Stars win marred by double injury
Premier LeagueKing's Lynn Stars 59 Sheffield Tigers 35KING's Lynn Stars' Premier League win was marred by a double injury blow for the visiting Tigers.
King's Lynn Stars 59 Sheffield Tigers 35
KING's Lynn Stars' Premier League win was marred by a double injury blow for the visiting Tigers.
Josh Auty (neck) and Ricky Ashworth (collarbone) were both taken to hospital for precautionary check-ups after being ruled out of the early Saddlebow action.
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Sheffield officials confirmed following the meeting that both riders had been discharged from hospital after getting the all-clear.
Auty's head-first slam into the bottom boards forced a 20 minute stoppage after Jan Graversen's runaway machine had careered into the luckless youngster.
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Auty was treated trackside before paramedics fitted a neck brace to the British rider, who was stretchered into a waiting ambulance. Lynn's Danish recruit was able to walk away from the frightening spill after picking up drive exiting turn two of heat four.
Ashworth joined his team mate on the sidelines in the next race with what was initially feared to be a broken collarbone injury following a first bend tumble.
Sheffield's remaining four-man team battled manfully against the odds despite being forced to track a single rider per heat at stages during the second half.
Darcy Ward picked his way through the carnage to post a perfect five ride maximum on his first outing in the Stars' number one race jacket.
The Aussie U-21 champion was half a straight clear in the opener - Ward's 58.83 tour threatening Kevin Doolan's Premier League track record (58.30).
Graversen claimed the reserves after Darren Mallett - again deputising for the bruised Kozza Smith - was forced off 15 metres after a late bike change.
Emiliano Sanchez surgically threaded his way past Lynn old boy Chris Mills but found Richard Hall impossible to overhaul.
Auty's horrific tumble forced a lengthy stoppage before his inevitable retirement - Tomas Topinka cashing in on the re-run.
Ashworth hit the shale in the next after Hall had also come to grief in the eventful early stages.
Joel Parsons' brilliant defensive line repelled Linus Eklof as a depleted Sheffield outfit battened down the hatches.
Mallett gated sharply in heat seven but Mills and Hall had too much nous for Lynn's National League racer.
Lone ranger Paul Cooper was a bystander behind Sanchez and Chris Schramm, with Rob Lyon's men making the most of their numerical advantage.
Ward served up fresh box office thrills in heat ten - the 17-year-old almost horizontal in a bid to propel his machine through the shale off the last bend to eclipse Hall.
Sanchez kept his nerve after two false starts before Lynn's old and new guard obliged in heat 13 - Topinka deferring to Ward with a paternal thumbs-up exiting the final turn.
Parsons was the latest Sheffield racer to hit the shale in the penultimate heat before Ward capped his perfect night in the finale.
Stars: Ward 15, Eklof 7+1, Sanchez 8+1, Schramm 10+1, Topinka 13+2, Mallett 2, Graversen 4.
Tigers: Ashworth 0, Mills 4+1, Hall 14, Auty 0, Cooper 4+3, Parsons 13.