Sheffield Tigers 51 Eastbourne 39
Sheffield boss Simon Stead was proud of his side’s win over Eastbourne - but doesn’t want anyone to get carried away.
Tigers produced a solid display to beat Eastbourne 51-39 at Owlerton as they moved up to third in the Championship standings.
It was the sort of response club bosses were looking for having had their 100 per cent home league record ended by Redcar seven days previous.
“It was important we bounced back and we did so with a strong team performance,” Stead said.
“A 12-point victory against anybody is good - but we also dropped a few silly points and we should’ve won by more without question in my mind.
“But hey, I can’t complain too much because we’re still trying to cover Broc (Nicol) with rider replacement, riders are naturally getting more tired the more rides they have and we are working the boys hard.
“So it could’ve been more convincing but thankfully it hasn’t had an effect on the end result or with the way the league points are distributed.
“It was a solid effort like I say and every rider did the job required of them, if not more.
“Let’s not get carried away though - with all due respect to Eastbourne that was never going to be our toughest meeting of the season at home as they notoriously struggle on the road.
“So there will be tougher challenges to come but it was a good confidence booster with plenty of positives we can take nevertheless.”
No.1 Danny King led from the front superbly as he romped to a 15-point maximum - despite being up against one of the strongest heat-leader trios in the league in Edward Kennett, Richard Lawson and Lewis Kerr.
He combined with teenager Drew Kemp in two of Sheffield’s five 4-2 advantages in the opening eight races.
Kemp made a good inside gate in Heat One before having to work much harder in Heat Six to blast around Alfie Bowtell on the final two bends to snatch a third place point on the run to the line.
Kemp crashed quite dramatically after the race, as his throttle stuck open, but he picked himself up and came back out to win Heat Eight in style with another impressive outside blast on fresh machinery.
Tigers were ten points up at that stage and gifted Eastbourne their first advantage in Heat Nine when Zaine Kennedy shed a chain in the closing stages.
The visitors’ tactical substitute Lawson won Heat 11, but Sheffield skipper Kyle Howarth limited the damage as he eventually got the better of Kennett for second after the two exchanged places on numerous occasions.
Tigers responded with two 4-2s of their own before sealing their first, and only, 5-1 maximum of the evening in the very last race to also send Eastbourne home with nothing to show for their efforts.
Sheffield head to Redcar a week on Friday (July 26, 7.30) before hosting Newcastle on Sunday, July 28.
SHEFFIELD 51: Danny King 15, Kyle Howarth 10+1, Ty Proctor 9+1, Josh MacDonald 7+1, Drew Kemp 5, Zaine Kennedy 5, Broc Nicol R/R.