Sheffield Tigers 45 Rye House 45
TIGERS’ hopes of reaching the Premier League Challenge Cup Final are in tatters after they were held to a dramatic draw by Rye House at Owlerton last night.
Only a last race burst from Richard Hall spared Sheffield’s blushes, as he powered past Rye’s Anders Mellgren and Richard Lawson with one lap to go - but partner Ricky Wells was unable to break through and his last place meant Tigers could only claim a point and remain without a win in their group.
Tigers had battled back with successive 4-2s in heats nine and ten as Joe Haines and Hall won races to narrow the gap to just two points and they were then gifted a 3-3 drawn heat 11 after Jason Garrity unluckily fell while being challenged by Wells.
It was the second point Garrity had dropped, his engine having ground to a halt on the last turn while third in heat seven, allowing Chris Schramm to sneak past on the line and take what proved to be a crucial point.
Rockets, in their best-ever performance in South Yorkshire, nosed 38-34 ahead as former Tiger Simon Lambert won his second race, en route to a superb paid 15 points from reserve.
Sheffield then slammed in their second 5-1 of the night as back-from-injury Josef Franc followed Wells to the flag.
After firefighting for so long, it looked as though they would turn on the afterburners in the last two heats - but Rye had other ideas and managed to square both to effectively kill off Sheffield qualification hopes.
TIGERS: Hall 12+1, Wells 11, Haines 9, Franc 6+1, Schramm 4+1, Skidmore 3.