Speedway Report: Sheffield Tigers 53 Edinburgh Monarchs 37 - Tigers ease to a right royal win over Monarchs

Josh Grajczonek (red) and Todd Kurtz (blue)leadSam Masters and Mark Riss Ht 1
Josh Grajczonek (red) and Todd Kurtz (blue)leadSam Masters and Mark Riss Ht 1

Sheffield answered club bosses calls to progress in the Knockout Cup after beating Edinburgh 53-37 at Owlerton last night.

Tigers wrapped up the tie with a race to spare as they secured a 96-84 victory on aggregate ahead of tonight’s Championship clash in Scotland.

Mitchell Davey  leads Jack Parkinson -Blackburn and Ricky Wells Ht 4

Mitchell Davey leads Jack Parkinson -Blackburn and Ricky Wells Ht 4

In the build-up, team manager Simon Stead and promoter Damien Bates felt the opening half of the cup meeting would be crucial - and so it proved.

The Tigers raced to four maximum heat advantages in the first eight races to open up a 14-point lead on the night and give themselves a bit of breathing space.

Josh Grajczonek continued his hot form by winning four of his five rides, including heat one where he also dealt with Monarchs captain Sam Masters on the opening bend to allow team-mate Todd Kurtz up the inside as the Tigers drew level on aggregate.

A determined first turn from Lasse Bjerre saw him shove Erik Riss wide in the third while Josh Bates squeezed around the outside at the same time as they moved two in front overall.

Lasse Bjerre leads Mark Riss andJosh Bates ht 5

Lasse Bjerre leads Mark Riss andJosh Bates ht 5

But the biggest rides of the night came when reserve Rob Branford pulled off back-to-back race wins in heat seven and eight - and his team-mates followed him home to stamp their authority on the meeting.

Branford flew around the outside in the seventh while Howarth eventually finished ahead of Erik Riss after a terrific tussle with the German.

While the visitors fought back with a couple of heat advantages, the Tigers survived a late scare and another fast start from Branford away from the inside saw him race to his third win of the night to put the meeting beyond any doubt.

The Tigers head to Edinburgh in the Championship tonight before facing Newcastle on Sunday.

Max Clegg leads Rob Branford Ht 2

Max Clegg leads Rob Branford Ht 2

SHEFFIELD 53: Josh Grajczonek 14, Rob Branford 11, Lasse Bjerre 11, Kyle Howarth 7+1, Todd Kurtz 5+2, Josh Bates 5+1, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 0.

EDINBURGH 37: Sam Masters 11, Ricky Wells 7+1, Erik Riss 5+1, Max Clegg 4+1, Mitchell Davey 4, Josh Pickering 4, Mark Riss 2.