Tuesday September 26, 2017
TIGERS hero Kyle Howarth admitted it was “impossible” to celebrate qualifying for their second successive Championship Play-Off final.

The Steel City side produced a battling display to lose by only three points in the semi-final second leg at Glasgow last night.

But it was at a huge cost after they lost Josh Bates in Heat 3 and Josh Grajczonek in Heat 5 with almost identical heavy crashes on an icy third turn at Ashfield.

Not only that but the meeting was abandoned after Heat 12 when Lasse Bjerre fell in front and Alfie Bowtell close behind had nowhere to go but clip him.

Thankfully Bjerre walked away from the nasty incident and is OK. But Howarth admits there is real concern for the two Joshs with the Play-Off final with Ipswich just 48 hours away.

He revealed: “It’s a hard one to swallow. Obviously we are not celebrating, that’s impossible. We just want to know how the other boys are.

“It’s hard to know how to feel until we know how they are for Thursday. All I do know is that we battled on brilliantly tonight to get through.

“It’s just as well we had a big lead otherwise it could have been tricky. But we’ve got a great spirit and we’ll keep battling.”

In truth it was over as a contest very early in proceedings. Richard Lawson won the opener but just one race later and the Steel City Tigers were well and truly in control after a 5-0 in Heat 2 after Alfie Bowtell and then James Sarjeant were excluded.

Then came the drama as Bates crashes out of Heat 3 and then Grajczonek in Heat 5. After a further 20-minute delay, Tigers team boss Simon Stead had to call a swift team talk to discuss with the remaining five riders how to cope with missing the Josh duo.

But remarkably, Tigers showed terrific spirit to stay just three points adrift after Heat 11 and hitting the magic 90-point mark.

GLASGOW 34: Aaron Summers 10+1, Richie Worrall 8+1, Richard Lawson 7, James Sarjeant 6, Mason Campton 2, Alfie Bowtell 1, Dan Bewley r/r

SHEFFIELD 31: Kyle Howarth 10, Jan Graversen 6+2, Lasse Bjerre 6, Todd Kurtz 4+1, Georgie Wood 4, Josh Grajczonek 1+1, Josh Bates 0
Abandoned after 11 heats due to curfew and lack of medical cover – Result STANDS
Sheffield win on aggregate 90-65

Picture: IAN ADAM

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