PANTHERS 33 WORKINGTON 57

Friday May 11, 2018
PETERBOROUGH suffered a collective disaster with a humbling 33-57 home reverse at the hands of Workington on Friday.

The T.Balfe Construction Panthers went into the meeting with confidence high after a good start to the season – but they were totally undone by a fast-gating Comets side.

The visitors put on a sensational display and had the match effectively won within five races, during which time they had reeled off three successive 5-1s after opening up with two 4-2s.

In-form Aussie Ty Proctor raced to a paid maximum from five rides whilst there was further evidence of the precocious talent of rising star Dan Bewley, who pulled off a string of overtaking moves.

Former Panther Bradley Wilson-Dean also did plenty of damage on his return to the East of England Arena, and was rightly delighted with his effort in Heat 4 to first re-pass Ulrich Ostergaard and then snatch second place from Simon Lambert off the final bend.

Panthers managed a 3-3 in Heat 6 but then conceded back-to-back 5-1s once again, with Bewley’s effort in Heat 8 particularly noteworthy.

The young Brit had won Heat 7 by a distance but the next race saw him fight through from the back with a terrific outside sweep taking him past Emil Grondal going into the last lap.

Panthers finally had a race winner to cheer when Michael Palm Toft took the flag in Heat 9 courtesy of a smart move inside Nicolai Klindt going into the third bend, whilst Nike Lunna’s third place gave them a rare heat advantage.

But the Comets hit straight back as Proctor kept up his winning ways in Heat 10, holding off a strong Scott Nicholls challenge, whilst Wilson-Dean got the better of Ostergaard in a race-long battle in the next, resolved when the Dane got out of shape on turn two.

There was a very slight crumb of comfort in Heat 13 as Ostergaard and Nicholls got their reward for battling past Comets guest Adam Ellis on the first lap – because race leader Klindt ground to a halt at the start of the last lap with a seized engine, handing Peterborough a 5-1.

Bewley gave another exhibition of his track-craft in a re-run Heat 14 after Wilson-Dean had hit the fence on the first lap, with the teenager rounding Tom Bacon to hit the front before apparently losing out to Palm Toft’s inside move – only to blast back to the front off the last bend.

And there was an encore in the finale as Bewley again blasted through from the back, this time going round Ostergaard just when the Dane thought he had taken control with his own brave move on the first lap.

Panthers manager Carl Johnson said: “It was an embarrassing performance. We can’t complain about anything, it wasn’t down to bad luck, it was just that they were better than us, pure and simple.

“I’ll always hold my hand up if we were beaten by the better side, so fair play to them. They were better on the night.

“Every one of their riders were making starts whereas we struggled from the word go. We can’t put our finger on why we were three bike lengths down going into the first corner – it’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual to see it in so many races.

“In this day and age, you don’t have to go around shouting and screaming at the riders afterwards. They all know it, and they’re all disappointed.

“We’ve just got to re-group for Sunday and hopefully we’ll put things right then. I’ll be having a chat with some of the lads who have a few issues, and we’ll go from there.

“People will question why we didn’t use a tactical substitute, but as I said to the boys, did any of them deserve it? We had so many riders out of the meeting, and we’re not just doing things to look good.

“They know they owe everyone a performance on Sunday, because that was embarrassing for everyone to stand there and watch. But we’re not a bad team – it was one bad night, and we’ll show our character with how we come back.

“Personally I can only apologise to the supporters for what they’ve seen tonight, albeit there was some very good racing, but I know that doesn’t help the home supporters.”

Panthers have to dust themselves down quickly from the setback – as they are back at the East of England Arena on Sunday (5pm) when they host Edinburgh.

CHAMPIONSHIP
PETERBOROUGH 33: Scott Nicholls 8+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 8, Michael Palm Toft 6, Nike Lunna 4, Tom Bacon 3+1, Emil Grondal 2+1, Simon Lambert 2+1
WORKINGTON 57: Dan Bewley 15+1, Ty Proctor 13+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 13+1, Nicolai Klindt 8, Adam Ellis 7+1, Kyle Bickley 1, Rasmus Jensen r/r
Championship points: Peterborough 0 Workington 4

Picture: CHLOE MAY COLES

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