TIGERS TRIUMPH AGAIN

Friday July 14, 2017
PETERBOROUGH slipped to a third home defeat of the SGB Championship season on Friday night.

The 'T Balfe Construction' Panthers were beaten 50-40 by Sheffield, who triumphed at the East of England Arena for the second time in a month.

Great Britain international Chris Harris led the Peterborough resistance with a paid 13-point haul on his return to domestic duty following the World Cup.

Harris inspired the hosts' only race advantage when triumphing in a fourth heat 4-2 on a night when his side found themselves behind throughout.

Team boss Carl Johnson admitted: "We went into with high hopes of three points to get the second half of the season off to a good start, but we come away with nothing.

"We were heavily beaten and deservedly so as we were outperformed by a very strong Sheffield team.

"We kept things a lot tighter in the first half of the meeting than when Sheffield won here last month, but we weren't making good enough starts to gain the advantages we needed.

"It's very tough to play catch-up against a side of that calibre and this is another blip that we didn't want.

"Now it is up to us to put it right and kick on again."

Peterborough were on the receiving end of a Tigers' 5-1 in the opener as Josh Grajczonek went tapes to flag and Todd Kurtz held off the late challenge of Jack Holder.

That deficit was halved when Harris took the flag in heat four as Tom Bacon comfortably claimed third spot.

But a Kyle Howarth success in heat six - when guest James Shanes grabbed third spot - allowed Sheffield to ease further clear and their advantage was upped to eight points following a 5-1 in a nightmare eighth heat for Panthers.

Two of their riders - Bacon and replacement Liam Carr - both ploughed into the tapes before the latter went off a 15-metre handicap when the race was completed at the third attempt.

Shanes, who has featured in the opposition ranks in all three of Panthers' home reverses this term, led home Kurtz while Peterborough's own guest, Kevin Doolan dropped to third.

That proved to be the experienced Aussie's only point on a night to forget - a situation made all the more frustrating by the fact the man he replaced, Bradley Wilson-Dean, scored a paid maximum while on SGB Premiership duty for Swindon.

A series of six shared races followed with victories for Harris (who beat Grajczonek in a clash of unbeaten riders in heat 11), Paul Starke (who zoomed clear of Lasse Bjerre in the next race) and Ulrich Ostergaard (who produced a fine blast round the outside in the penultimate contest) the Peterborough highlights.

But they were unable to prevent Sheffield from leaving with all four available league points as Grajczonek's success inspired a 4-2 for the visitors in the finale.

Peterborough go to Workington on Saturday (7pm) before entertaining Redcar on Sunday (5pm).

SCORES

PETERBOROUGH: Chris Harris 12+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 8+1, Jack Holder 8, Paul Starke 7+2, Tom Bacon 3, Liam Carr 1+1, Kevin Doolan (guest) 1.

SHEFFIELD: Josh Grajczonek 14, James Shanes (guest) 10+3, Lasse Bjerre 10, Kyle Howarth 8, Todd Kurtz 7+3, Josh Bates 1+1 (withdrawn), Georgie Wood (guest) 0.

HEATS
1 - Grajczonek (60.6), Kurtz, Holder, Doolan. 1-5, 1-5.
2 - Shanes (61.4), Bacon, Carr, Wood. 3-3, 4-8.
3 - Bjerre (60.6), Ostergaard, Starke, Bates (ret). 3-3, 7-11.
4 - Harris (60.8), Howarth, Bacon, Wood. 4-2, 11-13.
5 - Grajczonek (60.7), Ostergaard, Starke, Kurtz. 3-3, 14-16.
6 - Howarth (61.0), Holder, Shanes, Doolan. 2-4, 16-20.
7 - Harris (60.9), Bjerre, Bates, Carr. 3-3, 19-23.
8 - re-run x2 Shanes (62.2), Kurtz, Doolan, Carr (15m). 1-5, 20-28.
9 - Howarth (61.8), Starke, Ostergaard, Wood. 3-3, 23-31.
10 - Holder (61.5), Bjerre, Shanes, Doolan. 3-3, 26-34.
11 - Harris (62.4), Grajczonek, Kurtz, Bacon. 3-3, 29-37.
12 - Starke (62.3), Bjerre, Shanes, Bacon. 3-3, 32-40.
13 - Grajczonek (62.1), Holder, Harris, Howarth. 3-3, 35-43.
14 - Ostergaard (62.6), Kurtz, Shanes, Bacon. 3-3, 38-46.
15 - Grajczonek (62.0), Harris, Bjerre, Holder. 2-4, 40-50.

Picture: STEVE HONE

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