Sheffield will take a slender 47-43 lead to Newcastle on Sunday after a narrow win over the Diamonds in their Premier League Cup semi-final first leg last night.
Tigers boss David Hoggart called on his side to amass as big a lead as possible but it will be Newcastle who will go into the second leg as favourites as they kept things tight on a nervy night at Owlerton.
The Tigers were always ahead but it never looked like they’d get away from their visitors. Every time Sheffield had the opportunity to build a sizeable lead the Diamonds pegged them back, but it was a solid effort from a Sheffield side robbed of the services of skipper Simon Stead.
It was a welcome return to form for Richard Hall, who has looked below par since coming back from injury, but he raced to 12 points and looked much more like the man who started the season so well.
His back-up came from partner Ricky Wells who weighed in with paid 11, and it was a good job for Sheffield that those two produced the goods because guest Richard Lawson scored a hard-fought eight, but that was less than Stead would have been expected to score.
Joe Haines continued his good Owerton run with seven and a bonus, while Adam Roynon won a race and scored four on his return to competitive action. The same Sheffield seven will travel to Brough Park on Sunday for the return leg needing a huge performance to qualify for the final.
* Sheffield: Hall 12, Wells 9+2, Lawson 8, Haines 7+1, Roynon 4, Koppe 4, Albin 3.