Speedway: Brave Tigers slip to defeat

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Sheffield slipped to a 53-40 defeat in a blockbuster clash with Glasgow at Ashfield tonight.

The severely depleted Tigers put in another gutsy display but eventually ran out of steam in a fiercely contested battle north of the border.

Already without injured duo Simon Stead and David Bellego, the Owlerton outfit were dealt a further blow earlier in the day as they received news Ty Proctor had been hit by visa issues.

The popular Australian, who has been a key figure for the Tigers, particularly on their travels, has been stopped from riding with immediate effect and they were subsequently forced to cover his rides with rider replacement.

With the facility yielding just four points in his place, Jack Lee’s side suffered just their third defeat of the season and missed the chance to leapfrog Peterborough to return to the top of the Premier League table.

Sheffield got off to a strong start as reserve duo Arthur Sissis and Josh Bates stormed from the tapes in heat two and raced clear to a composed 5-1.

However, the hosts immediately hit back with a maximum of their own before further 5-1s in heats six and eight saw them establish a healthy lead.

With Sheffield’s chances looking slim, guesting number one Josh Grajczonek reeled in James Sarjeant before completing a quite scintillating last lap blast to claim a tactical ride win.

Despite seeing their advantage limited as Jason Garrity shed a chain following a clash with Richard Lawson, Grajczonek’s six points nonetheless gave them hope of salvaging a consolation point.

However, youngster Bates was controversially excluded following a tangle with Rafal Konopka in heat 12 – and despite the best effort of Ashley Birks he could not prevent a Glasgow 5-1 in the rerun.

The all-action Grajczonek remarkably sliced between Lawson and Nick Morris in heat 13, but Sheffield had left themselves with too much to do as they were forced to travel back to Yorkshire empty handed.

Grajczonek stepped in and fought admirably in place of Stead, whilst stand-in skipper Andre Compton continued his fine form with another strong showing including two sensational outside swoops to hit the front in heats nine and 15.

However, local lad Ashley Birks endured another tough night despite a determined effort, whilst Jason Garrity also struggled on an eventful night.

After his controversial clash with Lawson in his fourth ride, he made an uncharacteristic mistake whilst leading the penultimate race and ended his evening with a fall.

Josh Bates also hit the deck on two occasions following his excellent first ride, although Arthur Sissis raced to two convincing race wins as he demonstrated plenty of encouraging signs once again.

Despite their defeat, there remained plenty of positive signs for Jack Lee’s side as they prepare to return to action with a mouth-watering top of the table clash against Peterborough at Owlerton on Thursday (7.30).

GLASGOW 53: Nick Morris 12+1, Aaron Summers 9+2, James Sarjeant 9+1, Dimitri Berge 8+2, Kozza Smith 6+2, Richard Lawson 6+1, Rafal Konopka 3

SHEFFIELD 40: Andre Compton 11, Josh Grajczonek 11, Arthur Sissis 7, Ashley Birks 5+1, Jason Garrity 5, Josh Bates 2+1, Ty Proctor r/r