SHANE Parker’s brilliance against his old club helped Sheffield to gain ground on the early-season Premier League leaders with a hard-fought win over Glasgow last night.
It was the Scottish side’s first defeat of the campaign, and took Sheffield above their visitors with the chance to make further progress when they face league newcomers Plymouth tonight.
Veteran Parker scored a superb paid maximum, and his Heat 15 victory proved crucial just when the visitors looked like they could steal a point.
There was a trading of 5-1s in the first two races, with Glasgow skipper Joe Screen suffering mechanical failure in Heat 1, but their reserves brought them level in the next.
The home side broke the deadlock in Heat 4, and a superb 5-1 followed in the next race with Josh Auty and Hugh Skidmore both passing Theo Pijper and then holding off the late challenge of Screen.
Tigers continued to pile up the points with another 5-1 in Heat 7, courtesy of a fine second-bend move by Simon Lambert, and Glasgow’s first tactical ride in Heat 8 only produced a 6-3 as Pijper won the race, but his team-mate Nick Morris crashed.
A series of shared heats followed. But a good move by Josh Auty to overtake Christian Henry in Heat 12 put Sheffield into a comfortable lead - and they were sailing clear in the next race when Ashworth and the unstoppable Parker took maximum points from a terrific battle with Screen.
However, what nobody had considered was a Glasgow 8-1 in Heat 14 thanks to James Grieves on double-points, meaning any Glasgow advantage from the final race would limit Sheffield to two points from the meeting.
With Ashworth squeezed out by Grajczonek and Screen, the pressure was on Parker, but the Aussie was up to the job.