Thursday October 26, 2006
SHEFFIELD Pirtek Tigers' Premier League title hopes are still alive after a sensational end to Thursday's first leg of the Grand Final.

Tigers trailed by one point against King's Lynn with four heats to go, but put together an amazing run of four consecutive 5-1s to leave themselves with a 15-point advantage.

And the hero of the hour was 16-year-old Tai Woffinden who produced the performance of his young career so far with 14 points, beaten in only one of his five rides.

The early stages of the meeting were nip-and-tuck but Tigers managed to move themselves eight points clear with a Woffinden/Ben Wilson 5-1 in a re-run Heat 8 after Chris Mills had fallen heavily.

But the tie seemed to swing hugely back in Lynn's favour during the next two races, firstly in a calamitous Heat 9 which saw Emiliano Sanchez falling on the first lap, and then Kyle Legault suffer engine failure at the end of the third lap.

When Batchelor and Kevin Doolan headed home Wilson and Ricky Ashworth in Heat 10, King's Lynn led on the night and Sheffield's hopes were dramatically receding.

But the last four races, which took place in an atmosphere which became more and more electric, saw Tigers turn a one-point deficit into a 15-point lead thanks to two race wins from Woffinden and 5-1s from the Andre Compton/Ashworth combination.

The second leg takes place at King's Lynn on Friday - but Tigers are unable to call up the spectacular Woffinden due to the Conference League Final at Plymouth, so Mark Thompson takes his place.

Skipper Andre Compton said: "Several of the boys had a few mechanical problems early on but we got through it to finish well, and I am happy to be taking a 15-point lead to King's Lynn."

Sheffield: Tai Woffinden 14, Andre Compton 12+1, Ricky Ashworth 9+2, Ben Wilson 6+1, Kyle Legault 5+1, Emiliano Sanchez 4+1, Paul Cooper 2+1.

King's Lynn: Daniel Nermark 9, Kevin Doolan 6+2, Troy Batchelor 6, Tomas Topinka 6, Chris Mills 5, Trevor Harding 3+1, John Oliver 2+1.

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