Speedway: Cup quarter final 'still mouthwatering for both teams', as Sheffield trail Belle Vue after first leg

KO Cup quarter final still in the balance as Simon Stead says Tai Woffinden 'dominant' in first leg
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Sheffield have eight points to make up after a narrow first leg defeat in their KO Cup clash with Belle Vue - and boss Simon Stead feels it remains 'mouthwatering'.

The team manager feels the result could have been a lot worse after his side lost the first leg 49-41 to Belle Vue, and is now hoping for a dominant performance from the Tru7Group Tigers at Owlerton in the second leg on Thursday.

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He said afterwards: "It could have been better, could have been a lot worse as well. So we knew it was going to be a tough test.

"It's a tough place to come, the boys are desperate for a home fixture, which we've not had, riding perhaps different equipment to what we've had to ride at Oxford and at Birmingham, so a difficult test today, but I think eight points down going into the home fixture keeps it mouthwatering for both parties.

"I can't fault any of them for effort. So collectively we managed to keep it within eight. So I'm pretty happy with that going into the home fixture. It'll be nice to get back round our own place again and hopefully we can do a dominant performance and it's enough to send us the the next round.

Tai Woffinden. Picture: David Kessen National WorldTai Woffinden. Picture: David Kessen National World
Tai Woffinden. Picture: David Kessen National World
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He said it was hard not to be impressed with Tai Woffinden's performances.

"He's been dominant everywhere he's been He's confident, he's happy with his equipment, happy with his team, so that's turning into points on the track, so from a Sheffield perspective, that's great for us.

"For the speedways fans of Great Britain it's great to see him back."

In the opening set of races, a 5-1 from Belle Vue’s reserves in Heat Two proved the early difference with the Tigers having to wait until Heat Four for their first winner.

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The visiting duo gated on a maximum and while Tai Woffinden held on to take the chequered flag, Rising Star Dan Gilkes was passed on the opening lap by Grand Prix star Dan Bewley before Connor Bailey capitalised on a dramatic lift down the back straight for a third shared race.

Belle Vue doubled their advantage with another maximum in Heat Five before Woffinden made it two out of two in the sixth as the Tigers registered their first advantage. The triple World Champion executed a beautiful swoop around home skipper Brady Kurtz on the entrance to lap two whilst Jason Edwards held on for third ahead of Norick Blodorn who had been a winner first time out.

Chris Holder and Josh Pickering teamed up for Sheffield’s only 5-1 in Heat Seven - but the hosts delivered an instant reply in the very next race with Gilkes handed a 15 metre handicap for exceeding the two minute time allowance.

Woffinden eased to a third straight victory in Heat Nine but despite an impressive gate, Edwards was relegated to the back with a forceful move from Ben Cook at the end of lap two.

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Pickering and Chris Holder picked up the minor places in the tenth before Jack Holder took his first race win of the afternoon in Heat 11 with Kyle Howarth re-passing Connor Mountain for third.

Belle Vue restored their six point lead with a 4-2 in Heat 12 and maintained the gap when Brady Kurtz produced a fine ride to get past Jack Holder as well as becoming the first rider to defeat Woffinden in Heat 13.

The Aces added another couple of points to their lead with a 4-2 in Heat 14, but a fourth classy victory from Woffinden in the last ensures the tie is nicely poised ahead of Thursday’s decider at Owlerton. Belle Vue 49: Jaimon Lidsey 10, Norick Blodorn 9, Ben Cook 7+2, Connor Bailey 6+3, Dan Bewley 6+1, Connor Mountain 6, Brady Kurtz 5.

Sheffield 41: Tai Woffinden 13+1, Chris Holder 8+1, Josh Pickering 7+2, Jack Holder 6+1, Kyle Howarth 5, Jason Edwards 2, Dan Gilkes 0.

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