CHARLES Wright was full of praise for the Sandy Lane home crowd after Oxford Spires secured back-to-back victories.

Spires began the Premiership season with a 47-43 win at home against Birmingham Brummies, and reinforced that with another victory by the same scoreline, this time against defending champions Sheffield Tigers.

The Tigers are considered by many as the favourites once more this season, with a side which includes three-time world champion Tai Woffinden, the 2012 world champion Chris Holder, and current world number four Jack Holder.

However, it was the Spires who were 10 points clear at the interval (35-25), before holding on after Tigers’ top stars reduced the deficit in the closing stages.

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Wright shrugged off a nasty fall suffered against Birmingham, to win three successive races and top score for Spires with 11 points.

He said: “The most important thing is that we beat Sheffield. They’re a strong team and the reigning champions, so it was a very good win for us.

“We’ve got two wins at home and that’s what we want to keep doing. It’s about winning your home meetings and then winning away when you can.

“For the first meeting, the track was hit by rain and that wasn’t ideal for us, but we still won it against Birmingham and then we showed what we can do against Sheffield.

“Sheffield have some good riders, but I don’t look who I’m against in each race. I just focus on my job in each race, which is to go out and try to win it and I did that a few times, so I’m happy.

“The track was good, but it had changed by Heat 15. The temperature had dipped by then and my tyre was cold. It was like trying to ride on a sheet of ice going into the corner because of that.

“A big thank you to the Oxford fans. We can hear the supporters cheering inside our helmets at the start of the race. They are our eighth man and we appreciate it.”

Against Sheffield, Lewis Kerr connected with the fence in Heat 7, but carried on with a groin injury to produce the match-winning 4-2 with skipper Chris Harris in Heat 14.

Team manager Peter Schroeck said: “We knew Sheffield would bring some firepower to the meeting and they did just that.

“They were on it from the start despite not having a practice together, so we had to race hard and respond, which is what the boys did.

“We ran three last places all night, which ultimately has won us the meeting. It was a real team performance and the boys stuck together which I’m pleased to see. Again the support on the terraces was outstanding, which always helps.”