Sheffield Match Report and injury update
Kevin Keay has heaped huge praise on gutsy skipper Ben Barker as injury-crippled Redcar are still counting the cost of an outstanding victory over Championship leaders Sheffield. The SG Petch Bears beat the table topping Tigers – so ending a club record 13-match winning run – on Friday, although hopes of an even more unlikely double were washed out yesterday when the South Yorkshire side’s flooded Owlerton Stadium track was deemed unraceable. it left a bitter-sweet feeling in the Bears camp as they would have been without former Sheffield star Jason Garrity, who badly damaged a shoulder during the sides’ notfor-the-feint-hearted clash on Teesside, and severely handicapped by injuries to skipper Barker, Tobias Busch and Jonas B Andersen.
Barker was bravely prepared to battle through the pain barrier and ride at Sheffield, despite having broken his left wrist in a separate but equally spectacular crash on Friday, while German Busch (ankle) and Dane Andersen (hip) are still carrying the scars of pileups the previous week. Yesterday’s return clash was called off early following the enormous amount of rain that fell on Saturday, with a re-staging date set for next Monday, September 18 – the final day before the cut-off for scheduled league matches. This means three away matches on successive nights for the already stretched Bears in a bold bid to still snatch the final play-off place but Keay insists: “It’s got to be good for us as it gives our injury concerns a few more days to heal and we have managed to get them to re-stage it within the cut-off date.
“Sheffield are already assured of a play-off place so didn’t need to do that and we really appreciate their efforts. “Riding three matches in three days – all away – is a tall ask but that reflects the kind of season that Redcar have had. “Ben is one heck of a character. “He had his wrist put in plaster by the hospital after the meeting but turned up at the track the following morning, cut his pot off with an intent to see if he could ride. “We talked him out of practising but he was prepared to give it a go for the sake of the club. “We would have had a lot of trouble replacing him at such short notice and, whatever comments might have been made about his actions, it’s his decision and his life and he is putting the club first. “What else can you do but praise him for that? “it does further show the tremendous team spirit within the
club at the moment.”
That was more than evident on Friday as in-form Sheffield, who had not been beaten since July 12, twice forged a six-point lead, only to be pegged back after a twicerun heat 13. in the first staging, a pulsating opening lap ended with Charles Wright powering under Tigers Josh Grajczonek, seconds before Kyle Howarth took Barker’s front wheel away as they passed under the starting tapes. Howarth was excluded, leaving the Bears skipper to come out on his spare bike and now nursing a fractured wrist and follow Wright home in the rerun for the 5-1 which levelled matters. Busch and Andersen, both still sore from crashes the previous week, then edged the Battling Bears ahead for the first time with another 5-1 in heat 14, before Wright, who dropped just one point all night – to Howarth in heat 4 – and the now-in-much-pain Barker completed the job in the final race. Former Redcar number one Lasse Bjerre managed to split the pair and so wreck the previously unbeaten by an opponent Barker’s maximum hopes, but neither his courage or the enormity of the Teessiders’ fourth successive home victory was lost on their best crowd of the season.
Report courtesy of Keith McGhie and The Gazette