Sppedway: Sheffield Tigers draw comfort but still suffer Knockout

Thomas Jorgensen rears leading Josh Bates and Ty Proctor in Heat four of Sheffield Tigers v Berwick at Owlerton
Thomas Jorgensen rears leading Josh Bates and Ty Proctor in Heat four of Sheffield Tigers v Berwick at Owlerton

Sheffield showed plenty of character to end their losing run as they snatched a dramatic 45-45 draw against Berwick in a cagey Knockout Cup clash at Owlerton.

Trailing by 18 points following the first leg, the Tigers entered the tie with high hopes of overhauling the deficit to advance to the next round of the competition.

Simon Stead

Simon Stead

Instead they were left fighting to prevent their sixth straight defeat before eventually had to settling for a draw, a result which ended their losing run despite knocking them out of the Cup.

Their night got off to the worst possible start as the Bandits raced to a comfortable maximum in the opening race.

Tigers had conceded a further two heat advantages to leave themselves trailing by eight by the time Simon Stead provided their first race win in heat five, and it was not until Leigh Lanham and Andre Compton combined in heat nine that they again tasted victory.

However, that 5-1 from the middle order pairing pulled Sheffield within two and back into contention to set up a tense finale.

David Bellego leads Leigh Lanham, Andre Compton and Steen Jensen in Heat 3

David Bellego leads Leigh Lanham, Andre Compton and Steen Jensen in Heat 3

Ty Proctor fended off Thomas Jorgensen in an excellent battle to win a stunning heat eleven – but with his partner Simon Nielsen left at the back his side still found themselves behind.

With pressure building, the hosts were dealt a slice of luck as Berwick reserve Jorgensen was struck by a puncture whilst leading heat twelve – and Lanham duly pounced to lead home a 4-2 which brought Sheffield level for the first time.

As rain began to fall, reserve Nielsen fought into second place to prevent what would have been a disastrous Berwick 5-1 in heat 14.

Skipper Stead stepped up when it mattered after previously experiencing a difficult night to lead a 4-2 whilst partner Proctor got the better of Kevin Doolan in spectacular battle for third to ensure they snatched a draw.

It was a hugely frustrating evening for Joe Screen’s men – yet they showed plenty of heart to avoid defeat having trailed for the entire meeting.

Knockout Cup, second leg

Sheffield 45: Simon Stead 11, Leigh Lanham 9+1, Ty Proctor 8, Simon Nielsen 5+1, Taylor Poole 4+2, Josh Bates 4+1, Andre Compton 4+1

Berwick 45: David Bellego 17, Thomas Jorgensen 13, Claus Vissing 8+2, Kevin Doolan 5+1, Steen Jensen 2, Liam Carr 0, Matthew Wethers r/r