Sheffield Tigers: Damien Bates looking to find the ‘missing spark’

Club chief Damien Bates reckons Sheffield Tigers are still lacking a certain spark – despite being content with their weekend’s work.

By Nigel Pearson
Monday, 20 May, 2019, 24:03
Damien Bates with Zaine Kennedy

Tigers battled their way to a consolation league point at Berwick on Saturday despite being reduced to five riders through injury.

They then pulled off an impressive comeback from ten-points down to steal a last gasp win at Owlerton on Sunday.

And while he admits last heat deciders are perfect for drama, he is keen to see Tigers start pulling off more comfortable victories.

“Last heat deciders are good for the supporters but not so good for my heart-rate,” Bates said.

“Obviously for the supporters it builds the tension and more-so for the newer fans, a last heat decider provides plenty of entertainment and it means everything has gone right down to the wire.

“But I’m sure there’ll be some supporters who are like me who feel we’re keeping it a bit too close for our liking.

“We’ve only really had the two meetings against Redcar and Birmingham where we’ve looked in control - and even in that Birmingham one we didn’t get off to the best of starts.

“It’s almost as though there’s something missing, like we just need a spark or something and it’s down to us to work out what that is.

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“We need to look at what we could possibly do to improve us as a team.

“I don’t like making team changes really – especially when we’ve got a group of riders who we know are capable of so much more.

“So maybe we need to look at switching the riding order a little bit or maybe when the averages change again and the reserves swap that might help.

“We can’t let things run close week on week on week but I do want to give these riders a bit more time because we know they can do it, they’re just not all firing at the same time at the minute.

“Maybe we’ll give it a few more meetings, see how things go and if we still haven’t taken many steps in the right direction, then maybe we’ll have to reassess our situation.

“But as I’ve said before, it’s down to the riders to adapt and get things going and I’d like to think this current group we’ve got can do that.”

Tigers are next in action at Owlerton on Sunday, June 2 against Scunthorpe (4pm) with a trip to Glasgow a week tonight (May 28) for their Knockout Cup decider.