Sheffield Tigers speedway champions: Reaction from riders and bosses including Kyle Howarth and Simon Stead

Reaction as Sheffield battle back from 18 points behind to win Premiership after last heat drama

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Delighted boss Simon Stead admitted he had been a nervous wreck before Sheffield's dramatic Sports Insure Speedway Premiership grand final victory over Ipswich.

After the Tru Plant Tigers overturned a 18-point first leg deficit to lift the top flight trophy for the first time in the club's 94 year history, he admitted he had felt the pressure since the loss in Suffolk on Tuesday, but felt winning was still possible.

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And a 22 point margin of victory at home to opponents Ipswich at Owlerton gave Tigers revenge for a defeat over two legs against the same opponents in the Knockout Cup last month. Tigers won the Premiership grand final with Robert Lambert and Chris Harris guesting for the injured Tai Woffinden and Tobiasz Musielak. But Woffinden, whose Tigers season was ended when he broke his hand in the Cardiff grand prix last month, was at Owlerton to watch Sheffield win.

Sheffield Tigers with the Sports Insure Speedway Premiership Trophy after their win over Ipswich at Owlerton. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldSheffield Tigers with the Sports Insure Speedway Premiership Trophy after their win over Ipswich at Owlerton. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Sheffield Tigers with the Sports Insure Speedway Premiership Trophy after their win over Ipswich at Owlerton. Picture: David Kessen, National World

Tigers manager Stead said: "I've been a nervous wreck for the last two days. What I would say is I had absolute belief that it was possible, the lads really dug in, they knew the job that we had to do, knew that it was going to be difficult, but they came and gave it everything. I couldn't ask for any more, got the job done in front of our home crowd, something that we couldn't do last year, but I'm so pleased that we've managed to do it in front of them this year."

On the club's injury list he said: "I think injuries unfortunately are part and parcel of this sport that we do. What we've had to do is get the best possible line up that we could to give us a fighting chance of winning. We did that right."

A smiling Smon Stead after Sheffield's victory in the speedway premiership grand final. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldA smiling Smon Stead after Sheffield's victory in the speedway premiership grand final. Picture: David Kessen, National World
A smiling Smon Stead after Sheffield's victory in the speedway premiership grand final. Picture: David Kessen, National World

Skipper Kyle Howarth said: "It's an amazing feeling, My feelings are so hard to describe, it's unbelievable. We worked so hard for this and to do it as a last heat, well, what a night."

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Josh Pickering helped secure a vital 5-1 heat advantage for Tigers in heat 14, battling from last out of the gate to secure second place at the chequered flag.

He said: "We were in a good position, heat 13, they struck back. It was all tied going into heat 14. so me and Ridgey (Jye Etheridge) had a bit of a discussion before the race. We knew we needed maximum points from that heat.

"I knew it was going to be tough coming from gate four, and I didn't get the best start, and found myself where I didn't want to be. I worked the bike hard and put myself in a good position, and managed to pass Keynan (Rew) coming onto the last lap, and that then settled the pressure for the boys in heat 15, and they went out and did the business."

Promoter Damien Bates said it felt phenomenal to see Tigers crowned champions.

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He said: "We worked hard all year, numerous riders, numerous injuries, and it was a big task - but we've done it. I'm actually speechless.

"Last season (the final defeat at Belle Vue) was very disappointing but that's done with now. and we've just been crowned champions."