Thursday March 21, 2024
SHEFFIELD suffered a narrow 47-43 opening night defeat at Oxford on Thursday.

It was a result which could have been different though in a meeting which had plenty right from the start.

Returning Aussie star Jack Holder was excluded from the first heat for bringing down Oxford No.1 Maciej Janowski - thankfully, captain Kyle Howarth stormed by home man Charles Wright down the back straight of the re-run to take the victory.

Former Tiger Lewis Kerr led another share of the spoils in Heat Two before skipper Chris Harris dived underneath Josh Pickering mid-race in Heat Three, causing the Aussie to pull a locker. Team-mate Chris Holder took evading action and a 4-2 for Sheffield was turned on its head.

The Tigers were then denied a 5-1 in the fourth; Tai Woffinden won the race comfortably but Rising Star Dan Gilkes was passed by Rohan Tungate on the run to the line.

Back-to-back maximums followed for the hosts - the second of which was gifted to them when mechanical gremlins struck for Woffinden, who was again leading, in a defining twist.

Chris Holder recovered from his earlier lay down by taking Heat Seven in a 4-2 with Josh Pickering before Wright claimed two 4-2s for the Spires either side of another win for Woffinden.

After a difficult start, Jack Holder flew back to his usual self to take Heat 11 - and with the Tigers ten points down, boss Simon Stead made his tactical switch.

That saw Chris Holder and Woffinden deliver the 5-1 they needed - despite the latter experiencing a problem with his front wheel mid-race.

Woffinden couldn’t get amongst the scorers in Heat 13 though as Jack Holder made it successive victories.

Oxford clinched the win on the night with a 4-2 in Heat 14 before Woffinden and Jack Holder finished with a 5-1 to put the gap to four with the aggregate point on the line at Owlerton next Thursday (March 28, 7.30).

Before that though, Sheffield have a trip to the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership’s other newcomers Birmingham on Monday (March 25, 7.30).

OXFORD 47: Charles Wright 11, Rohan Tungate 9, Chris Harris 9, Lewi Kerr 7+1, Maciej Janowski 5+3, Nicolai Klindt 5+2, Aston Boughen 1.
SHEFFIELD 43: Tai Woffinden 12, Jack Holder 9+1, Josh Pickering 7, Chris Holder 5+1, Kyle Howarth 5, Jason Edwards 3, Dan Gilkes 2+1.

Share This:   Facebook Twitter