Report: Edinburgh Monarchs 47 Sheffield Tigers 43

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Sheffield’s Knockout Cup tie with Edinburgh is hanging in the balance after they let a big lead slip in the first leg at Armadale on Friday.

The tenacious Tigers roared into an early lead and looked set to condemn the Monarchs to their first defeat of the season.

But the home side came biting back to prevail 47-43, striking three 5-1s between heats eight and 12 to overturn a 10-point deficit before edging a tense finale.

It was nonetheless a positive result for Simon Stead’s patched-up side, who headed to the Scottish capital without key duo Josh Gracjzonek and Lasse Bjerre.

Yet they will no doubt be left wondering what could have been after failing to see out victory after leading for the majority of the meeting.

Skipper Kyle Howarth stepped up with a breathtaking display to lead the Tigers in the absence of No.1 Grajczonek.

The battling Brit continued his stunning start to the current campaign with a classy 14 point haul featuring four race wins.

After falling behind, he brilliantly blasted clear in heat 13 to pull them back onto level terms before guest Richard Lawson delivered a timely triumph in the final race to leave them well-placed ahead of the second leg.

Lawson proved solid as he stepped into the No.1 spot against a powerhouse Edinburgh side, partnering Josh Bates for a 5-1 in heat five as they raced 10 clear.

Bates had already played his part in their explosive start by taking the chequered flag with ease in heat three, and along with Howarth and Lawson the top three scorers ran just one last place.

Reserve Robert Branford was in the thick of the action throughout, winning heat two and pushing himself to the limit in an attempt to split the Riss brothers, Mark and Erik, when they levelled the scores in heat 12.

Young gun Jack Parkinson-Blackburn demonstrated plenty of maturity to add two vital points early on, but middle order man Todd Kurtz experienced a tough evening as they fell just short of a win against the odds.

With Owlerton hosting the British Semi-Final next Thursday (7.30), the Tigers will now have a short break before resuming their SGB Championship campaign at home against Redcar the following week.

EDINBURGH 47: Sam Masters 11, Ricky Wells 10+1, Mark Riss 9+4, Erik Riss 8, Josh Pickering 5+1, Max Clegg 2+1, Mitchell Davey 2.

SHEFFIELD 43: Kyle Howarth 14, Richard Lawson 11, Josh Bates 8+3, Rob Branford 4+1, Todd Kurtz 4, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 2, Lasse Bjerre r/r.