Sheffield Tigers 52 Somerset 38: Tigers recover from Broc Nicol blow to register win
Sheffield Tigers enjoyed sweet success against a bitter Somerset side at Owlerton.
Tigers registered a fourth straight home win despite the protests of the visitors who were unhappy with track preparation. Sadly a big crowd was left frustrated as protests were made and some left early.
Tigers had been rocked in the build-up when American ace Broc Nicol suffered a broken collarbone whilst riding at Leicester on Saturday.
With reserve Zaine Kennedy already sidelined and skipper Kyle Howarth suspended, Tigers knew they were going to need to produce one of their performances of the season.
And with a little help from their friends, they did just that.
They looked set to open with a 4-2 until mechanical gremlins denied youngster Drew Kemp a third place point in the opener.
Guest reserve Simon Lambert made a great gate in the second and was joined out front by partner Josh MacDonald.
But a mistake from the Australian allowed Somerset teenager Anders Rowe through into second.
The visitors then put up a protest and demanded extra track work - and after a heated debate their wish was granted by referee Graeme Hunter.
But that only got the hosts fired up even more who were adamant Somerset were looking for some early excuses.
The Tigers proved their hunger and determination by outgating their opponents in the next two races and knuckling down to the task in hand with successive 5-1 maximums.
Again came complaints from the visitors, but former Sheffield man Todd Kurtz proved there was nothing wrong with the surface as he flew away in heat five - ironically recording the fast time of the night at that point.
But Tigers were soon back in the advantages when stand-in skipper Danny King made it two out of two with Kemp this time holding on for third before a 5-1 in the seventh from guest duo Simon Lambert and Jake Allen moved them 16-points clear.
Kemp rode a brilliant race to blast around Stefan Nielsen off bend four for another point in the tenth and they had the league points in the bag as early as Heat 12 when Ty Proctor did his job superbly as the lone Tiger, winning the re-run after MacDonald was controversially thrown out of the initial staging.
While King’s unbeaten run was ended by Somerset No.1 Rory Schlein in Heat 13, it was too little too late for the Rebels who were sent packing empty handed.
Tigers are back at Owlerton on Sunday with Redcar the visitors (5.30).
SHEFFIELD 52: Danny King 13, Simon Lambert 12+2, Ty Proctor 10, Jake Allen 7+2, Drew Kemp 5+1, Josh MacDonald 5+1, Broc Nicol R/R.
SOMERSET 38: Chris Harris 12, Todd Kurtz 10, Rory Schlein 4+1, Valentin Grobauer 4+1, Stefan Nielsen 4, Anders Rowe 2, Henry Atkins 2.