Sheffield’s title dreams are hanging on a knife-edge after edging a 49-41 win against Glasgow in the first leg of their Premier League Play-Off Semi-Final.
Tigers put in a determined display to overcome injuries to claim a hard-fought Owlerton win. But they will need a huge effort in the second leg at Ashfield if they are to defend their eight-point lead.
Superb performances from stand-in skipper Kyle Howarth and Barnsley bullet Josh Bates led the home side to victory. After cagey opening exchanges, Sheffield made their breakthrough in heat five as Howarth and Bates expertly team rode home for a 5-1 to give them a four point lead. Bates then brilliantly blasted past Richard Lawson to join Ricky Wells at the front in heat nine and give them breathing space in the closing stages.
Guest Josh Auty then roared clear from the gate in heat 10 to extend their lead to eight. With tension mounting, Bates and Howarth won the final two races to protect their advantage.
The pair both bagged double figures, whilst Wells and Auty also stepped in with important scores.
Reserve duo Arthur Sissis and Nathan Greaves also played their part in a true team effort from the outset.
Greaves bravely blasted underneath Danny Ayres to join Sissis at the front for a 5-1 in heat two and settle any early nerves.
They eventually ended with solid scores on a night when every point was vital in what is expected to be a tightly contested encounter over the two legs.
Tigers will head north of the border with experienced ace Stuart Robson and talented Australian Cameron Heeps as guests.
The pair will fill in for Jason Garrity and Dimitri Berge, with rider replacement covering for skipper Simon Stead.
SHEFFIELD 49: Kyle Howarth 14+1, Josh Bates 10+3, Josh Auty 9, Ricky Wells 8, Arthur Sissis 5+1, Nathan Greaves 3+2, Simon Stead R/R.
GLASGOW 41: Richard Lawson 12, Aaron Summers 11+1, Nike Lunna 7, Richie Worrall 4, Rene Bach 3+1, Fernando Garcia 2, Danny Ayres 2.