Speedway: Tigers succumb to league leaders Wolverhampton

SHEFFIELD suffered a second successive home defeat as they were beaten 46-44 by league leaders Wolverhampton.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 10:21 am

After two important wins on their travels against Ipswich and King’s Lynn, the Tru Plant Tigers arrived in the Second City with renewed belief ahead of a crunch spell in their season.But they were unable to stop the in-form Wolves who made it eight wins on the spin as the Midlanders booked their place in the end-of-season play-offs.Tigers started brightly enough and held a four point lead after Heat Four when home debutant Stefan Nielsen combined with Adam Ellis for a first maximum of the night.But four 4-2s in the space of five races saw the visitors edge ahead.The scores were again levelled in Heat Ten when Josh Pickering produced one of the rides of the season to join Jack Holder out front.But the visitors provided the next four race winners and sealed victory with one heat to go.Heat-leaders Holder and Ellis bagged a consolation 5-1 in Heat 15 as they both completed solid nights individually.There was a vast improvement from the reserve berths with Nielsen achieving double figures while guest Danyon Hume again contributed an encouraging display.Pickering and skipper Kyle Howarth both chipped in with a steady set of points - but the future of Troy Batchelor appears to be hanging in the balance after failing to score from three outings.Team boss Simon Stead said: “I haven’t really got any answers there and unfortunately neither has Batch.“We know what he’s capable of, we’ve seen it, maybe not much this season but certainly in previous years.“He’s a former GP rider, I just never thought I’d see the day where I saw Batchelor scoring zero in this league.“What we do is something I’ll discuss with him and the senior management of the club and if there are options then we’ll explore them.“Home losses are never an easy pill to swallow.“We’ve lost against who are, at the moment, the best team in the league.“Wolverhampton are riding very, very well and full credit to them - but that doesn’t make it any easier, we’ve not been good enough.“After two away results that had set us up nicely to sort of cement our place in the play-offs, that’s a really disappointing result.“Two home defeats on the bounce is simply not good enough and we need to change things pretty quick. That’s what we’ll be looking to do. We’ll be looking to bounce straight back.”The Tru Plant Tigers are back in action at King’s Lynn next Thursday (August 19, 7.30) but on Monday (August 16, 7.30) Adam Ellis and Kyle Howarth compete in the British Final at Belle Vue.SHEFFIELD 44: Jack Holder 11, Stefan Nielsen 10+1, Adam Ellis 9+2, Kyle Howarth 6, Josh Pickering 5+1, Danyon Hume 3+1, Troy Batchelor 0.WOLVERHAMPTON 46: Ryan Douglas 16, Sam Masters 11, Nick Morris 7, Rory Schlein 7, Luke Becker 2+1, Broc Nicol 2, Leon Flint 1.

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Simon Stead and Jack Holder (r)