Depleted Scorpions go down fighting
SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 43 SHEFIFELD TIGERS 49 (PREMIER LEAGUE)
A GRANDSTAND FINISH from Henderson Insurance Scunthorpe Scorpions wasn’t quite enough, as they lost 43-49 at home to local rivals Sheffield Tigers at the Eddie Wright Raceway yesterday evening (Sunday).
With new signing Andreas Lyager ruled out through illness and only a junior replacement (Buxton’s Ryan Burton) permitted, Scorpions looked up against it versus a Sheffield side of EWR track specialists, who had dominated the British Semi-Final at the track just nine days before.
The visitors led 37-25 with five races to go, and looked set for an easy victory. But then came an extraordinary final five races, after which Scunthorpe can consider themselves unlucky not to end up with any points.
In Heat 11, previously unbeaten visiting No 1 Simon Stead found himself passed by both Scorpions’ guest Stefan Nielsen (who proved a fine replacement for the injured Carl Wilkinson) and Ryan Douglas, and all three riders were almost three abreast, when Nielsen locked up slightly on the third bend of the third lap, and Douglas was unable to avoid him, and both came crashing down.
The race was awarded 3-3, with Nielsen excluded, and a golden chance for a 5-1 was lost. Of more concern, was the health of Douglas & Nielsen, but both eventually got to their feet, with Nielsen in particular being down for a while, having hurt his leg.
The crowd were somewhat amazed to learn that Nielsen was coming into Heat 12 for a reserve ride! Kyle Howarth had previously registered four wins, but a brilliant opening half lap from Nielsen saw him seize the initiative, while Alex Davies won a thundering battle for second with Howarth, as Scorpions hit back with a 5-1. Nielsen fell off on his return to the pits, no longer being able to hang onto his bike. But he still wasn’t finished!
Another maximum followed in Heat 13, as Josh Auty produced a simply amazing final lap of speedway. In last place, he threw himself into a non-existent gap between the Tigers on the back straight and got ahead of Simon Stead. He then passed Dimitri Berge on the line in a photo-finish to join Douglas for a 5-1 and bring the house down.
The amazing Nielsen won his third race of the day in Heat 14, but Michael Palm Toft suffered a problem with his cut-off and a chance of a 5-1 was lost.
Scorpions needed a 5-1 in Heat 15 to draw, but Davies was dragged into the tapes by his clutch. Reserve Nielsen replaced him in the re-run, but his seventh ride of the meeting proved one too many. Stead won a race-long battle with Douglas, while the Australian’s second place was enough to deny the visitors a fourth league point.
Scorpions’ team manager Dave Peet said: “The lads never dropped their heads and just stuck at it. With a bit more luck, we could have got something from this meeting.
“It was unfortunate that Stefan and Ryan came together, because that was going to be a 5-1 over Simon Stead. Tofty’s cut-out came out in Heat 14 and I felt that was his race to win. With luck, we could have taken four 5-1s on the bounce.
“If you looked at the line-ups before the start of the meeting, no-one would have given us a prayer, as everyone knows how good Sheffield are around here, while we had riders missing.
“I think we showed what determination that our riders have. We’ve lost, but we certainly haven’t disgraced ourselves, by any means.
“Stefan Nielsen was a fantastic guest. I told him before Heat 11 that he would have two on the trot. I spoke to him while he was down on the track, telling that I no longer expected him to do Heat 12, but he said he’d do it. He got the paramedic to check over his left leg, went out in the next race and beat Kyle Howarth. Stefan was battered and bruised, no doubt, but got back on his bike and did the business.
“Josh Auty’s ride in Heat 13 was amazing and he wasn’t quite sure himself how he got through that gap. Josh still felt his bike was missing power today, yet still got past two riders on the final lap. That again demonstrates the fighting spirit that these lads have got.
“If you look at it, had Andreas been here and scored four points, then we would have won. We’ve still got one or two little problems but we’re getting there.”
HENDERSON INSURANCE SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 43
1. Josh Auty 1 2 1 2* (6+1)
2. Ryan Burton (Guest) 0 F 0 (0)
3. Alex Davies 1* 0 2 2* TX (5+2)
4. Michael Palm Toft 2 1 1* R (4+1)
5. Ryan Douglas 3 4# 3 3 2 (15)
6. Stefan Nielsen (Guest) 2 1* 3 FX 3 3 0 (12+1)
7. Josh Bailey 0 1 0 (1)
SHEFFIELD TIGERS 49
1. Simon Stead 3 2* 3 2 0 3 (13+1)
2. Dimitri Berge 2* 3 2 1* 1 (9+2)
3. Kyle Howarth 3 3 3 3 1 1 (14)
4. Josh Bates 0 2 R 2* 2 (6+1)
5. Jason Garrity R/R
6. Arthur Sissis 3 1 0 0 (4)
7. Nathan Greaves 1 0 1* 1* (3+2)
# = tactical ride
1: Stead, Berge, Auty, Burton, 57.38 (1-5) (1-5).
2: Sissis, Nielsen, Greaves, Bailey, 57.69 (2-4) (3-9).
3: Howarth, Davies, Palm Toft, Bates, 57.62 (3-3) (6-12).
4: Douglas, Bates, Bailey, Greaves, 57.50 (2-4) (10-14).
5: Berge, Stead, Palm Toft, Davies, 57.87 (1-5) (11-19).
6: (Re-run) Howarth, Auty, Sissis. Burton (fell), 57.43 (2-4) (13-23).
7: Howarth, DOUGLAS (TR), Nielsen. Bates (ret), 57.63 (5-3) (18-26).
8: Nielsen, Berge, Greaves, Bailey, 58.13 (3-3) (21-29).
9: Stead, Davies, Palm Toft, Sissis, 58.00 (3-3) (24-32).
10: Howarth, Bates, Auty, Burton, 58.19 (1-5) (25-37).
11: Douglas, Stead, Berge, Nielsen (fell, excluded), awarded – no time (3-3) (28-40).
12: Nielsen, Davies, Howarth, Sissis, 58.62 (5-1) (33-41).
13: Douglas, Auty, Berge, Stead, 58.62 (5-1) (38-42).
14: Nielsen, Bates, Greaves, Palm Toft (ret), 58.87 (3-3) (41-45).
15: (Re-run) Stead, Douglas, Howarth, Nielsen, Davies (excluded, tape touching), 58.94 (2-4) (43-49).