Duo shine as Tigers inflict more misery on league newcomers

Follow the leader: Rider Ricky Ashworth is in imperious form for Sheffield Tigers
Follow the leader: Rider Ricky Ashworth is in imperious form for Sheffield Tigers
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RICKY Ashworth and Shane Parker geared up for tonight’s big Premier League Pairs Championship with paid maximums as Tigers swept aside new boys Leicester at Owlerton.

Both skipper Ashworth and Aussie Parker were in untouchable form as Sheffield banged in seven 5-1s to crush the resistance of a Lions side finding it tough going since their re-birth this season.

It keeps Eric Boocock’s side in contention for top spot in the league, especially with three successive home meetings to come.

Sheffield started badly as Leicester’s Jan Graversen and Sergey Darkin raced to a 5-1 in the opener and when Simon Lambert crashed in heat two it looked as though a shock might be on the cards.

But Tigers responded with an avalanche of points in the first half of the match to lead 32-18 after eight heats. Parker and Lambert started the ball rolling with a full-house in the fourth, quickly followed by 5-1s from Ashworth and Hugh Skidmore and then Lambert and Emiliano Sanchez.

Lambert romped to four successive paid wins while Sanchez showed a welcome return to form with paid 11, despite crashing heavily in heat six when Charles Wright picked up too much grip on the second turn and forced the Argentinean into the fence. Both riders were able to walk away uninjured.

But Parker was the star of the show with five race wins in his paid 18 points, while Ashworth collected for victories in his paid 15.

For the visitors, Darkin was best with paid 11, although that included a four-point tactial ride haul, while his Russian team-mate Ilya Bondarenko just wasn’t at the races. Former Tigers Richard Hall could only manage nine points and the usually prolific Richard Sweetman looked a shadow of his former self.

Parker and Ashworth now head to Somerset bristling with confidence as Sheffield look to hang onto the trophy they won last year at the West Country track.

TIGERS: Parker 17+1, Ashworth 14+1, Lambert 11+1, Sanchez 9+2, Skidmore 5+2, Birks 5.