Wednesday May 16, 2007
BRUMMIES opened their Premier League account with victory in a nip-and-tuck encounter with Sheffield in appalling conditions at Perry Barr.

Rain fell throughout the televised meeting but the riders of both sides displayed a first-class attitude to get the match through all 15 heats, and the track staff also deserve credit for providing a smooth surface.

Birmingham had the better of the early stages and moved into a 10-1 lead including a 5-0 in Heat 2 when both Sheffield riders were excluded.

But then it was Jason Lyons' turn to hit trouble as the Brummies skipper failed to score from his first two rides - and with new signing Jon Armstrong collecting a very harsh exclusion for exceeding the time allowance in Heat 5, the Tigers moved back into contention.

Sheffield went into a 26-21 lead with four 5-1s in a six race spell, but with Ulrich Ostergaard in outstanding form the Brummies hit back and got to within one point with three heats to go.

The key turning point was Heat 13, which looked to be heading for a 3-3 until Ricky Ashworth stopped on lap three - and Emiliano Sanchez then made his move inside Joel Parsons coming off the final bend, receiving the second-place verdict from referee Ronnie Allan in the closest of decisions.

Armstrong then rode a good race to beat the impressive Ben Wilson in Heat 14, and the hard-working Lee Smart took third to virtually secure the victory.

Brummies still needed to provide a finisher in the last race, and Ostergaard was the man as he collected his fifth straight win, Lyons finishing an eventful night with a fall on the first bend.

BIRMINGHAM: Ulrich Ostergaard 15, Emiliano Sanchez 8+1, Lee Smart 7+1, Jason Lyons 6, Jon Armstrong 5, Aidan Collins 4+1, Ben Powell 2+1.

SHEFFIELD: Ben Wilson 11+1, Andre Compton 9+3, Ricky Ashworth 7+1, Joel Parsons 6+1, James Birkinshaw 5+1, Paul Cooper 4+1, James Cockle 0.

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