Saturday March 26, 2022
BIRMINGHAM’S new era opened with a 64-26 KO Cup defeat to Leicester on a tough night at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.

The Curtis Sport Brummies, who will bring British Champion Adam Ellis into their side next week, were limited to one race win from skipper Ashley Morris as the home heat-leaders dominated.

Richie Worrall, Kyle Howarth and Nick Morris were all unbeaten for the Lions, and reserve Joe Thompson also notched a paid maximum as they took full control of the tie.

For the Brummies, Morris gave a strong display with three second places, including leading his namesake in the early stages of Heat 10 before the Leicester No.1 surged past, and his win in Heat 14 was well deserved before he slipped off on the first bend of Heat 15.

Claus Vissing, back in British racing at No.1, was the other visiting rider in the major points, although as with his colleagues he was unbale to get on terms with the home side’s top three – with Leicester’s extensive practice on their own circuit the previous evening clearly paying dividends.

Whilst there was a troublesome debut for Stefan Nielsen, who broke the tapes in his first race, there were good signs from Australian youngster James Pearson in his opening UK appearance.

Pearson neatly rounded Anders Rowe on the back straight of Heat 2 to move into second place, with Rowe falling as he found himself squeezed on the third bend.

And Pearson was so close to adding another second place in Heat 8 as he held back the challenge of Connor Mountain for three laps before unluckily coming to grief on turn two.

Three 5-1s in the final four races took the Lions through the 60-point barrier and it is already clear that they will again be a major force around the East Midlands venue.

The Brummies, meanwhile, can look forward to the arrival of Ellis, which will also have the effect of moving Nielsen back down to reserve and give them a far more suitable configuration.

Manager Laurence Rogers said: “We battled away, Ash had a good meeting and Claus got better as it went on, but it was always going to be tough coming here without Adam.

“I felt James had a good debut, the potential is very much there, and he was very unlucky in the one race with Connor Mountain because they came together going down the straight, and that led to him going into the fence.

“It looked like confidence was a bit low with Stefan, and the same with Shanesie (James Shanes), but it will come.

“We’d like to thank the fans for coming, we took the lads over to them at the end which I think they appreciated. There are no heads dropping, and we’ll bounce back.”

Next up for the Brummies are two challenge matches, with the majority of their side on track at Wolverhampton on Monday, followed by the big Perry Barr opener against a Coventry Select on Wednesday.

LEICESTER 64: Richie Worrall 15, Kyle Howarth 14+1, Nick Morris 11+1, Joe Thompson 10+2, Connor Mountain 6+2, Dan Thompson 5+2, Anders Rowe 3.
BIRMINGHAM 26: Ashley Morris 9, Claus Vissing 8, Josh Auty 3, James Shanes 2+1, James Pearson 2, Ben Morley 1+1, Stefan Nielsen 1.

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