Classy Tigers thrash Devils to reignite faltering campaign

Edging into position: The riders line up for heat four at Owlerton last night.            Picture: Andy Garner
Edging into position: The riders line up for heat four at Owlerton last night. Picture: Andy Garner
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TIGERS relaunched their Premier League season with an impressive demolition of newcomers Plymouth Devils at Owlerton last night.

It was the result they needed with a hectic spell of eight meetings coming up throughout September and everyone played their part.

Eric Boocock’s men went into the meeting without the services of in-form reserve Ashley Birks who is injured and National League rider Ben Hopwood deputised.

And yet they still had too much strength for the Devon outfit who only found success when they used their Elite League riders Ricky Wells and Ben Barker in tactical outings and when Tigers man Ricky Ashworth pulled out with bike problems.

Wells won Heat 8 for six-points when he was introduced as a replacement for the injured Hynek Stichauer and the visitors notched a welcome 7-2 with John Oliver third.

And Barker, who was disappointing after looking good for Great Britain in the World Cup during the summer, won Heat 11 ahead of Shane Parker with Simon Lambert third for a Devils 6-3.

But it was only consolation as Sheffield continued to dominate the meeting.

Ashworth pulled up in the next outing and with Hopwood under pressure during his one-off appearance for the club Plymouth duo Oliver and Gino Franchetti pounced for a maximum to make the scoreline look respectable.

Parker bounced back for Tigers in Heat 13 with a stunning win over Barker and Josh Auty finished third to hand the home side a 4-2 advantage.

Reserve Simon Lambert partnered Emiliano Sanchez home for a maximum in the penultimate race which gave Tigers a 20-point cushion going into the last race.

And Lambert was rewarded for a fine display with a rare appearance in Heat 15 which was won by the brilliant Parker who again outpaced Barker.

Sheffield were never in danger and will be looking to use the confidence gained from this comfortable meeting during their busy month in September.

n SHEFFIELD TIGERS: Shane Parker 13, Emiliano Sanchez 9+3, Simon Lambert 9+2, Josh Auty 9+1, Ricky Ashworth 8+1, Hugh Skidmore 8+1, Ben Hopwood 2

n PLYMOUTH DEVILS: Ricky Wells 12+1, Ben Barker 11, John Oliver 9, Gino Franchetti 5, Jesper Kristiansen 1, Lee Smart 0, Hynek Stichauer R/R