Speedway Report: Sheffield Tigers 48 Newcastle 42
Sheffield finished their home campaign in style to remain in the hunt - just - for the end of season play-offs.
Simon Stead’s side saw off a determined Newcastle side in a hotly contested battle at Owlerton Stadium.
Newcastle skipper Steve Worrall got the away side off to a winning start, taking the chequered flag in a shared opening heat.
The Window Centre Tigers then took an early lead courtesy of a stunning opening lap from American Broc Nicol on his Owlerton return - joining Zaine Kennedy at the front for a first 5-1 of the night.
Heat 3 saw Justin Sedgmen hold off the hard-charging Lasse Bjerre with Todd Kurtz getting the better of Heat 1 winner Worrall for another Sheffield heat advantage.
Broc Nicol then made it two wins out of two in a second 5-1 maximum to extend the home sides lead to 10 points after the opening four programmed races of the night.
In the following heats, Newcastle responded with back-to-back 5-1s of their own.
The first of which came when boss George English played his tactical substitute to perfection as Bjerre roared around the outside of Sedgmen to join teammate Worrall down the backstraight.
Reserve Zaine Kennedy then produced the best lap of speedway Owlerton Stadium has seen all year as the young Aussie found his way past both Newcastle riders on the final lap - storming up the inside of Bjerre on the run to the line.
Dane Ulrich Ostergaard ensured the tie hung in the balance mid-meeting as he reeled off back-to-back heat wins to keep the away side in touching distance.
Skipper Danny King remained in search of his first heat win of the night as former Tiger Bjerre took a tapes to flag victory in a shared Heat 10.
The run of shared heats continued with guest Jake Allen fighting off Ostergaard in a close-fought first lap.
Victory was all but secured in the clash of the ‘big hitters’ as Allen and King romped to a comfortable 5-1 to extend their lead to 10 points with two heats remaining.
Sheffield face a crucial weekend of league racing commencing Friday at Edinburgh (7.30) before making the trip to Glasgow the following day (6.30) with the city side needing seven points to reach the play-offs.
SHEFFIELD 48: Jake Allen 12+2, Danny King 9+1, Justin Sedgmen 8+2, Broc Nicol 7+1, Zaine Kennedy 5+2, Josh MacDonald 4+2, Todd Kurtz 3.
NEWCASTLE 42: Lasse Bjerre 16+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 14+3, Steve Worrall 8+1, Thomas Jorgensen 4, Max Clegg 0, Danny Phillips 0, Matthew Wethers r/r.