SUCCESS AT A COST FOR PANTHERS

Sunday June 11, 2017
A WELCOME success came at a high price for Peterborough on Sunday.

The 'T Balfe Construction' Panthers roared to a 54-38 triumph against bottom side Berwick at the East of England Arena - their first SGB Championship victory in more than a month and a biggest win of the 2017 season.

And they did it despite being reduced to six riders for much of the meeting following the early exit of reserve Simon Lambert with a suspected broken wrist.

Lambert was clattered by Bandits man Jye Etheridge during the second heat and took no further part as he was taken to hospital

And, with victory already secured, Peterborough were relieved to avoid a further injury setback when Jack Holder was involved in a high-speed heat 15 smash.

Holder tangled with Berwick number one Nick Morris in the opening bend of the finale, with both men and their motorbikes careering into the fence.

Thankfully they were able to walk away from the spill, but Holder sat out the re-run due to blows to his arm and hip.

Team boss Carl Johnson said: “It was a meeting we simply had to win – and we did it very well.

“This is an important run of home fixtures and getting off to a good start was essential, but losing another rider to injury is a serious blow.

“It’s the second time in a matter of weeks that Jye has had Simon off and the paramedics were fairly sure he has broken his wrist.

“We don’t seem to be able to catch a break with injuries this year and you have to feel sorry for Simon, who has had more than his fair share of nasty ones in the last few years.

“He’s had a rough start to the year and we were hopeful that a drop down to reserve would get him going again. We are obviously hoping for the best, but we’ll also prepare for the worst.

“We’re just glad not to lose Jack to a bad injury after a hell of a crash in heat 15. Touch wood he seems to be okay, but he didn’t feel up to riding in the re-run.”

The second heat was awarded as a 5-1 with Tom Bacon out in front and Lambert sitting in second spot when he was sent tumbling.

That was one of three advantages in the opening three races as Panthers immediately took command against a Berwick side without influential rider Lewis Bridger due to injury.

The lead was up to a dozen points after six races and Holder then thwarted the Bandits’ tactical attempt with a magnificent third-to-first ride in the next race.

He blasted round Etheridge to snatch second place and then flew past the double-points chasing Kevin Doolan on the final lap to reduce the visitors’ gain to a 5-3.

That proved to be their only advantage of a night in which Panthers were on top throughout – a situation helped by three double-figures scores - before sealing victory with three races to spare.

Holder and home debutant Chris Harris both reeled off hat-tricks of heat wins, while skipper Ulrich Ostergaard was back on song with an 11+2 effort.

Paul Starke and Bradley Wilson-Dean also contributed well from the main body while Tom Bacon was deserved of more than 4+1 from a seven-ride shift at reserve.

Johnson added: “We know Berwick have been struggling this season and that they were without an important rider, but it was the sort of meeting that could easily have got away from us after losing Simon so early on.

“But we all dug deep, battled for points and got a result we really needed. Hopefully it can be the start of a good run.”

Peterborough will continue a busy schedule of home fixtures when they welcome Scunthorpe to the East of England Arena on Friday (June 16, 7.30pm) for a KO Cup quarter-final clash.

They return to league action on Sunday (June 18, 5pm) when Sheffield provide the opposition.

SCORES
PETERBOROUGH: Chris Harris 12, Ulrich Ostergaard 11+2, Jack Holder 11 (withdrawn), Paul Starke 8+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 6+1, Tom Bacon 4+1, Simon Lambert 2+1 (withdrawn).

BERWICK: Nick Morris 12, Kevin Doolan 9+1, David Howe 6, Jye Etheridge 5+2, Jake Knight (guest) 3+2, Dany Gappmaier 3+1, Rider replacement for Lewis Bridger. Number eight Stephen Woodhouse did not ride.

HEATS
1 - Harris (60.0), Morris, Wilson-Dean, Gappmaier (exc). 4-2, 4-2
2 – Bacon (awarded), Lambert, Knight, Etheridge (fell/exc). 5-1, 9-3.
3 - Ostergaard (60.9), Doolan, Starke, Gappmaier. 4-2, 13-5.
4 - re-run Howe (60.8), Holder, Bacon, Knight. 3-3, 16-8.
5 - Morris (61.6), Ostergaard, Starke, Gappmaier. 3-3, 19-11.
6 - Harris (61.5), Wilson-Dean, Etheridge, Howe. 5-1, 24-12.
7 - Holder (62.4), Doolan (t/r), Etheridge, Bacon. 3-5, 27-17.
8 - Wilson-Dean (62.8), Gappmaier, Knight, Bacon. 3-3, 30-20.
9 - Starke (62.6), Ostergaard, Howe, Etheridge. 5-1, 35-21.
10 - Harris (62.7), Howe, Doolan, Wilson-Dean. 3-3, 38-24.
11 - Holder (62.9), Morris, Gappmaier, Bacon. 3-3, 41-27.
12 - re-run Starke (63.9), Doolan, Etheridge, Bacon (fell/exc). 3-3, 44-30.
13 - Holder (62.8), Morris, Harris, Howe. 4-2, 48-32.
14 - Ostergaard (64.2), Etheridge, Knight, Bacon. 3-3, 51-35.
15 - re-run Morris (64.7), Harris, Ostergaard, Doolan. 3-3, 54-38.

PICTURE: Peterborough man Chris Harris (left) leads the way from Berwick's Nick Morris during yesterday's win. Credit: STEVE HONE

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