Thursday June 01, 2017
SHEFFIELD successfully overturned a four-point first leg deficit to dump Edinburgh out of the Knockout Cup at Owlerton on Thursday.

The Tigers progressed with a 96-84 aggregate triumph after sealing an impressive 53-37 home win in the second leg.

A 5-1 in the opener from Josh Grajczonek and Todd Kurtz saw the overall scores tied once more and four further advantages in the next seven races would see the Tigers move in front by 10.

While the Monarchs edged their way back into contention with a 4-2 in heat 13, Rob Branford and Josh Bates reversed that scoreline in the penultimate heat to book a place in the next round for the Owlerton outfit.

Team manager Simon Stead said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the boys once again because beating Edinburgh over two legs is no easy task.

"It was always going to be important to hit them hard early and thankfully we managed to do just that.

"The lads knuckled down from the off and I couldn't have asked for too much more from them.

"They knew what they'd got to do to get the job done and we're delighted to be progressing in this competition.

"For me, the key difference was probably Rob (Branford) at reserve.

"He rode his heart out tonight and his contribution was very welcome - we'd just like to see that on a more consistent basis now.

"The end scoreline doesn't reflect how hard Edinburgh pushed us because some of their riders go really well around our place and there was some great racing tonight."

Sheffield No.1 Josh Grajczonek continued his stunning run of form, dropping just one point to Edinburgh skipper Sam Masters in heat 13. It means Grajczonek has now won 17 out of his last 22 races at Owlerton.

Rob Branford returned his best score of the campaign, leading home three crucial heat advantages for the Tigers.

Lasse Bjerre again demonstrated how settled he is at his new home with another double figure contribution while captain Kyle Howarth provided solid back-up also.

Todd Kurtz and Josh Bates both made outside manoeuvres to secure paid wins while it was another tough night of learning for teenager Jack Parkinson-Blackburn at reserve.

The Tigers head to Scotland to face the Monarchs in the SGB Championship on Friday (June 2, 7.30).

A full meeting preview will be issued on Friday morning.

SHEFFIELD 53: Josh Grajczonek 14, Lasse Bjerre 11+2, Rob Branford 11, Kyle Howarth 7+1, Todd Kurtz 5+2, Josh Bates 5+1, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 0.

EDINBURGH 37: Sam Masters 11, Ricky Wells 7+1, Erik Riss 5+1, Max Clegg 4+1, Mitchell Davey 4, Josh Pickering 4, Mark Riss 2.
Sheffield win 96-84 on aggregate.

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