Patched up Rockets show their steel

PUBLISHED: 11:06 01 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 04 March 2010

Premier League

Rye House Rockets 52 Sheffield 38

A PATCHED-up Silver Ski Rockets side withstood tremendous Sheffield pressure to claim all three match points on Saturday.

Premier League

Rye House Rockets 52 Sheffield 38

A PATCHED-up Silver Ski Rockets side withstood tremendous Sheffield pressure to claim all three match points on Saturday.

It was a Premier League fixture filled with drama, hard racing and numerous falls. With both sides operating rider-replacement and the reserves given extra outings, there were additional delays for riders facing two races in succession, but the wait was ultimately worth it.

In the final analysis, another big night for Luke Bowen and a captain's innings from Chris Neath tipped the balance in Rye's favour.

Their performances compensated for a frustrating night for guest Carl Stonehewer, who was replacing the injured Robert Mear.

Hoddesdon is rarely a happy hunting ground for the Tigers, whose last two visits alone have produced 61-32 (2008) and 69-23 (Championship Final, 2007) maulings.

This time was different, however, as sparkling performances from Ricky Ashworth and former Elmside Raider Joel Parsons kept them in close contention for most of the meeting.

The visitors from Yorkshire opened with a bang, courtesy of a 5-1 from Ashworth and Paul Cooper after Stonehewer had been forced out to the fence in heat one.

The Rockets immediately replied with a maximum of their own from Bowen and Andrew Silver.

Rye House then took the lead with a similar score from Swede Linus Sundstrom and Hi Ho Silver in heat four.

John Sampford's men maintained their pressure to bring the progressive scores back level at heat eight.

By then, spectators had also witnessed the drama of Chris Neath's late overhaul of Joel Parsons to claim heat three just before Bowen fell while holding third.

Richard Hall hit the deck while leading the next race and Tommy Allen's return from the sidelines was rewarded with a heat six victory that compensated for another tumble, this time from Stonehewer.

Silver's win over a persistent Josh Auty in heat nine nudged Rye ahead again at 28-26.

The Bowen 747 doubled that advantage with a marvellous pass of the previously unbeaten Ashworth in heat 11.

It was the first of no less than four consecutive outings for the Harlow-based racer, and his second and last were as part of critical 5-1s alongside Neath that pulled the Rockets clear when it mattered most.

Another win by Neath in the nominated race, with Sundstrom snatching third spot from Joel Parsons, gave the Rockets further breathing space in the final scoreline, but the reality was a tense, bruising battle with no quarter asked and none given.

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