Sheffield Tigers team boss Simon Stead admitted he had found Jack Parkinson-Blackburn’s decision to take a break from Championship commitments “very frustrating”.
The 16-year-old Sheffield reserve told promoter Damien Bates he no longer wished to ride in the second tier following a scoreless return in the 53-37 Knockout Cup win over Edinburgh nine days ago.
It left the Tigers with a race against the clock to draft in a temporary stand-in for trips to the Monarchs and Newcastle last weekend, fixtures they gained creditable Championship points from.
Parkinson-Blackburn has since been prevented from racing for National League Birmingham for a period of 14 days, less than the usual 28 days riders face on the sidelines for withholding services, with Stead finding the whole situation hard to stomach.
“I was more disappointed personally when Jack decided to step back because we had been out there trying to help after his last meeting,” said Stead.
“He had been struggling so Kyle (Howarth) and Rob (Branford) had ridden his bikes to try to find the right set-up. We had a chat, I asked Jack whether he felt better about things and he made all the right noises, saying he felt a lot better.
“After that, he told Damien he didn’t want to ride any more. It was very frustrating.
“I don’t know whether he expected it to be easier than it was. This is a tough league, it takes hard work and determination but he is taking a step back so we’ll support that decision and wish him all the best.
“We are now exploring our options and the club will have a decision to make shortly.”
Nathan Stoneman guests for an otherwise full-strength Sheffield side that travels to Scunthorpe tomorrow (5.30).
Having won 50-40 there last month, Stead has been pleased with the Tigers’ efforts on the road since.
“I found our last win at Scunthorpe hugely boosted the boys, our away performances have improved massively since,” he added.
The Scorpions have Nathan Greaves riding at number seven in place of Josh Bailey.
SCUNTHORPE: Michael Palm Toft, Carl Wilkinson, Lewis Kerr, Ryan Douglas, Josh Auty, Tero Aarnio, Nathan Greaves.
SHEFFIELD: Josh Grajczonek, Todd Kurtz, Lasse Bjerre, Josh Bates, Kyle Howarth, Robert Branford, Nathan Stoneman