Sheffield Tigers let an early lead slip leaving them with plenty of work to do in order to keep their League Cup hopes alive.
The Window Centre Tigers suffered a 54-36 defeat at Somerset last night – but their semi-final tie remains in the balance ahead of the second leg at Owlerton on Thursday, September 22.
The visitors raced into an early lead, with skipper Simon Stead brilliantly blasting underneath Paul Starke in heat five to strike a 5-1 alongside Kyle Howarth.
Despite moving four points ahead after five heats, the Tigers were pegged back as Somerset responded with successive maximums of their own to seize the upper hand.
Marc Bates’ side continued to battle hard throughout but the class off the table-topping Rebels eventually shone through.
Sheffield were unable to meet the 14-point target set by promoter Damien Bates earlier in the day, although their chances of progression remain in the balance.
Battling Brit Kyle Howarth was impressive early on, winning heats three and five after some fast starting to help them establish an early advantage.
Aussie ace Arthur Sissis also win heat two in impressive fashion – but they both faded as the meeting progressed with the powerhouse Rebels coming up trumps.
Howarth did win the final race, seeing off Bradley Wilson-Dean in scintillating fashion to give their aggregate hopes a boost.
His victory also prevented Somerset No.1 Josh Grajczonek a full maximum after his stunning display led the Rebels to victory.
No.1 Stead and Frenchman Dimitri Berge put in solid showings for the visitors, although they both failed to record a race win with Somerset’s firepower making all the difference.
Middle order man Josh Bates experienced another difficult night away from home whilst young gun Nathan Greaves was solid albeit unspectacular at reserve.
Sheffield will host the prestigious Premier League Riders’ Championship at Owlerton on Sunday (5.30) before the Tigers return to Premier League action at Rye House on Tuesday (7.30).
SOMERSET 54: Josh Grajczonek 13+1, Rohan Tungate 10, Jake Allen 9+3, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+2, Paul Starke 7, Charles Wright 6, Darryl Ritchings 0.
SHEFFIELD 36: Kyle Howarth 11, Simon Stead 9+1, Dimitri Berge 6+1, Arthur Sissis 4+1, Josh Bates 4, Nathan Greaves 2+1, Jason Garrity r/r.