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Jockeying for position in heat one Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Lion Cubs too strong for the Devils

NEWS Friday 21st October 2022, 11:28pm

by Mike Hunter

There was no happy ending for the Stellar Devils tonight as they went down 36-53 to the table-topping Leicester Lion Cubs in their final match of the season. Any hopes that the Leicester boys were saving themselves for important matches later this weekend were soon dashed, and congratulations to them on a very strong showing.

Defeat consigns the Armadale side to bottom place in the National League. Devils' team manager Alan Budzynski said "I'm extremely disappointed because the boys were very confident they could have done something. Our heat leaders had little backing from the second strings, and most importantly the Leicester boys were much quicker from the tapes.

"Lee Complin was his normal exciting self, never giving up, and I'd specially mention Owen Booth who got a couple of points on his first ever National League appearance."

The track was not surprisingly quite slippery early on and there were early fallers – Tom Spencer in heat 1 and both Danny Phillips and Connor Coles in heat 3. At that stage it seemed as though it might be a long night, but things settled down thereafter and there was some enjoyable racing.

Leicester went ahead in heat 2 with a 5-1 from the very exciting Vinnie Foord and Mickie Simpson, and they never looked like relinquishing control.

Tom Woolley was the first home winner in heat 4 after a clever inside pass on Joe Thompson, but Dan Thompson and Foord again hit back right away with a 5-1.

It was easy to see why Leicester have been so successful this season as they are such a lively young side, and all played their part. There were race wins for all 6 of their riders during the match, and with three 5-1 advantages in the first 7 heats, any realistic hopes for the Devils were dashed by that stage.

Complin managed a couple of race wins during the match, and Danny Phillips added one in heat 9. Josh Embleton has been a home hero at times this season, and when he led down the back straight in heat 6 with Lee Complin pushing past Joe Thompson and Foord, this looked like a fightback from the Devils. However it just took one mistake for Josh to slip to the back and that was that.

Five of the last seven heats were shared but the damage was done by then.

The evening also featured the Monarchs' Academy Championship over 5 heats at the end of the evening, and this was extremely enjoyable with some hard and determined racing by five the youngsters who have been learning to ride during the past year. Instructor David McAllan handed out the trophies to the 1-2-3 which was Lewis Hague (1), Liam Morris (2) and Rocco Webb (3).

The most common phrase heard around the stadium tonight? "Let's hope this is not the last time".