|Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers v Stoke 'Easy Rider' Potters||Premier League||12th September|
|Paul Thorp (g)||9.69||2||2||0||4|
|Andrew Moore r/r||7.30||-||-||-||-||(8+2)|
|Benji Compton (g)||5.50||1'||1||f||-||-||3|
|André Compton ©||8.79||3||3||3||9|
|Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers||(30)||3||8||12||17||19||22||27||32||36||39||43||44||74|
|Paul Pickering r/r||9.02||-||-||-||(8)|
|Jan Stæchmann ©||9.18||0||3||4*||2||9|
Sheffield 6 had obviously suffered more from the rain than other parts of Sheffield and the track looked rather greasy right from the start. It seems the Stoke riders led by Jan Stæchmann didn't even want to start the meeting. Robbie Kessler trapped to lead heat 1 and although Paul Thorp tried an outside pass Robbie had his head down. At the back Benji Compton (Conference League replacement for the absent Richard Hall) made light of the conditions to swoop around Trent Leverington on the second turn of lap 2 to share the heat. The Sheffield reserves both made good starts to lead heat 2 and although Paul Clews caught up with Ben he didn't seem prepared to attempt a pass. Ricky was away quickly to win heat 3 from Alan Mogridge but heat 1 winner Robbie Kessler lost the drift and became another victim of the impressive Benji Compton, again on the second bend of lap 2. Jan Stæchmann seemed disinterested in proceedings in heat 4 so it was left to Paul Clews to take the fight to the Tigers, but skipper André took it upon himself to shepherd Ben home and did a masterful job of defending the outside line, especially on the third turn to keep Ben in second place. Certainly the best bit of defensive team riding I've seen for some time.
Ricky was stitched up on the first turn in heat 5 and although he recovered he never looked like catching Moggo, and Benji tried just a little too hard this time overcooking it on the third bend. Jan got the drop on Thorpy to win heat 6, albeit in the slowest time so far, but André won the next heat in a time three seconds faster(!) and with James holding off Moggo before majestically swooping around Robbie K on the last bend it was hard to understand why the referee was asked to do a track inspection. A big cheer went up when subsequently the two minute warning siren sounded, and another when James and Ben posted another 5-1 to extend our lead to 16 points. Heat 9 finished as a 4-4 with Jan finishing second in the black & white helmet colour, and although Ricky won heat 10 Paul Thorp struggled at the back as the two ex-Sheffield riders ahead of him rode high and wide.
The battle of the two skippers went André's way but despite the rain easing to slightly more than drizzle James just failed to demote Jan, but not through lack of effort. Robbie was given a tactical ride in heat 12 and shot from the start like a scalded hare with Paul Clews right on his back wheel. That James was unable to do anything about it was perhaps sufficient evidence that conditions had deteriorated further. The 8-1 to Stoke meant the bonus point was unreachable so the second track inspection was a mere formality and the public were sent home short changed. Track conditions were below our usual standard but I would have thought that would have favoured our visitors who are used to that.
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