Sheffield suffered an untimely dose of injury misfortune in their 51-41 loss at Rye House.
The play-off chasing Tigers got off to a bright start at the Hoddesdon circuit but saw their chances of a point all but ended by the withdrawal of skipper Simon Stead following a heat five crash. Stead, who had got them off to a dream start with a superb heat one win, was leading a 5-1 alongside Dimitri Berge when he came to grief. He locked up and Berge was unable to avoid a collision, causing his steel shoe to buckle and inflict a foot injury which required a trip to hospital.
From that point on it proved a night plagued with bad luck for the visitors, with Josh Bates twice suffering bike troubles and Arthur Sissis missing the two minutes in heat 9.
In-form middle order man Kyle Howarth put in a sensational display to add firepower with Stead and Jason Garrity ruled out. He blasted to a paid 18 point haul but could only manage second behind Sam Masters as he took a tactical ride in heat 10. French ace Berge also put in an eye-catching away performance, but Bates endured another nightmare evening whilst reserve duo Nathan Greaves and Sissis both struggled to make an impact.
RYE HOUSE 51: Stuart Robson 10+2, Sam Masters 10+1, Ben Morley 10+1, Leigh Lanham 8+1, Robert Branford 7+4, Kasper Lykke 6+2, Cameron Heeps R/R.
SHEFFIELD 41: Kyle Howarth 17+1, Dimitri Berge 12, Josh Bates 4, Simon Stead 3, Arthur Sissis 3, Nathan Greaves 2, Jason Garrity R/R.
n Tigers need a win to keep their Premier League play-off hopes alive as they host Scunthorpe on Wednesday night.
They will wrap up their regular season programme at Owlerton knowing a slip-up could bring their title dreams to an abrupt end.
After leaving Rye House empty handed last night, they need a victory to move back into the all-important top six.
They are sweating on the fitness of skipper Simon Stead after he crashed out with a foot injury at Hoddesdon last night.
Injury victim Jason Garrity also remains sidelined whilst youngster Nathan Greaves is riding in the British Under 19 Championship and is replaced by guest Nathan Stoneman.
The Tigers will nonetheless be looking for their third straight home win and a repeat of their 49-41 triumph over the struggling Scorpions way back in April.