The Belle Vue Aces produced a fine night of speedway at Foxhall Stadium to take a significant advantage into the Premiership Play-Off semi-final second leg against the Ipswich Witches.
The Aces have not secured league silverware since 1993 but look well placed to progress after a strong performance in Suffolk, taking the first leg 52-38.
Having lost Max Fricke to season-ending injuries ahead of the semi-final, Belle Vue’s deep roster showed their skill, with Matej Zagar and Brady Kurtz leading the way.
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The Witches had been narrowly squeezed out of top spot in the regular season table by the Sheffield Tigers, setting up a semi-final against the Aces.
The hosts, powered by 15 points from 2017 World Champion Jason Doyle, had begun well, leading 14-10 after the first four heats.
But the Aces rallied, fighting back to take the lead with a maximum points haul from Heat 8.
Onwards the Manchester-based outfit went, extending their advantage into double figures to close the night 14 points to the good, with guest Craig Cook performing well back in familiar colours having stepped in to aid his old team after Fricke's crash in Poland.
They host the return leg at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday evening.
Sheffield take on the Wolverhampton Wolves in the other semi-final next week.
The first leg will be held in the West Midlands on October 3, before the Tigers host the return leg three days later.
However Sheffield were forced to postpone Thursday evening's Premiership League Cup Final against King's Lynn at Owlerton.
A statement from the Sheffield Tigers said: "Following guidance from South Yorkshire Police, we have been forced to postpone tonight’s Cup Final first leg with King’s Lynn due to a major incident investigation taking place outside the stadium.
"The main Penistone Road outside the stadium was shut off at 9.45pm on Wednesday (September 28) and the road will remain closed until the police have completed their investigation.
"Access to the main stadium entrance is blocked from both directions and with officers on the scene unable to guarantee a time that the road would be reopening, the club have been advised to cancel the fixture."
PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL, 1st leg
IPSWICH 38: Jason Doyle 15, Anders Rowe 7, Danny King 6, Troy Batchelor 4+1, Aaron Summers 3+1, Paul Starke 2, Rohan Tungate 1.
BELLE VUE 52: Matej Zagar 12+1, Brady Kurtz 11+1, Tom Brennan 8, Charles Wright 7, Norick Blodorn 6+3, Craig Cook 5+1, Jye Etheridge 3.
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Stream the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix season live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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