Saturday April 20, 2019
SHEFFIELD were left to rue a series of dropped points as they fell to a 47-41 defeat at Leicester.

Tigers arrived in the East Midlands needing a win to keep hopes of topping their Championship Shield group alive.

But instead they were left to settle for a last gasp consolation point as Leicester sealed first place in the Northern section.

It could prove to be a crucial point though as they now aim to finish best runners-up from across the three groups upon completion of the first round fixtures.

This was a meeting that Tigers could and arguably should’ve won though.

Drew Kemp made a flyer in Heat One and drifted both Scott Nicholls and Ellis Perks wide, creating a gap for No.1 Danny King to come through into second.

But sat on a 5-1, Kemp slid off on bend three and the hosts registered a 4-2 in the re-run.

There was more drama in the second as reserve Zaine Kennedy came down on the last lap while leading as Tigers gifted Leicester a second heat advantage.

But Sheffield regrouped and really took it to a Leicester side who have been dominant at the Paul Chapman and Sons Arena in the opening weeks of the season.

Tigers fought back on more than one occasion mid-meeting as the lead flitted between both sides.

But back-to-back races went in the favour of Leicester in 12 and 13 as they opened up a five-point gap.

Tigers found themselves on a big 5-1 in the penultimate race though until a hard, yet fair, move from home man Ryan Douglas caught Broc Nicol out who then lost control before taking an alarming tumble.

And after Douglas himself crashed spectacularly in the re-run, a second 3-2 of the evening meant Tigers needed a massive stroke of luck in the last.

And while that didn’t come their way, a sheer amount of grit and class from skipper Kyle Howarth saw him scrape the air fence for two whole laps before passing home captain Scott Nicholls on the line for that potentially important group point.

And despite suffering a fourth straight defeat on the road, Tigers boss Simon Stead says he was proud of his side.

“Of course we’re disappointed not to end up with more but as a team we should be proud of how close we’ve pushed a strong Leicester side tonight,” Stead said.

“There are so many positives we can take from this meeting and for me right now that’s all I want to focus on.

“Every single one of our boys worked their socks off and I’ve seen a lot effort, a lot of grit and a lot of determination from all of them.

“We’ve again had points in places that have been struggling in some of the meetings and it was a genuinely good team effort.

“With a little bit more luck, and for me it was only luck, the result should’ve been a little bit different.

“But we’ve picked up a point on the road against a team who’ve already had some big wins at home and I think we’ve taken another step in the right direction as a team tonight.”

Sheffield host Leicester at Owlerton in the final group fixture on Sunday (4pm) - a full press release will be issued on the morning of the meeting.

LEICESTER 47: Richie Worrall 11+1, Scott Nicholls 10, Ryan Douglas 9, Connor Mountain 8+1, Josh Bates 5, Ellis Perks 4, Jack Thomas 0.
SHEFFIELD 41: Kyle Howarth 11, Ty Proctor 10+1, Kasper Andersen 7+1, Danny King 7, Broc Nicol 4, Drew Kemp 1, Zaine Kennedy 1.

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