King's Lynn Stars lose at home as Sheffield Tigers record first away win of campaign
Josh Pickering was the unlikely hero as Sheffield picked up their first away win of the campaign, 41-49 at the King’s Lynn Stars, in the two sides’ initial 2021 Adrian Flux Arena Premiership clash tonight (Monday, August 2).
Lynn were denied aiming for a second home win in a row versus Sheffield who were the team immediately above their basement hosts – and the Tigers hauled a maximum four league points to go level with Ipswich despite losing the services of Adam Ellis in a Heat 9 tumble.
Pickering gave seasoned pros like Richard Lawson a run for their money and sensationally passed Thomas Jorgensen at the start of the final lap of the final heat of meeting littered with thrills and errors.
New Lynn number one Lawson sped from the tapes to win an opening 3-3 heat while team-mate Ricky Wells won the next reserves’ race, with Connor Mountain in third as Lynn took an early 7-5 lead.
Home skipper Lewis Kerr took advantage of a turn four error by ex-Lynn rider Troy Batchelor to take Heat 3 in a second shared result.
Jorgensen pounced on another Tigers mistake, this time by Ellis on the first straight of lap three to maintain a 3-3.
But the visitors went ahead by registering the first 5-1 maximum of the night, from Pickering and Jack Holder over Erik Riss and Kerr.
Referee Mick Bates warned Ellis in a restarted Heat 6 to remain still at the tapes. This did not faze Ellis who extended their lead via a 4-2 with new signing Stefan Nielsen in the third. Lynn's Cameron Heeps retired on lap two.
Jorgensen notched a second victory to momentarily stem an away resurgence before Sheffield roared again for a second 5-1 from Pickering and Nielsen - on a reserve switch by manager Simon Stead - to lead 20-28 at the halfway stage.
Ellis fell on the final bend to let in Kerr and Riss on a first home 5-1, but Sheffield led by six thanks to away skipper Kyle Howarth recording his first victory by beating Lawson, and a third place by Batchelor. Heeps managed his fourth scoreless outing in a row: an ‘Audi’.
Following some track grading, Alex Brady replaced Mountain with tactical sub Lawson but this rebounded on the Lynn team boss.
‘Wild card’ Pickering, rumoured to be of interest to Lynn in the winter, brilliantly passed both Lawson and Jorgensen to follow Holder home in the Tigers’ third maximum.
It was announced that Ellis had withdrawn with a knee injury picked up in that earlier fall.
Mountain replaced Wells in Heat 12 when Riss took advantage of another Batchelor error to grab first in a 3-3.
Lynn’s slim hopes faded when, with Hume in for Ellis, Lawson and Jorgensen got in each other’s way coming out of the first bend and Holder sped away to win a shared Heat 13.
Nielsen was excluded from the penultimate heat for both his wheels crossing the white line, and Kerr/Mountain followed Howarth to the flag.
Sheffield needed to avoid a 5-1 to grab all four league points. Pickering’s seat-of-the-pants ride ensured that by passing Jorgensen, while Lawson took victory and Howarth was last.
Next are tough trips to the top two. On Thursday Lynn travel to Peterborough and on Monday they head to Wolves.
Minors and Brady Stars: Richard Lawson 12, Cameron Heeps 0, Erik Riss 6+1, Lewis Kerr (captain) 8, Thomas Jorgensen 9+1, Connor Mountain 2+1, Ricky Wells 4.
Sheffield Tigers: Jack Holder 9+2, Josh Pickering 12+1, Troy Batchelor 7, Kyle Howarth (capt.) 8+2, Adam Ellis 5 (withdrew), Stefan Nielsen 6+2, Danyon Hume 2+1.