Lions maintain their unbeaten home record
Leicester Lions maintained their unbeaten home record at the weekend – but it was all in vain after a defeat the previous night.
The Friday defeat in the play-offs to Somerset Rebels by 54-39 meant the Lions could not qualify for the Grand Final.
The Elliott-sponsored Lions put up a valiant performance at Somerset and came close to gaining a bonus match point only to concede defeat in the penultimate heat.
That bonus point would have put them in the driving seat for the return fixture on Saturday.
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The scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the meeting.
The Lions then signed off their season on a high with a 48-42 win against Somerset at Beaumont Park on Saturday.
The win preserved an unbeaten home record in the Premier League.
But it will be Somerset in the play-off final later this month.
Lions co-promoter Alan Jones said: "To win by six points against a full strength Somerset team was a commendable performance.
"To end on a winning note has capped what has been an unforgettable second season.
"We were so close to gaining a match point at Somerset. I can tell you, we had them worried.
"It is not easy to cover for a missing rider and I cannot fault the efforts of the team and perhaps had Lasse Bjerre been available we may now be talking about making arrangements for the Grand Final."
Leicester went into the meetings without Bjerre, who the week before was in stunning form having gained five race wins against Newcastle, because of commitments in the Czech Republic.
They covered for his absence by the use of the rider replacement facility.
By heat six on Saturday, the meeting was all square, but the tide looked to be turning the Lions' way.
Heat eight saw Leicester four points clear when Jan Graversen was a comfortable winner.
Heats nine and 11 ended with equal points to each team and, in between, Somerset gained a points advantage which reduced Leicester's lead to a mere two points.
A good result in heat 12 was critical. Eklof made sure with a determined first corner that took him into the lead and his first win of the night.
Victory was sealed in the penultimate heat when Graversen and Jari Makinen gained four points, which put the meeting out of Somerset's reach.
Saturday night scorers:
Leicester 48: Kauko Nieminen 6 plus 1 bonus point, Lasse Bjerre (rider replacement), Linus Eklof 7+2, Jan Graversen 13+1, Magnus Karlsson 14+1, Jari Mäkinen 6+1 and Lewis Kerr 2
Somerset 42; Jason Doyle 12 points, Alex Davies 0, Jesper B Monberg 6, James wright 6, Claus Vissing 7, Kyle Newman 6+1 and Tom Perry 5+1
Friday night scorers:
Somerset 54: Jason Doyle 13 points, Alex Davies 9+2, Jesper B Monberg 9+1, James Wright 7+1, Claus Vissing 7, Kyle Newman 5+1 and Tom Perry 4+2
Leicester 39: Kauko Nieminen 12+1 points, Linus Eklof 7+1, Jan Graversen 5+1, Magnus Karlsson 11, Jari Mäkinen 0 and Lewis Kerr 4