Glasgow got their league campaign off to the perfect start with a comfortable win over the reigning champions.
With memories still fresh from Sheffield’s last league visit in 2017 when they won with half a team, Glasgow knew that they had to approach this match with caution, especially after Kyle Howarth withdrew yesterday.
With no guests available it was R/R for the visitors, with Glasgow at full strength.
Chris Harris has struggled this season, especially in his opening ride but he swept round both Sheffield riders to join partner Lewis Kerr in a heat one 5-1.
Former Glasgow rider Jack Smith took heat 2, with James Shanes passing James Sarjeant for third, almost catching Jack Thomas to cut the deficit in half.
They drew level in heat 3 before their third 4-2 in a row in heat 4 put them two up. Shanes again coming from the back for the third place.
It looked like it would stay that way after Paul Starke missed the start in heat 5 but in a brilliant race he first picked off Todd Kurtz before passing Lasse Bjerre with a neat cut back to join Claus Vissing for a 5-1.
Any thoughts the home men had of extending their lead were tempered with Jack Smith giving Lewis Kerr a first bend nudge to send him to the back, where he stayed, Harris winning heat 6.
Glasgow then began to take charge of the meeting with two successive 4-2s before a nasty crash in heat 9, with Starke and Smith, saw the Sheffield man excluded and Starke looking very second hand. After a delay to repair the fence, Wright won the re-run with Starke completing the race but looking far from fit.
Glasgow then pulled away with two 5-1s and a 4-2 to lead by 16 going into heat 13.
Wright made the start in that race but a superb inside pass by Harris entering the second lap saw him lead and create a gap for partner Richie Worrall to follow suit for an unassailable 20 point lead.
Then followed a bizarre heat 14 in which both Glasgow riders found themselves excluded under two minutes despite both being at the tapes! James Sarjeant had appeared with the wrong helmet cover on and in the confusion in trying to change it, Jack Thomas ended up with his being changed instead and then the two riders lined up in the wrong gates. The two minutes had long passed by this stage and both were thrown out. Sarjeant having to go off 15m as the lone home man in the re-run. Sheffield took full advantage with a 5-1.
Harris was looking for a paid maximum in heat 15 and for two bends he had it but Wright had managed to get around the wide riding Worrall and passed Harris down the back straight, the home man thinking it was his partner.
All in all an entertaining match with two stand out heats (5 and 13) and a bizarre double exclusion which luckily had no bearing on the match, although it would be hoped lessons are learned for the future!
It was great to see both Chris Harris and Richie Worrall hit some form, whilst Claus Vissing again impressed as did Lewis Kerr. The visitors sorely missed Howarth with R/R only gaining 3 points and with him in the side it would’ve been much closer, especially as Charles Wright was on form for the Yorkshire Tigers.
So Glasgow get off the mark with 3 points, although they will have to wait for their next league match as it’s a return to Shield duty next Sunday, where a win could seal their semi-final spot.
Glasgow Tigers 53 Sheffield Tigers 37 SGBC 4/5/2018 Glasgow Tigers Chris Harris 2* 3 3 3 2 13 + 1 Lewis Kerr 3 0 3 2* 8 + 1 Claus Vissing 2 3 2 3 10 Paul Starke 0 2* 1* 3 + 2 Richie Worrall 2 3 3 2* 1* 11 + 2 Jack Thomas 2 0 1 X2 X2 3 James Sarjeant 0 XT 1 1 2* 1 5 + 1 Sheffield Tigers Kyle Howarth R/R (3) Todd Kurtz 1 0 2 0 0 3 Lasse Bjerre 3 1 2 1 1 0 8 Jan Graversen 1 0 0 2* 3 + 1 Charles Wright 0 3 2 3 2 1 3 14 Jack Smith 3 1* X 0 4 + 1 James Shanes 1 1 0 3 5 Heat 1 - Lewis Kerr ; Chris Harris ; Todd Kurtz ; Charles Wright ; 58.7 (5-1)(5-1) Heat 2 - Jack Smith ; Jack Thomas ; James Shanes ; James Sarjeant ; 59.9 (2-4)(7-5) Heat 3 - Lasse Bjerre ; Claus Vissing ; Jan Graversen ; Paul Starke ; 60.1 (2-4)(9-9) Heat 4 - Charles Wright ; Richie Worrall ; James Shanes ; Jack Thomas ; James Sarjeant (XT); 59.26 (2-4)(11-13) Heat 5 - Claus Vissing ; Paul Starke ; Lasse Bjerre ; Todd Kurtz ; 59.0 (5-1)(16-14) Heat 6 - Chris Harris ; Charles Wright ; Jack Smith ; Lewis Kerr ; 58.8 (3-3)(19-17) Heat 7 - Richie Worrall ; Lasse Bjerre ; Jack Thomas ; Jan Graversen ; 59.74 (4-2)(23-19) Heat 8 - Lewis Kerr ; Todd Kurtz ; James Sarjeant ; James Shanes ; 59.45 (4-2)(27-21) Heat 9 - (re-run)Charles Wright ; Claus Vissing ; Paul Starke ; Jack Smith(X) ; 59.24 (3-3)(30-24) Heat 10 - Chris Harris ; Lewis Kerr ; Lasse Bjerre ; Jan Graversen ; 59.36 (5-1)(35-25) Heat 11 - Richie Worrall ; Charles Wright ; James Sarjeant ; Todd Kurtz ; Jack Thomas (x2) 59.11 (4-2)(39-27) Heat 12 - Claus Vissing ; James Sarjeant ; Lasse Bjerre ; Jack Smith ; 60.1(5-1)(44-28) Heat 13 - (re-run)Chris Harris ; Richie Worrall ; Charles Wright ; Todd Kurtz; 59.46(5-1)(49-29) Heat 14 - James Shanes ; Jan Graversen; James Sarjeant (15m, 2mins); Jack Thomas(x2); 60.3(1-5)(50-34) Heat 15 - Charles Wright ; Chris Harris ; Richie Worrall ; Lasse Bjerre ; 59.45 (3-3)(53-37)