Newcastle 52 Sheffield Tigers 38: Familiar story as season opens with defeat in north east
Sheffield Tigers’ poor record at Newcastle continued with a 52-38 defeat in their opening league match.
Tigers had won just once in 10 years at Brough Park - but they looked on course to take something from the fixture after keeping the hosts on their toes mid-meeting.
But a late collapse saw them head back to Owlerton empty handed on what turned out to be a disappointing evening in the end for Tigers.
Reserve Broc Nicol has been focusing on making better starts - and his hard work paid off in the first half of the trip to Tyneside.
He led his first two races but was passed up the inside by former Tigers’ mascot Max Clegg on lap three of Heat Two before Steve Worrall produced a similarly timed move in Heat Six as he was forced to settle for second on both occasions.
In between those races it was No.1 Danny King who became the first visitor to take the chequered flag after a smart cutback under ex-Tiger Lasse Bjerre off bend four of lap two.
A clever move from Ty Proctor saw him go from third to first in the seventh and with team-mate Kasper Andersen in third, Tigers registered their first heat advantage to close the gap to four.
Nicol was brought into Heat Eight and this time managed to hold on for his first race win of the fixture.
But there was no such joy for Nicol in the ninth as he was disqualified for receiving assistance from an official after forgetting to switch his fuel on.
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Thankfully skipper Kyle Howarth got the better of former team-mate Bjerre with just two points separating the sides.
But a maximum for the hosts in the tenth prompted boss Simon Stead to bring Howarth in as a tactical sub in Heat 11.
Howarth made the gate before King joined him out front after an intelligent cut between both Newcastle riders as the Tigers responded perfectly.
Sadly for Sheffield though the meeting soon got away from them as a hat-trick of 5-1s for Newcastle ensured Tigers would leave with nothing.
They now prepare for a hectic Easter Weekend with three meetings in as many days as they aim for qualification from the Northern Group in the Championship Shield.
NEWCASTLE 52: Steve Worrall 12+2, Lasse Bjerre 11+1, Thomas Jorgensen 9, Max Clegg 9, Matthew Wethers 5+3, Simon Lambert 5+1, Danny Phillips 1.
SHEFFIELD 38: Danny King 11+1, Kyle Howarth 9+1, Broc Nicol 8, Ty Proctor 7, Zaine Kennedy 1+1, Drew Kemp 1, Kasper Andersen 1.