Sheffield Tigers 54 Newcastle 38
SHEFFIELD Tigers were warned to “improve their attitude” by club bosses this week and they did just that to deny high-fliers Newcastle at Owlerton last night.
Both owner Neil Machin and team boss David Hoggart had expressed their displeasure with some riders’ recent performances earlier in the week, but there was no such problems on a warm Thursday evening in front of a healthy Owlerton crowd.
Early victories for Hugh Skidmore, Chris Schramm, Richard Hall and Joe Haines put the home side in the lead from the off, amassing an eight point margin after four heats.
The visitors refused to slip away though, holding on for a string of 3-3’s (as well as notching a 5-3 from a Mark Lemon tactical ride) until heat 10, where Sheffield notched a vital 4-2 which gave them a comfortable cushion.
A further couple of 3-3’s followed until Ricky Wells and Pepe Franc gated on a 5-1 in race 13, only for the Czech star to have a mechanical failure that forced him to stop on lap three. The Tigers needn’t have worried though as they wrapped up the victory in the very next heat when Richard Hall and the battling Chris Schramm raced to a 4-2, completing one of Sheffield’s finest victories of 2012.
The outstanding Ricky Wells and Richard Hall, who scored 27 of their team’s points between them, rounded off the victory in style with a 5-1 in heat 15 to top a great night.
Team boss David Hoggart was understandably pleased with his side’s reaction; “I really can’t criticise them at all this evening, to a man they performed very well. It was important that they showed an improved attitude and they did just that, it was much better this evening and that’s pleasing.”
TIGERS: Wells 15+2, Hall 12+1, Schramm 7+2, Franc 7, Skidmore 7, Haines 6+1, Rider Replacement.