Sheffield Tigers reach final but miss out on Championship Fours glory

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Sheffield missed out on Championship Fours glory in a meeting won by hosts Peterborough.

The Tigers were dealt a blow in the build-up to the meeting when Danish star Lasse Bjerre pulled out after aggravating a knee injury whilst riding for Leicester on Saturday.

Yet they were still able to qualify for the final four with replacement Todd Kurtz, pictured, playing his part.

The Owlerton men were involved in an intriguing battle in the Semi-Finals but saw off the competition to qualify as winners of Semi-Final 1.

Their first win of the afternoon came when captain Kyle Howarth made a flying start from the inside and pulled clear to take a comfortable race win and edge them in front for the first time.

Kurtz also made the most of gate one in his first outing as he reacted quickest and took the chequered flag ahead of Scunthorpe racer Josh Auty and British Champion Craig Cook.

The Tigers trailed by two points with two races remaining and seemingly looked to be battling it out with Workington for the final qualification place.

But with hosts Peterborough being the side to sit out of the penultimate race, a second place from Josh Bates was enough to draw them level at the top.

And when Grajczonek dropped the clutch in the final race, his tapes to flag win was enough to see them into the Final.

In the 12-heat Final format, a strong start would always prove crucial. But disaster struck in the very first race, when Grajczonek shed a chain whilst challenging home hero Chris Harris for the lead.

But they were unable to land a blow in the opening half which consequently destroyed any realistic chances of claiming glory.

They had to wait until heat seven to get that first final race win when Howarth produced a great ride to chop in front of Andersen to eventually coast to victory.

With hopes ever fading, their fate was sealed when Kurtz battled hard but had to settle for third as Paul Starke took the chequered flag to wrap up the title for the hosts.

The Tigers return to Championship action on Thursday when they host Workington at Owlerton.

Semi-final result: Sheffield 16, Peterborough 14, Workington 11, Scunthorpe 10, Edinburgh 9. Sheffield scorers: Josh Grajczonek 5, Kyle Howarth 4, Todd Kurtz 4, Josh Bates 3

Final result: Peterborough 28, Redcar, 18, Sheffield 16, Ipswich 10. Sheffield scorers: Kyle Howarth 6, Josh Grajczonek 5, Todd Kurtz 3, Josh Bates 2