Somerset Rebels 40
Sheffield Tigers 53
TIGERS pulled off the shock of the season in front of the live TV cameras last night with a sensational 13-point revenge win at joint Premier League pole-sitters Somerset.
The Owlerton side were desperate for revenge after the Rebels became the only side to have won at Owlerton this season, when then triumphed by four points in April.
Reserve Simon Lambert played a starring role with his best performance yet for Eric Boocock’s side, notching a precious 12 points after Sheffield looked to have blown a bright start when Emilaino Sanchez suffered arm and rib injuries in a heat 7 crash.
It was the little Argentinean’s second fall of the night and he was subsequently ruled out of the rest of the meeting by medics.
At that stage, the scores were locked at 18-18, after Tigers had started with a 5-1 in the opener from Ricky Ashworth and Hugh Skidmore only for the hosts to claw the deficit back.
It looked a hammer blow, with Sanchez out of the re-run of the seventh race. But Lambert came in and promptly sped to the flag ahead of team-mate Shane Parker for a 5-1 which put them back in the driving seat at 23-19 up.
They had more jitters when Josh Auty crashed heavily in his third race, when he clipped Sam Masters’ back wheel, with Somerset taking advantage to notch a maximum and level the scores.
But with all the team firing, Tigers took the lead in heat 10 – Lambert again in the points behind Parker - and never looked back.
A 5-1 in heat 11 through Ashworth and livewire Hugh Skidmore put Boocock’s outfit 36-30 ahead and, despite Somerset managing a heat advantage next time out and a tactical ride win from Masters in the penultimate race, the Owlerton men went on to rub the West Country side’s noses in the dirt.
Auty picked himself up from his fall to win heat 13 ahead of Ashworth to put the result beyond doubt with two to go and a fifth 5-1 of the night from Parker – returning to his former track – and Ashworth made sure of a four-point win which propelled Tigers up to fifth in the table.
Parker top scored for the visitors with 13+1 while Ashworth was also paid for double figures – but it was Lambert’s haul from reserve which made amends for that early season home setback and which will have made their rival teams sit up and take notice.
SOMERSET: S. Masters 14, C. Hefenbrock 9+2, J. Holder 8+1, T. McGowan 4, C. Gathercole 4, A. Davies 1.
TIGERS: S. Parker 13+1, R. Ashworth 11+2, S. Lambert 12, H. Skidmore 7+2, J. Auty 7+1, A.Birks 3+1, E. Sanchez 0.