Plymouth Devils dominate Tigers in emphatic league win
Plymouth Devils...55 Sheffield Tigers...38
THEY say revenge is cold, but Plymouth Devils served it up red-hot to stun Sheffield Tigers at St Boniface Arena last night.
Tigers had beaten Devils in their first ever Premier League last season by a single point, but Devils handed out a 17-point drubbing to draw level with Sheffield in the table.
It wasn't just the victory, clinched after Devils had had several meetings off because of the foul weather, it was the manner with which it was inflicted on a Sheffield side still to break their Premier League duck away from home this season.
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Devils started cautiously with captain Ben Barker winning heat one, but Sheffield took the other three points to tie it 3-3.
After that Devils just let loose.
Nicki Glanz won heat two with new Devils signing Robert Ksiezak coming second to give Devils a 5-1 victory and 8-4 lead overall.
It got better in heat three after an accident which put visiting Tiger Chris Schramm out of the action.
Schramm and Cory Gathercole had a coming together on bend one which resulted in Schramm laying prostrate on the track.
Schramm was later withdrawn from the meeting, but bravely took part in the rerun which Gathercole won with Todd Kurtz coming second to give Devils another 5-1 win.
Ricky Wells, a former Devil who opted to sign with Sheffield rather than Plymouth, won heat four as Tigers took a 4-2 win, which cut the deficit to six points, 15-9.
Devils responded by drawing the next two heats to keep their rivals at bay; then Ryan Fisher stole a victory in heat seven with Glanz coming third after the Dane brilliantly rode from the back of the pack.
That gave Devils a 4-2 win and 25-17 lead which they held on to with two 3-3 draws in heats eight and nine.
Heat 10 was a key one for Devils with Barker again playing a captain's role and winning the heat with the ever improving James Holder a close second as Devils took a 12-point, 36-24 lead.
The best moment of the night, particularly as it wrapped up the win for Devils in heat 12, came when Ksiezak, who has struggled at times around St Boniface, won his first ever heat for Plymouth with Gathercole third to give Devils a 4-2 win and 42-33 lead.
Devils: 1 Ben Barker 15 points (full maximum), 2 James Holder 5+1, 3 Cory Gathercole 9, 4 Todd Kurtz 6+2, 5 Ryan Fisher 10+1, 6 Nicki Glanz 4, 7 Robert Ksiezak 6+1
Sheffield: 1 Josef Franc 12+1 points, 2 Hugh Skidmore 5, 3 Chris Schramm (withdrawn) 0, 4 Richard Hall 4, 5 Ricky Wells 7+1, 6 Emiliano Sanchez 7+1, 7 Joe Haines 3+1