Sheffield Tigers 43 Leicester Lions 47: Josh Bates returns to send former side out of Championship Shield
Yorkshire terrier Josh Bates ended former club Sheffield’s Championship Shield quest with 14 points in Leicester’s 47-43 win at Owlerton.
It came less than 24 hours after Lions had tamed the Tigers 47-41 at Beaumont Leys, a combination of results that means Simon Stead’s men can no longer qualify as best group runners-up.
Sheffield made an ideal start on home shale but a tricky track caught out the hosts with Leicester registering four 5-1s from heat four onwards.
Danny King made a rip-roaring start with Drew Kemp comfortably holding off the brief challenge of Scott Nicholls in the opener.
Zaine Kennedy survived a scruffy start to file in behind Connor Mountain to split the Lions in the reserve race before Ty Proctor and Kasper Andersen sauntered around for a maximum.
That was wiped out when Richie Worrall made a blistering start from the outside gate with Kyle Howarth suffering a wobble on turn two while pursuing Mountain in the fourth.
Proctor and Andersen had trouble in the first two bends of heat five following a track grade, tucking in behind opponents before King and Kemp cruised to an easy maximum over Worrall and Jack Thomas.
Bates led from the off in the seventh while Worrall pounced on another Howarth wobble for second.
Kennedy fell in the eighth but Kemp soared around Ellis Perks in the re-run, holding off his rival for a shared race.
Proctor then shed a chain in the first turn of the ninth, allowing Worrall and Thomas to put the Lions ahead for the first time in the meeting.
King battled back from a poor start to get by Bates in a shared 10th but Howarth turned the tide by taking heat 11 with Kennedy holding on to a bucking bike in third.
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The effervescent Bates then produced the move of the day, diving around Kennedy and then chopping up the inside of Andersen to take a shared 12th.
Nicholls stood firm to thwart King’s tenacious pursuit in a shared 13th and Kennedy fought back in heat 14, being passed before repassing Bates in a feisty tussle up top to level.
But Bates had the last laugh, ripping around the outside in heat 15 while Nicholls held on for second to claim victory.
Leicester had already sealed top spot in the group with another see-saw contest featuring a number of spills. Howarth led the way with 11.
(Saturday)LEICESTER 47: Richie Worrall 11+1, Scott Nicholls 10, Ryan Douglas 9, Connor Mountain 8+1, Josh Bates 5, Ellis Perks 4, Jack Thomas 0.SHEFFIELD 41: Kyle Howarth 11, Ty Proctor 10+1, Kasper Andersen 7+1, Danny King 7, Broc Nicol 4, Drew Kemp 1, Zaine Kennedy 1.
SHEFFIELD 43: Danny King 11, Drew Kemp 7+2, Kyle Howarth 7+1, Zaine Kennedy 7+1, Ty Proctor 6, Kasper Andersen 5+1, Kyle Bickley 0.
LEICESTER 47: Josh Bates 14, Scott Nicholls 11+1, Richie Worrall 9+1, Connor Mountain 8+3, Jack Thomas 3+1, Ellis Perks 2, Ryan Douglas R/R.