morris’s charge round the outside sealed a shared fifth.

Douglas and impressive reserve Dan Thompson charged to an unchallenged maximum in the sixth and while Jorgensen’s second win of the night chipped away at the Lions lead, Scunthorpe’s fightback was stifled when Simon Lambert mistakenly pulled up having thought he had seen a red light having gated on a 5-1 in heat eight.

Dan Thompson passed Tero Aarnio to support Douglas’s second win with a third place in the ninth and Howarth’s brace of victories in heats 10 and 12 helped open up an eight-point cushion.

Douglas forced past the previously unbeaten Jorgensen in the 13th with Morris then diving up the inside on turn two to seal victory in style.

And while Aarnio finally got on the scoreboard in the 14th, Howarth and Douglas proved unstoppable from the traps to set Scunthorpe the most daunting of tasks in the return fixture.

SCUNTHORPE 38: Thomas Jorgensen 11, Theo Pijper 8, Josh MacDonald 6+1, Jordan Palin 5+1, Simon Lambert 5, Tero Aarnio 3, Josh Auty 0.

LEICESTER 52: Kyle Howarth 14, Ryan Douglas 13+1, Nick Morris 8+1, Ty Proctor 6+1, Dan Thompson 5+2, Joe Thompson 3+1, Josh Bates 3.

Picture: IAN RISPIN



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