Bruised Auty steers Tigers into top six

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Newport 48

Sheffield Tigers 44

TIGERS moved into the Premier League’s top six with a hard-earned point at Newport on Saturday night.

The trip to South Wales may have produced greater dividends had it come earlier in the season, as the Wasps had lost all five of their previous home matches – and this was the first time they had put out their heavily revised line-up, which duly got them off the mark.

But for Tigers it was still a point gained after any kind of reward looked unlikely when were 12 points down in the early stages. None of the visiting riders were entirely consistent, but there were still some praiseworthy displays with Josh Auty top-scoring despite suffering a heavy crash whilst racing in the Elite League with Coventry the night before, and Simon Lambert keeping up his status as one of the most useful reserves in the country.

Newport collected three 5-1s in a four-race spell between Heats 3 and 6, two of them involving recent signing Justin Sedgmen whose move back to this level appears to have seen him regain the form he showed with Birmingham last year.

Auty took a tactical ride in Heat 7 but despite his sterling efforts he was unable to pass home captain Leigh Lanham, and Tigers had to be content with a 5-3.

The home side were missing ex-Sheffield man Kyle Legault with a finger injury, and Tigers exposed their weakness with rider-replacement by taking a 5-1 from Lambert and Shane Parker in Heat 9, backed up by a 4-2 in Heat 11 thanks to a race win by Ricky Ashworth.

When Auty and Lambert combined for maximum points in Heat 12 over Robin Aspegren, the nerves were really jangling in the home camp, and the scores were levelled in the next race when Jason Doyle dramatically fell, and Lanham just managed to split Parker and Ashworth in the re-run.

Sheffield’s hopes of completing the turnaround were dented by Aspegren’s win in Heat 14 with Mark Jones in a vital third place, and the impressive Lanham then got the better of Auty in the decider, although Parker retired at the back in any case as Tigers took a point for keeping the margin of defeat within six.

NEWPORT 48: Lanham 16, Sedgmen 13+1, Aspegren 9+1, Doyle 6+1, Jones 4, Kurtz 0, Legault r/r.

SHEFFIELD 44: Auty 12, Lambert 9+1, Parker 7, Birks 5+2, Ashworth 5, Sanchez 5, Skidmore 1+1.