Stead bounces back as plucky Sheffield fall short

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Gutsy Sheffield fell just short of a consolation point despite a resilient performance at Redcar last night.

Just 24 hours after edging an excellent win over the Bears on home soil, the wounded Tigers put up a brave fight as they continue to battle their injury crisis. However, their plucky showing was not enough to see them add to their Premier League points tally as they slipped to a 53-37 defeat.

The visitors fell six behind early on - and although they recorded three straight race wins through Taylor Poole, Simon Stead and Nico Covatti between heats four and six, they failed to make any inroads.

When Redcar extended their advantage to eight at the halfway stage, the Tigers’ hopes appeared bleak. Yet they responded perfectly with a big 5-1 courtesy of new-boy Covatti and the returning Josh Bates in heat nine to move within four.

Unfortunately, it proved a momentary glimpse of hope as Redcar instantly hit back with a maximum of their own heading into the interval before they repeated the trick in heat 11 to leave Sheffield trailing by 12.

When Bates failed to convert with a tactical ride on heat 12 it left Joe Screen’s side with an uphill task before a Bears 5-1 in heat 15 saw Sheffield condemned to defeat.

Skipper Simon Stead led the side admirably as he returned from tonsillitis, claiming two race wins from the No.1 position despite still struggling with illness.

World Cup star Nico Covatti also continued his encouraging start to his Sheffield career, holding off Aaron Summers in composed style to win his second ride before racing to two more victories. Aussie ace Taylor Poole added an important 10+2 on another hectic evening whilst returning reserve partner Josh Bates put in a creditable display on his return.

However, with Ben Wilson struggling in the engine room of the side plus youngster Nathan Greaves struggling as a guest for Andre Compton the depleted Tigers ran out of steam, despite a determined performance - which turned out to not be enough for a point.

REDCAR 53: Aaron Summers 12+1, Carl Wilkinson 10+2, Stuart Robson 8+2, Hugh Skidmore 7+1, Mark Lemon 6+1, Rafal Konopka 6+1, Jan Graversen 4+2.

SHEFFIELD 37: Taylor Poole 10+2, Nico Covatti 9+1, Simon Stead 9, Josh Bates 7, Ben Wilson 2, Nathan Greaves 0, Leigh Lanham R/R.