SHEFFIELD 44 WOLVES 46

Thursday May 19, 2022
WOLVERHAMPTON snatched a sensational last-ditch win at Sheffield – but they were left agonisingly short of League Cup Final qualification.

Parrys International Wolves came back from eight points down to win 46-44 at Owlerton, leaving the two sides level at the top of the group on nine points.

But with race points difference then taken into account, the result meant the Tigers were left on +18 with Wolves on +16, as the South Yorkshire side went through by the narrowest of margins.

Wolves made a determined start with Sam Masters beating home No.1 Jack Holder in Heat 1 with Steve Worrall snatching third from Craig Cook – and they were then very unfortunate when Drew Kemp suffered mechanical failure whilst leading Heat 2, with the home side handed a 5-1.

Former Wolves man Kyle Howarth won his opening two rides for the Tigers, who opened up a six-point lead as the meeting approached the halfway stage, whilst Nick Morris and Luke Becker both collected five points from their first two outings.

Worrall was passed by Cook, who made a fine last lap outside move for the win in Heat 8, and the hosts looked to be in control of the meeting with a 4-2 in Heat 10 as Ryan Douglas worked hard for second place between Holder and Cook.

But Wolves then responded strongly and ramped up the tension as Worrall and Masters gated in Heat 11 and held back the challenge of British Champion Adam Ellis to slash the gap to four points.

After a convincing Becker win in Heat 12, Wolves clawed back a 4-2 from Heat 13 as Masters again got the better of Holder, with Morris overcoming Ellis for third place.

But they really needed more than a shared race from Heat 14, which was won by Douglas over the challenging Howarth, and it meant only an unlikely 5-0 from the last race would do – as it would have left the teams with identical group records.

As it was, Morris and Masters raced clear of Holder and Howarth for a 5-1 to give Wolves a win on the night, and see Sheffield beaten for the first time this season, which will give them a major confidence boost for their league campaign, but one which also spelt the ultimate frustration of a Cup exit by a whisker.

Parrys International Wolves skipper Sam Masters said: “To win the meeting here is tough especially with how good Sheffield have been going this year.

“So I’m stoked for the boys with that, they all dug deep, and it’s a good warm-up for the next time we come here.

“I’m happy with the end result - but of course I’m not happy that we didn’t make the final.”

Wolverhampton compete in the first round of the Premiership Pairs at Peterborough on Monday (May 23) before a trip to Ipswich next Thursday (May 26, 7.30).

SHEFFIELD 44: Jack Holder 11, Kyle Howarth 9+1, Connor Mountain 6+2, Craig Cook 5, Tobiasz Musielak 5, Adam Ellis 5, Stefan Nielsen 3+2.

WOLVERHAMPTON 46: Nick Morris 12, Sam Masters 11+3, Steve Worrall 8, Luke Becker 8, Ryan Douglas 6, Joe Thompson 1, Drew Kemp 0.

Picture: CHARLOTTE FLANIGAN

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