|Sheffield PIRTEK 'Tigers' v Rye House 'Rockets'||P.T. semi-final||16th June|
|Robbie Kessler (g)||8.85||1||2'||3||1'||7+2|
|Richard Hall r/r||6.90||-||-||-||-||(6+1)|
|Rye House 'Rockets'||(66)||5||10||12||14||17||18||21||24||25||26||30||33||36||36||39||105|
|Brent Werner ©||7.88||2||1'||0||1'||4+2|
The home team were caught out in the opening heats by an over watered track which punished anyone foolish enough to try the outside lines. Robbie Kessler was leading heat 1 until he went too wide on the last lap and fell on the second turn, but with Paul Cooper already forced out with yet more machine problems Robbie was able to remount and claim the odd point. The Rye reserves made a speedy getaway in heat 2 and even super reserve Ben Wilson couldn't make an impression. Ricky trapped and never looked like being troubled in heat 3 and Paul Cooper picked up a point by passing Danny King on the 3rd turn. André was the next to find passing a problem. He had no trouble rounding Chris Neath but couldn't find a way past Trevor until he was waved through at the end of lap 3. Seconds later race leader Tommy Allen made a huge mistake on the second turn and bounced off the fence letting André through for a fluke win. Ricky was the convincing winner in heat 5 but Ben was having all manner of problems at the back, especially on the first turn where he was losing yards every lap.
Cooperman made a lovely first turn to take the lead in heat 6 and Herr Flick did a great job to fend off the Rye pair for the first couple of laps, and although Ben continued to struggle the match remained delicately balanced with André winning heat 7. Ed Kennett trapped to win heat 8 from Trevor and Paul succeeded with a rare outside pass on the pits turn on the 3rd lap to depose Tommy Allen. Ricky continued his dominance winning heat 9 and Ben suddenly looked more the part moving from last to second with a sweet inside pass on the third turn. Steve Boxall passed the appalling Chris Neath on the last lap. Robbie trapped to win heat 10 with Paul catching Danny in the dying throes as his rear tyre went flat to extended the home lead to eight points with a maximum 5-1.
The Tigers looked set for another 5-1 in heat 11 with André and Ben leading down the back straight. By the time Ben reached the fourth turn he was last, and then André pulled out with a flat tyre. Ben did give chase and squeezed past Ed on the run to the flag to snatch second. Ricky completed his programmed rides with his fourth straight win in heat 12 but Trevor was passed by both Brent and the lively looking Steve Boxall to maintain their massive aggregate lead. After a sluggish start in heat 13 André picked his way through the field passing Steve Boxall on the first lap, and Robbie at the start of lap 3 before just failing to catch Stuart Robson by less than half a wheel on the run to the finish line. Danny King was excluded from heat 14 after his bike caught fire on the start line, but replacement Steve Boxall sped into an early lead. Ricky passed him with a wide swoop around the second turn on lap 2 and Ben sliced under him on the next corner to set up the 5-1, only for Tommy Allen to fall at the back on the third turn. He quickly cleared the track only for Steve to suffer a similar fate when his front wheel went from under him on the second bend. After a quick check over Steve was able to walk back to the pits. Ben's lead in heat 15 lasted only as far as the third bend and Stuart easily had the legs to keep ahead of hard chasing André.
The fast starting Rockets gave the Tigers a fright in the opening heats and banished memories of their dismal performance in 2004. André was not on top form but Ricky's best performance of the season made amends for that. Robbie rode well after his first heat fall but both Sheffield reserves were struggling. Paul Cooper's bike rattled like a tin of old nails and forced him out of heat 1, and onto a spare he'd only collected at 4pm. that afternoon, an ex-Ronnie Correy machine, set up for Wolverhampton and which he intended trying after the match. Looks like he might be buying it after all...!
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