SHEFFIELD were left to rue a lack of race winners despite a valiant effort at home track specialists Lakeside last night.
Tigers went down 51-39, the closest any side has come at The Arena-Essex Raceway in this year’s Championship, but only taking the chequered flag on three occasions proved costly as they missed out on a consolation league point.
Tigers gated on a 5-1 in the opening race with returning captain Kyle Howarth and Todd Kurtz hitting the front before Lakeside No.1 Nick Morris worked his way into first by the start of the second lap.
Alfie Bowtell was getting out of the traps well for the hosts, but James Shanes and Georgie Wood followed by Shanes and Charles Wright in Heats Two and Four respectively plugged away to work their way past the home men to force 3-3s with the scores still tied.
The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth after Charles Wright’s machine packed up on the start-line. The re-run then saw Wood jump at the start before starting the third attempt with a 15 metre handicap. And from there the hosts took advantage of the situation to move two in front.
And Wright’s woes continued in the ninth as he blasted into the starting tapes and he was the next Tiger to start 15 metres back.
But Wood was able to soften the blow as he pulled off a remarkable ride to get by Adam Ellis at the end of lap three with the scores at 30-24.
Tigers conceded a 5-1 in Heat ten and that ten point gap remained going into Heat 12.
But stand-in team manager Laurence Rogers used his experience wisely as he drafted in skipper Howarth as a tactical substitute to join Broc Nicol.
And the move worked to perfection as the Tigers’ pairing made the better start to secure a 5-1, reducing the deficit to six points with three left.
But their joy was short lived as Lakeside responded with a maximum of their own as Richard Lawson and Morris continued their dominant night before the Hammers wrapped up the win despite Nicol taking an impressive race win in the penultimate heat.
And Tigers were sent home with nothing to show for their efforts when unbeaten home duo Lawson and Morris bagged another 5-1.
Sheffield stage an individual meeting at Owlerton this Thursday (July 19, 7.30).
LAKESIDE 51: Richard Lawson 15, Nick Morris 13+2, Ben Morley 9, Kyle Newman 7+1, Adam Ellis 4, Zach Wajtknecht 3+1, Alfie Bowtell 0.
SHEFFIELD 39: Broc Nicol 11+1, Kyle Howarth 10+1, James Shanes 7+2, Todd Kurtz 6+2, Georgie Wood 4, Charles Wright 1+1, Lasse Bjerre R/R.