SHEFFIELD suffered a crushing first defeat of the season as they were outclassed by Scunthorpe 41-53 on their own shale at Owlerton Stadium in a Premier League Cup, Northern Group clash.
Tigers could muster only three heat wins and just four race advantages against a side they beat in the reverse fixture at the end of last month.
Two of those advantages arrived in heats in which team chief Joe Screen deployed a tactical ride although Simon Stead and Leigh Lanham both failed to take victory when chasing double-points.
Sheffield were on the receiving end of two 5-1s and a pair of 4-2s in the opening five races. Both maximums were delivered by the Scorpions combination of guest number one Claus Vissing and David Howe as the visitors raced into a 12-point advantage.
A Stead tactical ride in heat six didn’t have the desired effect as he had to play second fiddle to former Sheffield favourite and star of the show, Josh Auty.
Stead’s second place and team-mate Simon Nielsen’s third spot did at least earn a 5-3 for the hosts, but still left them with a mountain to climb.
Adam Roynon powered to victory in heat seven, but Andre Compton lost out to another Tigers old boy, Ashley Birks, in a battle for third.
The torment continued as a 4-2 advantage turned into a 4-2 deficit in heat eight as Nielsen and Compton were passed by Howe and Ryan Douglas respectively.
Then Lanham, like Stead before him, had to settle for second place when donning the black and white helmet in heat nine.
It left the hosts 10 points adrift and despite a Compton/Roynon 5-1 over the Vissing/Howe duo in heat 11, they were soon put out of their misery.
Their fate was sealed with two races to spare after back-to-back 4-2s from Scunthorpe before top-scorer Stead restored a bit of pride with victory in the finale.
Sheffield remain second in the Northern Group standings, but are now four points behind leaders Redcar. Tigers travel to Newcastle on Sunday.
Sheffield 41: Simon Stead 12, Leigh Lanham 9, Adam Roynon 8+1, Andre Compton 7, Simon Nielsen 3+1, Taylor Poole 1+1, Josh Bates 1+1
Scunthorpe 53: Josh Auty 14, Ryan Douglas 10, Claus Vissing 8, David Howe 7+2, Thomas Jorgensen 7, Ashley Birks 6+1, Matt Williamson 1+1