Sheffield’s lack of bottom end strength proved to be their downfall as they crashed to an embarrassing 53-39 defeat at home to Redcar Bears last night.
The Tigers were without Owlerton specialist Richard Hall but team skipper Simon Stead had called on the rest of his teammates to step up and cover Hall’s absence, but they failed to do so.
Simply, Sheffield were a three man team and when two of those riders win just one race between them, it spells trouble.
Redcar were always on the front foot after a string of early 4-2’s, and Tigers never looked like they had the strength to come back. After heat eight they found themselves 10 points down and without Hall, there was little sign the Tigers would muster another unlikely comeback as they did against Workington a fortnight ago.
A 7-1 from Joe Haines and Ricky Wells in heat nine did give the home fans hope, but two 5-1’s from the Bears after the interval put paid to any chance Sheffield had of salvaging anything. The only bright spark for Sheffield was the sensational Simon Stead, who carried the team on his own with a second consecutive maximum.
Stead followed up Saturday’s five-ride full house with another five flawless wins on home soil but he lacked any back-up, and not one of his races yielded a heat advantage.
The Bears were better right the way down and there will now undoubtedly be question marks over the Tigers lower end.
Damien Koppe struggled with just two points, but young Brit Jake Knight will be spared an off-night after some encouraging recent performances.
Sheffield now travel to Tyneside tonight gunning for revenge, but they will have to up their game to do so.
n TIGERS: Stead 15, Wells 11+1, Haines 10+1, Koppe 2, Knight 1, Albin 0, Rider Replacement for Hall.