Oxford Chargers were held to a tense draw in the National Development League at Oxford Stadium on Wednesday night against table topping Leicester Lion Cubs.
Led by guest Ben Morley – who registered a full 15-point maximum – the Lion Cubs snatched a draw in a dramatic last-heat decider by confirming a 4-2 over home pair Jordan Jenkins and Henry Atkins.
The meeting was closely contested with neither side able to establish a lead greater than six points at any moment.
Jason Crump’s Chargers looked to be on course to deny Cubs any points when a timely 5-1 in Heat 10 put the hosts 33-27 ahead with five races remaining.
But four 4-2s in favour of Leicester restricted Chargers to a draw – a result which lifted Oxford’s newest professional sports team into the play-off frame.
Henry Atkins, who made his home debut for Chargers, said: “It went really well. It was a challenge getting the right set-ups for the track, having not raced around here before, while the rain beforehand changed a few things.
“We made a change to the bike during the meeting and it worked well. I’m happy with paid nine on my home debut, and I also got used to team-riding with a couple of the boys.”
Chargers resume their National League campaign away to Kent on Sunday afternoon. Tapes-up are at midday.
Chargers: Jordan Jenkins 10, Henry Atkins 8+1, Sam Hagon 7+1, Jody Scott 5+1, Nathan Stoneman 6, Arran Butcher 5+1, Jacob Clouting 4.
Cubs: Ben Morley 15, Mickie Simpson 1, Connor Coles 8, Tom Spencer 2, Joe Thompson 9+1, Vinnie Foord 0, Max Perry 10.
CHEETHAS EDGED OUT IN LAST-HEAT DECIDER
Oxford Cheetahs meanwhile were beaten 46-44 at Perry Barr Stadium in the Championship Jubilee League by Birmingham Brummies.
The Brummies never led the meeting until Heat 14 when an unlikely 5-1 courtesy of Alfie Bowtell and Ashley Morris put the hosts 43-41 ahead with one heat remaining.
Requiring a 5-1 to win on the night, Monarch Cheetahs pair Troy Batchelor and Scott Nicholls could only manage a 3-3. It means the Monarch Cheetahs sit second in the Jubilee League South table with two fixtures raced.
Cheetahs return to action next week with a double header against Plymouth in the Jubilee League. They race at the Plymouth Coliseum on Tuesday night before returning to Oxford Stadium 24 hours later.
Birmingham: Josh Pickering 14+1, Stefan Nielsen 4, Tom Brennan 11+1, Ashley Morris 3+1, Justin Sedgmen 6, Alfie Bowtell 8, James Pearson 0.
Oxford: Scott Nicholls 9+1, Jack Thomas 4, Aaron Summer 6+2, Troy Batchelor 12, Cameron Heeps 7+1, Dillon Ruml 6+3.