LION CUBS 54 BELLE VUE 36

Saturday October 23, 2021
LEICESTER’S youngsters rounded off the season in style with an impressive 54-36 victory over Belle Vue at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

The Roger Webster Lion Cubs put on a terrific all-round team performance in their final National Development League fixture of 2021 and ran up their best score of the year on their own circuit.

There was no stopping skipper Joe Thompson or twin brother Dan who both raced to classy maximums – with Dan setting a new NDL track record in Heat 10 - and the less experienced members of the side were all involved in some fine racing.

The Colts were unlucky to lose reserve Paul Bowen as he suffered a hand injury in a first-bend incident in Heat 2, which meant colleague Sam Woolley had a busy night with a seven-ride schedule.

Cubs reserves Mickie Simpson and Kai Ward raced to a 5-1 in the re-run of that heat, and the home side collected several 4-2s in the early stages to open their advantage.

Race of the night was Heat 7 when Joe Thompson produced a brilliant ride to get the better of Colts star Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, switching inside his opponent off the final turn to just beat him to the line.

There was drama for third place as well as Ward overhauled Sam McGurk before falling – and then remarkably regained third place on the last bend as McGurk appeared to ease off too soon.

Another solid display from Tom Spencer in the middle-order saw him take two race wins, including a fine effort to blast around Jack Smith on the first two turns of Heat 9, whilst Ben Trigger pulled off a last-lap pass on McGurk in the next race.

Trigger had been fortunate to escape unscathed in Heat 1 when he hit the fence hard taking avoiding action when Connor Coles fell in front on him, whilst Coles recovered to be involved in both of the Colts’ 5-1s in Heats 5 and 8.

The Cubs led by ten points going into the closing stages but that margin was always likely to be extended with the Thompson twins on track in Heats 13 and 15, and they delighted the crowd with two more 5-1s as a pairing to wrap up the campaign.

Team manager Dave Howard said: “It’s really good to end the season on a high after what’s been a difficult season, and to get a display like that with everyone putting in 100 per cent and fighting for every point.

“The improvement Dan and Joe have shown in the Championship has really shone through in the NDL, and Tom has been solid all season, he’s had a really good year despite the fact that he’s got a back injury at the moment.

“I believe we were the only team to have three first-year riders, and if you look at Ben and Mickie from their first race this year to now they’ve clearly made big improvements, and Kai tonight was fighting for every single point – that was his best performance of the year as well.”

The match completes Leicester’s official season, but there is still one further meeting at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena next Sunday (October 31, 3pm) as the club have stepped in to stage the outstanding Kent v Armadale fixture, with the Royals having run out of available dates at Central Park.

LEICESTER 54: Joe Thompson 16+2, Dan Thompson 15, Tom Spencer 9+1, Mickie Simpson 7, Ben Trigger 4, Kai Ward 3+1, Joe Lawlor r/r.
BELLE VUE 36: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 9, Connor Coles 8+1, Harry McGurk 7+1, Jack Smith 6, Sam Woolley 4+2, Sam McGurk 2, Paul Bowen 0.




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