Panthers South Coast Heartache
Saturday April 01, 2021
After a disappointing Friday night, Peterborough Panthers had to show improvement and improve they did with a gutsy display at Arlington on a night when they could have and should have taken the spoils.

No-one would have predicted Panthers would have taken this meeting so close to victory on what is historically one of our more difficult tracks to get a result each season but to be 10 points ahead with three heats to go was a real missed opportunity but to be fair a superb comeback from the Eagles on a chilly night in East Sussex.

Panthers started the meeting without Tomasz Bajerski who suffered concussion the night before at Arena Essex. The rider-replacement facility was utilised for his absence. His immediate replacement in heat 1, Ulrich Ostergaard, took a nasty tumble at the back in the first staging of the race but thankfully there were no lasting effects as he took a good second place in heat 2 for a 3-3 drawn heat to follow up the opening 4-2 reverse.

Panthers really stamped their intentions on the meeting in heat 3 with a 5-1 from Niels Kristian Iversen and the flying Jesper B Jensen over the Barker/Norris pairing. The Danish paring was to prove pivotal in Panthers getting into such a good position.

Two shared heats then followed before Ryan Sullivan and Richard Hall earned a 4-2 over David Norris and Andrew Moore as Panthers sensed Eastbourne were more than a little edgy in their opening Sky Sports Elite League meeting of 2006. Another 5-1 in heat 8 from Jensen (r/r outing) and Ostergaard over Moore/Bridger really set the tongues wagging and silenced all but a dozen Panthers fans dotted around the stadium on the night.

The Eagles hit back with a 5-1 of their own in heat 9 to lift the Eagles fans but Panthers were having none of it as Jensen/Iversen restored the 8 point lead for a 34-26 scoreline at the interval. Bob Dugard, such a master of track preparation at Arlington, then set about giving the Eagles more grip as the crowd heard interviews suggesting the slick track had caught the home riders out.

The return to action brought a drawn heat before Panthers won a decisive heat 12 4-2 which swung the meeting in the Eagles favour. The race saw the Eagles management curiously replace Bridger with Werner as a reserve ride who then appeared a lot faster than Richard Hall but made no obvious attempt to try and pass him. This then left the Eagles management in a position to utilise the tactical ride rule in heat 13 to claw themselves back in a meeting with a double points opportunity when they were clearly second best.

Itís situations like this that make it hard for fans to see how this rule is for the benefit of speedway racing.

The expected happened, as it always does, in heat 13 when Nicki Pedersen won from Hans Andersen with David Norris third to give the Eagles a 7-2 and bring themselves within 5 points of the Panthers with two heats to go. Three points in either heat would have wrapped it up for Panthers, so there can be no excuses as the chance went begging.

Adam Shields and Brent Werner earned a 4-2 over Iversen in heat 14 but with the lead at 3 points and a pairing of Andersen and Jensen in heat 15 there was every confidence of success. It was not to be however as Shields and Pedersen scorched from the gate to give the Eagles the 5-1 they wanted for a narrow 47-46 success and leave Panthers riders and officials heartbroken after such a superb effort.

It doesnít make the pill any easier to swallow knowing the better team lost, a comment coming from more than a few home fans on leaving the stadium. What Panthers can take from this meeting however is a lot of heart, some superb performances from everyone of the team and enough signs that this team is capable of a lot more of where this came from.

Panthers are back and performances like this mean points are just around the corner away from home. The next stop will be Belle Vue!

Saturday, 1st April - Elite League

EASTBOURNE 47
1 David Norris 3 2 1 1 = 7
2 Andrew Moore 1 0 0 = 1
3 Dean Barker 1 1' 3 2 = 7+1
4 Adam Shields 0 2 1 2' 3 2' = 10+2
5 Nicki Pedersen 3 3 2 6 3 = 17
6 Brent Werner 3 0 1' 0 1 = 5+1
7 Lewis Bridger 0 FX 0 = 0

PETERBOROUGH 46
1 Hans Andersen 2 3 3 2 0 = 10
2 Tomasz Bajerski r/r
3 Jesper Jensen 2' 2 3 3 3 1 = 14+1
4 Niels K Iversen 3 1' 2' 2 = 8+2
5 Ryan Sullivan 2 3 1 0 = 6
6 Richard Hall 1' 0 1 0 1 = 3+1
7 Ulrich Ostergaard FX 2 1' 2' 0 0 = 5+2

Heat Results
Ht 1: Norris, Andersen, Moore, Ostergaard (FX) (4 - 2) (4 - 2)
Ht 2: Werner, Ostergaard, Hall, Bridger (3 - 3) (7 - 5)
Ht 3: Iversen, Jensen, Barker, Shields (f.rem) (1 - 5) (8 - 10)
Ht 4: Pedersen, Sullivan, Ostergaard, Bridger (FX) (3 - 3) (11 - 13)
Ht 5: Andersen, Shields, Barker, Hall (3 - 3) (14 - 16)
Ht 6: Sullivan, Norris, Hall, Moore (2 - 4) (16 - 20)
Ht 7: Pedersen, Jensen, Iversen, Werner (3 - 3) (19 - 23)
Ht 8: Jensen, Ostergaard, Shields (TS), Bridger (1 - 5) (20 - 28)
Ht 9: Barker, Shields, Sullivan, Hall (5 - 1) (25 - 29)
Ht10: Jensen, Iversen, Norris, Moore (1 - 5) (26 - 34)
Ht11: Andersen, Pedersen, Werner, Ostergaard (3 - 3) (29 - 37)
Ht12: Jensen, Barker, Hall, Werner (2 - 4) (31 - 41)
Ht13: Pedersen (TR), Andersen, Norris, Sullivan (7 - 2) (38 - 43)
Ht14: Shields, Iversen, Werner, Ostergaard (4 - 2) (42 - 45)
Ht15: Pedersen, Shields, Jensen, Andersen (5 - 1) (47 - 46)

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