Thursday July 13, 2017
SHEFFIELD kept themselves in touch with the SGB Championship's top four sides with a 51-42 home win over Berwick.

Despite being without reserve duo Rob Branford and Nathan Stoneman due to injury, the Window Centre Tigers dug deep to secure an eighth straight league win at Owlerton.

Just two points separated the two sides heading into the first track grading break, but a dominant mid-meeting spell would prove pivotal for the hosts.

The Tigers struck three 5-1 maximums in the space of five races to open up a 16-point advantage.

And while Berwick hit back with an 8-1 from their tactical ride in heat 11, the Owlerton outfit were able to hold on and sent the Bandits packing with nothing to show for their efforts.

It means Sheffield remain just two points outside the play-off zone as fourth placed Redcar also eased to a comfortable victory over Scunthorpe on Thursday.

And Tigers promoter Damien Bates admits he was just pleased to see his own side add to their tally after what he described as a difficult 24-hours.

"Beating Berwick and getting the three points was all that mattered to us tonight," Bates said.

"We were very disappointed with the defeat at Ipswich on Wednesday, we were already without Rob and then for Nathan to suffer such terrible injuries really was another blow for us.

"We thank Layne (Cupitt) for his efforts but realistically we've been a six man team for the majority of our meetings this season so that didn't make too much of a difference tonight.

"We just had to pick ourselves up and thankfully the team were able to do just that.

"I think the scoreline makes the meeting seem a bit closer than it actually was because it was only that 8-1 double points ride that gave them the slightest little bit of hope anyway.

"They kept things close for the first few heats but I was always confident that we'd be too strong for them in the end.

"They're bottom of the league for a reason and it's a good job they had Richard Lawson in as a guest if you ask me.

"But they were a lot better than when they came here earlier in the season and good luck to them.

"As for us though, we've done what we set out to do and now it's on to Peterborough on Friday."

Tigers No.1 Josh Grajczonek was in top form once again, only being denied a maximum after lifting coming out of bend two in Heat 13 before consequently being passed by Lawson.

Dashing Dane Lasse Bjerre reeled off four straight wins before his unbeaten night came to an end in Heat 15 after being outmuscled on the opening bends.

Skipper Kyle Howarth had another solid night including two race wins while Todd Kurtz recovered from a last place in his opening ride to go unbeaten by an opponent in his final three.

Guest Mitchell Davey contributed five points from reserve and it would have been more had he not shed a chain after hitting the front in Heat 8.

Josh Bates linked up for three heat advantages with Bjerre before being fortunate enough to walk away from a terrible looking spill which saw Berwick's David Howe left with nowhere else to go but over Bates' body in the final race of the night.

A full preview will be issued on Friday morning ahead of the away trip to Peterborough.

SHEFFIELD 51: Josh Grajczonek 14, Lasse Bjerre 13, Kyle Howarth 8+1, Todd Kurtz 7+2, Mitchell Davey 5, Josh Bates 4+1, Layne Cupitt 0.
BERWICK 42: Richard Lawson 14+1, Joe Jacobs 6+1, Dany Gappmaier 6+1, David Howe 5, Georgie Wood 4+3, Jye Etheridge 4+1, Kevin Doolan 3.

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