SEMI SPOT SEALED

Friday September 29, 2017
PETERBOROUGH booked their place in the semi-finals of the SGB Championship KO Cup on Friday night – but were immediately told they must do better to stand a chance of lifting the trophy.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers advanced to the last four despite producing a disappointing display in a 50-40 defeat at Scunthorpe in a quarter-final second leg.

Fortunately, Peterborough went into battle at the Eddie Wright Raceway in possession of a big 18-point cushion following an emphatic first-leg victory back in June.

And that proved to be welcome after a below-par showing in which they managed only three race wins and advantages – having to wait until heat 13 to settle the tie.

“We were poor,” admitted owner Ged Rathbone. “We were out-gated far too often and we didn’t provide enough race-winners.

“The main thing is getting through to the semi-finals and we just about managed to do that, but we’ll certainly need to improve on what we produced last night if we are serious about winning the silverware.

“It’s a good job we built up such a commanding lead in our home leg.”

Former British champion Chris Harris and fast-improving reserve Tom Bacon were the key men for Peterborough.

Harris top-scored with a 10+1 haul which included victories that inspired 4-2s in re-run ninth and 13th heats after home riders tumbled out of the initial stagings.

And Bacon added a hugely valuable paid nine in arguably his best appearance for the club.

He led home reserve partner Simon Lambert for a 5-1 in heat two and continued to score impressively in his remaining rides.

That maximum cancelled out a 5-1 from Scunthorpe in the opener, but the hosts produced two more – in successive races in heats five and six – to pull clear on the night.

They looked set to move into a 12-point advantage until Lewis Kerr suffered a mechanical failure when on a 5-1 with Jake Allen in heat 10.

That piece of misfortune certainly went in Peterborough’s favour as they eased into a semi-final date against either Glasgow or Newcastle.

Rathbone added: “Chris got dialled in when we needed him the most and Tom was excellent.

“It was the perfect night for him to produce his best performance of what has been a pleasing season for him.

“We may have well have found ourselves out of the competition without his points at reserve.

“It’s a shame we weren’t given the opportunity to do a victory parade and we’d like to apologise to our travelling supporters for that.

“We’re very thankful for their backing and will do all we can to win another trophy for them.”

SCORES

SCUNTHORPE: Jake Allen 11+2, Lewis Kerr 11, Michael Palm Toft 11, Josh Auty 9, Ryan Douglas 6+1, Ashley Morris (guest) 2, Josh Bailey 0

PANTHERS: Chris Harris 10+1, Tom Bacon 7+2, Paul Starke 7+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 5+1, Simon Lambert 4+2, Richie Worrall (guest) 4, Bradley Wilson-Dean 3.

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