With the addition of Lee and Matt Smith the Wolves looked like solid opposition both on paper and in practice on the track. The visitors took an early lead in heat two after Marchant fell and failed to complete the race, miscounting how many laps he had done. The next was shared but the Monarchs were dealt a body blow as heat leader Carl Jarvis suffered a re-occurrence of a back injury and was ineffective for the rest of the match.
No side could gain any real advantage for the remainder of the first half and the visitors took a slender one point advantage into their changing room. Heat eleven saw the deadlock broken though with a fine 7-3 from Doughty and Marchant after the younger Smith spun on the third bend. However he made up for his error in heat fourteen by teaming up with tactical reserve Bentley to notch their own maximum over a hard pressing Hartshorn.
The trend continued in the next, Mark Whitehead and Marchant taking a 7-3 and the Monarchs were six points up. Ryan Hoyland completed a splendid maximum in the penultimate heat leaving the home team just needing to complete the last heat to take the spoils by two points – which they did. But the drama wasn’t over, referee Doughty had heard comments from a Leicester rider which resulted in him receiving a yellow card, and the team an automatic four point penalty, thereby handing East Park the victory.
The Smith boys, Ball and Draisey were all good value for East Park, the Monarchs just couldn’t find enough heat winners – only seven in total of which Hoyland had five to his name.
However his team mates had done well to get their noses in front considering the earlier injury, Kev Burns, as is so often the case, putting in some fine team riding. The reserves Whitehead and Hartshorn did all that could be expected of them, but the determination of the Wolves and ultimately the four point deduction meant that it was all in vain.
Leicester 90 (Ryan Hoyland 20, Kev Burns 12+3, Nick whitehead 12+1, Craig Marchant 12+2, Ash Doughty 10+1, Carl Jarvis 9+1, Mark Whitehead 9, Matt Hartshorn 8)
East Park 88 (Jamie Ball 17, Matt Smith 15+1, Lee Smith 14+1, Luke Draisey 14+1, Stu Bentley 11, Jamie Whetton 8+1, Wil Cartwright 7, Brandon Whetton 2)
The combination was even more exciting! Nip and tuck all the way, entering the final heat East Park held a two point advantage. Tracking the unbeaten Jamie Whetton and Wil Cartwright, who had himself won three out of four starts, they must have felt confident of holding onto their two point lead. Step up Lauren Davies – the fifteen year old shot from the gate and never looked troubled, her brother Liam getting the better of Cartwright to take a 6-4 and draw the match, a fair result acknowledged by both management teams.
Leicester Monarchs 65 (Lauren Davies 19, Liam Davies 14, Liam Wood 10+3, Lee Kemp 9, Billy Rewcastle 8+2, Chloe Whitehead 5)
East Park 65 (Wil Cartwright 16, Jamie Whetton 14+1, Brandon Whetton 13, John Whetton 6, Kay Whetton 5+2, Josh Hill 4+1, Josh Whetton 4)
The third match was all East Park, but Leicester never gave up, with six of their riders having only started a matter of weeks ago it was always going to be a struggle but they battled hard all the way.
No one could match the visiting duo of Josh Hill and Matt Cartwright and the Wolves provided all the heat winners, but several from the back efforts from the Lions female contingent could be a sign of a bright future for the Slater St newcomers.
Leicester Lions 54 (Sarah Olsen 11+1, Abi Duckham 11+1, Mia Duckham 10+1, Luke Whitehead 9+1, Joel Duckham 5, Alfie Cherry 3, Honey Whitehead 3, George Olsen 2)
East Park 76 (Josh Hill 16, Matt Cartwright 16, John Whetton 15, Liam Cartwright 10, Josh Whetton 9+1, Tommy Hampson 6, Gemma Cartwright 4)