OXFORD Chargers lost their first meeting of the season with a 47-41 National Development League defeat at leaders Leicester Lion Cubs.

Both sides went into the clash with a 100 per cent record in the top of the table encounter, and Chargers did well to keep it so close, despite losing both reserves, Senna Summers and Sam Woods, through wrist injuries.

Woods crashed out in Heat 6 and Summers in Heat 9, with Chargers only having one representative in Heats 12 and 14.

Skipper Luke Killeen scored 14 points for Chargers, including two very impressive wins over Leicester skipper Joe Thompson in Heats 6 and 15, with Thompson in turn stopping Killeen’s maximum in Heat 13.

Jody Scott was also very impressive for Chargers and only dropped points to Thompson on his way to a 10+1 scoreline. With Jason Garrad sustaining injuries while riding for Berwick Bandits on Saturday, Connor Coles came in to guest for Chargers and picked up nine points.

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During an eventful afternoon’s racing, Lion Cubs moved 12-6 ahead, but Chargers pegged them back and were just two points behind after seven races.

A lengthy track grade between Heats 7 and 8 did the circuit few favours and there were only two finishers in both Heats 8 and 9.

A bizarre Heat 8 saw both Chargers, Jacob Clouting and Summers, fall in separate incidents. Both Lion Cubs, Sonny Springer and Vinnie Foord slowed to a standstill, expecting a stoppage, but both Chargers were off the track.

The announcer told the Leicester riders to start racing again, which the rule book seems to forbid, while Leicester took a 5-0 in a race over eight seconds slower than Heat 7.

Team manager Peter Schroeck said: “The boys got stuck in and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.

“We even lost a 5-0, so to only lose by six points was some achievement. We lost some points in other races too, while losing both reserves meant we were very restricted in what we could do. When you consider everything that happened, we did so well to keep the gap to six points.

“The track had a bit too much water on it after the track grade and it took just a few races to settle back down. But it’s always tough to run daytime meetings, especially when the sun comes out, like it did today.

“It was a hot and difficult day, but overall we can drive away with our heads up high and we’ve definitely got a chance of the aggregate point when Leicester come back to our place in August.”