Neil Machin’s last home meeting as the owner of Sheffield Speedway ended with a narrow 42-36 defeat to Scunthorpe.
The two sides are contesting the Retro Cup, with the first-leg taking place at Owlerton last night in what is likely to be Machin’s last at the helm.
The normal 15 heat format was changed to 13, with the riders then battling it out for the Rider of the Night trophy as speedway returns to its traditional format for just two matches.
It was Machin’s 649th as owner of Sheffield but unfortunately he didn’t get the sending off he wanted as league champions Scunthorpe rallied late on to spoil the party.
The Tigers were leading for most of the meeting and it looked as if they might sign out of their 2013 home campaign with an impressive win, but the visitors just pipped them.
After 11 races Sheffield were two points ahead, thanks to excellent work from Ricky Wells and Andre Compton in particular, but the Scorpions grabbed two heat advantages in the last two races to steal a six-point win.
Machin isn’t the only man likely to be saying his goodbyes as it appears Wells will be leaving the Tigers at the end of the season too and he finished in the same impressive way he has ridden all season with four straight wins before running a last.
Compton produced a battling display and notched 11 points from his five races.
Machin has overseen 21 years at Owlerton and deserves huge praise for establishing the city side as one of the best-run, most reliable and stable clubs in the country and he will have two more matches in charge; the Ricky Ashworth Benefit meeting against Berwick tomorrow night and then the return leg of the Retro Cup on Sunday.
*Sheffield: (Wells 12, Compton 11, Doolan (G) 6, Albin 5+1, Maassen 1, Koppe 1, Roynon RR.)