PANTHERS POWER INTO FINAL

Friday October 20, 2017
PETERBOROUGH defied the odds to storm into the SGB Championship KO Cup final on Friday night.

The 'T Balfe Construction' Panthers battled to a 45-45 draw in the second leg of their semi-final showdown against Glasgow - and that was more than enough to seal a 95-85 triumph on aggregate against the holders.

Former GP star Chris Harris spearheaded a terrific Peterborough display at the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium with a 15-point haul as they overcame the loss of number one Jack Holder to illness.

Their passage into a mouth-watering final against East Anglian rivals Ipswich was secured by a 5-1 in heat 14 from skipper Ulrich Ostergaard and reserve star Simon Lambert.

“Reaching the final is no more than we deserve,” said delighted team manager Carl Johnson. “It just goes to show that Panthers should never be counted out!

“I’m sure a lot of people expected us to get rolled over at Glasgow with important riders missing, but we produced a terrific performance from start to finish.

“And there is no better way to end the season than with a cup final against our local rivals. It should be an absolute classic and hopefully everyone will get behind us.”

It was a case of third time lucky last night as the semi-final, second leg went ahead after previously being postponed on Tuesday and Thursday.

Pre-meeting rain made track conditions difficult but Peterborough - who boasted a 10-point cushion following a 50-40 success in the first leg last weekend - adapted well.

They provided the winners of the opening four races, which were all shared, and then received a slice of good fortune in heat five when Tigers man Richie Worrall retired while on a 5-1 with partner Dan Bewley.

The teams then traded advantages with a 4-2 for the hosts followed by a fine 5-1 from Ostergaard and Paul Starke in heat seven as Panthers briefly hit the front on the night.

Back-to-back gains from Glasgow followed as they reduced the aggregate difference between the sides to six points, but that is as close as they ever got to mounting a comeback.

Captain Ostergaard continued to lead by example when inspiring a 4-2 in heat 11 and he starred again when sealing Panthers’ progress in the penultimate contest as Lambert followed him in.

Harris then won a shared finale to ensure the teams finished level on the night, but it was Panthers in command overall.

Johnson added: “We knew the importance of starting the meeting well. We won races, we made super starts and we increased the pressure on Glasgow.

“They were always likely to come back at us, but we didn’t give them the chance to put us under serious threat.”

Peterborough don’t have long to dwell on their fine semi-final showing . . . the final begins tomorrow!

They entertain Ipswich in the first leg at the East of England Arena, 5pm, ahead of a Thursday return at Foxhall.

Meeting preview to follow . . .

SCORES
GLASGOW: Dan Bewley 10, Richard Lawson 9+1, Richie Worrall 9+1, Aaron Summers 8, James Sarjeant (guest) 6+3, Jack Smith 3+1, Ryan MacDonald (did not ride), Rider replacement for Nike Lunna.

PETERBOROUGH: Chris Harris 15, Ulrich Ostergaard 12+2, Simon Lambert 8, Paul Starke 7+2, Mason Campton (guest) 3+1, David Wallinger (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Jack Holder.

Picture: IAN ADAM

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