TIGERS pulled off an impressive and professional win at Scunthorpe despite a gutsy comeback from the Lincolnshire side in last night’s Challenge match.
Eric Boocock’s men were forced to go into the meeting without the services of Argentinian ace Emiliano Sanchez who suffered a shoulder injury in Thursday’s home defeat by Belle Vue. But they covered well for his absence and made a dream start when Aussie duo Hugh Skidmore and Shane Parker teamed up for a maximum in the opening race, helped by a retirement for home favourite David Howe. And when Ashley Birks and Stephen Lambert, who both have experience of the Scunthorpe track, notched a 5-1 in the second race the Owlerton side were off to a dream opening with a 10-2 lead.
Tigers maintained their domination with some determined action but the home side pulled off a spectacular 5-1 of their own in Heat 10 to claw the deficit back to four-points.
And when Tero Aarnio and Viktor Bergstrom made it look easy in brushing aside Ashworth and Lambert in Heat 12 the scores, suddenly, were level.
Former Sheffield favourite Ben Wilson pulled off a vital victory for the home outfit in Heat 13. Wilson, a former Tigers mascot, got the better of Parker and the previously unbeaten Josh Auty to keep the scores level.
But Auty replaced Sanchez in the penultimate race and partnered the impressive Birks to a defining 5-1 for Sheffield to swing the match back in their favour. And when Parker and Auty packed the minor places in the deciding race Tigers had secured a hard fought win to boost their confidence ahead of their Premier League campaign.
The sides meet again in the return leg at Owlerton Stadium next Thursday, March 24.
SCUNTHORPE: Tero Aarnio 12+1, Ben Wilson 8, Thomas Jorgensen 6+2, Steve Worrall 5, David Howe 4+1, Viktor Bergstrom 4+1, Carl Wilkinson 4+1. SHEFFIELD: Josh Auty 15+1, Hugh Skidmore 10, Shane Parker 9+3, Ashley Birks 6+1, Ricky Ashworth 4, Simon Lambert 3+2, Emiliano Sanchez R/R.