Batchelor brilliance not enough for Sheffield Tigers at Wolverhampton
Troy Batchelor continued his fine form but couldn’t prevent Sheffield from slipping to a 50-40 defeat at Wolverhampton.
Tigers were dealt a serious blow in the build-up to the meeting when Kyle Howarth, a former Wolves rider, withdrew with a wrist injury sustained at Leicester but later confirmed nothing is broken.
Batchelor reeled off three straight wins and ended the meeting with a 5-1 alongside Jack Holder.
A 3-3 in Heat 13 made sure of all three points for the home side when Luke Becker and Sam Masters packed in behind Jack Holder to make the score 45-33.
To their credit Sheffield stayed in contention and pushed Wolves hard over the first half of the meeting.
The combination of Adam Ellis and Holder produced some fine race wins, particularly when Ellis became the first rider to beat home star Sam Masters with a clever ride under pressure in Heat 7.
Sheffield were reduced to five riders when Josh Bates was ruled out of the meeting after a Heat 4 crash when he locked up in the first turn and crashed - causing home man Tom Bacon to fall too.
Tigers brought in Adam Ellis as a tactical substitute in the next to partner Holder - but Ellis fell and handed Wolves a 4-2.
Luke Becker edged out Ellis in the next and with five races to go Wolverhampton opened up a 10-point lead with Sheffield running out of steam.
Sheffield knew they couldn’t claim a consolation point with Wolves 49-35 up with one race remaining but Batchelor and Holder teamed up well for the 5-1.
Batchelor said: “Things are getting better for me and I’m starting to get more into it.
“It was tough out there but I went well and I enjoyed it.
“I’m not riding as much as the other guys, I made a decision not to ride abroad because of my eight-month old son and I didn’t want to leave him but I’m open to more bookings for sure.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t win and we had a few crashes but we dug deep and worked hard. I’m looking forward to more meetings soon.”
WOLVERHAMPTON 50: Sam Masters 11+1, Ryan Douglas 10, Luke Becker 9+2, Nick Morris 9+2, Broc Nicol 9, Tom Bacon 2, Rory Schlein R/R.
SHEFFIELD 40: Troy Batchelor 12+1, Adam Ellis 10, Jack Holder 9+1, Justin Sedgmen 4, James Wright 3+1, Josh Bates 2, Kyle Howarth R/R.