|Sheffield PIRTEK 'Tigers' v Isle of Wight Wightlink 'Islanders'||Premier League||30th June|
|Richard Hall r/r||6.90||-||-||-||-||(3)|
|André Compton ©||8.61||3||2||3||2||3||13|
|Craig Boyce ©||9.88||3||3||2||*6||ef||14|
The Islanders are usually good value around Owlerton and this match proved to be no exception. Craig Boyce powered his way into the lead in heat 1 while Jawa mounted Paul Cooper passed Glen Phillips on the third turn to share the heat behind 'old boy' Robbie Kessler, our guest for the evening. Ben Wilson trapped to win heat 2 but after a sluggish start Kyle trailed home last. Steen Jensen was painfully slow, especially into turn 1, but all Kyle's attempts to pass saw him bogged down in the deep wet shale on the outside. Ricky flew from the start to win heat 3 but Paul was again left at the back of the field and struggling for power. André looked comfortable winning heat 4 while Kyle attempted an inside move on Tomas Suchanek on the inside of turn three which he eventually made good on the second turn on the next lap. Ben fell in the deep stuff on the apex of the first and second bends on the first lap of heat 5 earning himself an exclusion, and Boycie easily had Ricky's legs in the restart.
Robbie trapped to take heat 6 but everyone was watching Paul and Aussie Jason Doyle fighting for second place. Paul squeezed through on the inside of turn three, only for Jason to return the complement on the pits turn. Paul grabbed a handful of throttle and found superior drive on the outside of the second turn and made it stick this time to extend the Tigers lead to four points. A poor start to heat 7 saw André having to pass Ben on the pits bend before setting off in pursuit of Ulrich Ostergaard. Leaving it very late André scraped the boards around the last two bends but Ulrich beat him to the line. The Islanders sped into the lead in heat 8 but Paul rounded Kyle on the third turn and gave chase. He couldn't quite pass Glen on the outside of turn two so switched to the inside and passed him on turn three, but Steen was by now in an unassailable lead. Tomas Suchanek led heat 9, briefly. Ben Wilson sliced past entering turn 3 with Ricky hot on his tail. Tomas looked back, saw Ricky about to pass on the inside and instantly turned left causing them to clash with Ricky doing well to stay on. With Jason Doyle making up ground Ricky composed himself and on the next lap went screaming past Tomas on the third turn making no mistake this time. Ulrich trapped to win heat 10 comfortably with Robbie and Paul easily sharing the heat ahead of a pedestrian Krister Marsh to maintain the lead at six points.
André won heat 11 with Boycie passing Ben on the third turn and the lead was getting dangerously close to the nine point mark heralding the onset of tactics. Everyone on the terraces was aware of it, but I wonder if it occurred to anyone in the pits? Obviously the home riders were oblivious as with Ricky leading Kyle found himself sandwiched in a three man scrap for second place in line abreast down the back straight. Something had to give and it was Steen Jensen who took a tumble after bouncing off the fence. The 5-1 in the restart left the Tigers twelve ahead, and Boycie on a tactical in heat 13. Sure enough Craig passed leader Robbie to pick up the full six points and everyone on the terraces was watching for André or Robbie to develop engine problems on the last lap to rule out further tactical moves by the visitors. Guess what? They hadn't been told! So Ulrich was wearing black and white in heat 14 but it was Ben who led down the back straight. Ricky and Ulrich then had some sort of encounter with Ricky throwing in the towel and pulling off the track. Ben was riding his socks off and was obviously giving 110% to keep ahead of the pressing Dane but lost control on the pits bend taking a very heavy spill into the fence. The result was a 0-8 win for the visitors and a one point lead to take into heat 15. Thankfully the home pair made a blistering start, Boycie pulled out on the first lap with engine problems and André went on to win in the fastest time of the night.
A nail biting finish, thanks mainly to tactical ineptitude, but once again the Islanders gave us a good run for our money. Richard Hall put in some laps after the meeting and could be back riding shortly which will take some pressure off the lower end of the team. Hopefully Ben feels no after effects from his heat 14 crash as he assumes the no.2 jacket at Edinburgh with Paul reverting to the reserve berth. Kyle and Paul both struggled the last time we were at Armadale although it remains the only track (other than Owlerton) where Kyle has taken a heat win.
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