Monday March 18, 2024
SHEFFIELD get their title defence underway later this week - and co-promoter Damien Bates feels they've given themselves the best chance possible to retain their crown.

The Tru7 Group Tigers head to Oxford for their ROWE Motor Oil Premiership opener on Thursday (March 21, 7.30) for their first league fixture since lifting the top flight trophy last October.

A familiar looking side has been assembled for this term and features seven riders who all represented the Owlerton outfit at some point throughout 2023.

Bates feels the Tigers have got the strongest top five in the division as well as two of the UK's brightest prospects at reserve.

“It’s one of the easiest teams I’ve ever managed to put together,” Bates said.

“It was all done, sorted and sealed so early as well and I’m more than happy with the seven riders we’ve got at Sheffield again this year.

"We’ve got two top level, world class riders leading the team in Jack (Holder) and Tai (Woffinden) and they’re backed up by three quality riders in Chris Holder, who's a former World Champion, Josh Pickering and Kyle (Howarth).

"Both Jason (Edwards) and Dan (Gilkes) deserve to be back and it should be another exciting year for them because they’re young, they’re improving all the time and they’ll carry on learning from the top five.

"With a top five like we've got, we’ll always have a chance of winning meetings and that takes a bit of pressure off the two reserves but as we saw last year, they are already at a stage where they can score points at this level."

Sheffield will also head to Premiership newcomers Birmingham next Monday (March 25, 7.30) with the first fixture at Owlerton on Thursday, March 28 (7.30) when Oxford are the visitors.

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