Sheffield’s comeback efforts were in vain as struggling Rye House collected their first Premier League away win of the season in a last-heat decider at Owlerton, 48-44.
Without four of their regular riders, Tigers made a dreadful start and were 10 points down after only four heats. Their fightback was a stirring one, headlined by a return to form from recent signing Adam Roynon who is clearly gaining in race-sharpness, but the Rockets’ Australian Tyson Nelson had enough to see his side through.
With Joe Haines (shoulder) added to the casualty list, Tigers legend Andre Compton took a guest booking and immediately showed he still knows the way around his old home track by winning Heat 1.
But falls for both James Sarjeant and Roynon when well-placed in Heats 2 and 4, and mechanical trouble for Richard Hall prior to Heat 3, enabled the Rockets to fire into a 17-7 advantage. An early tactical ride from Compton was neutralised by Jason Bunyan in Heat 5, and that meant Tigers had to wait until the ninth race for the fightback to really ignite, as Roynon partnered Hall to maximum points.
But when a strong visiting pairing of Bunyan and Josh Grajczonek notched a 4-2 in Heat 11, split by Roynon, the size of Sheffield’s task increased as they were six-down with four heats to go. Two Tigers 4-2s followed with Hall, Facundo Albin and Roynon all taking places from the back as Richard Lawson made it three wins on the bounce - but Nelson’s Heat 14 success kept the Rockets two points ahead.
Nelson again dashed Tigers’ hopes in Heat 15, heading home Roynon/
SHEFFIELD 44: Adam Roynon 11, Richard Lawson 9, Facundo Albin 9, Andre Compton 8, Richard Hall 6+2, James Sarjeant 1, Ricky Wells r/r.
RYE HOUSE 48: Tyson Nelson 12+1, Jason Bunyan 9+1, Anders Mellgren 8+2, Ben Hopwood 6, Josh Grajczonek 5+1, Pontus Aspgren 5+1, Kasper Lykke 3.