MEETING REPORT: Panthers gain revenge in a thrilling win over the Witches

Jack Holder was in great form for Panthers.
Jack Holder was in great form for Panthers.

Peterborough Panthers claimed a sweet slice of East Anglian derby revenge today (April 17) - largely thanks to the brilliance of number one Jack Holder.

The Australian talent triumphed in a last-heat decider as the city racers pipped Ipswich 46-44 in an SGB Championship clash at a packed East of England Showground.

Holder powered back past countryman Rory Schlein as Panthers grabbed the 3-3 they required to secure victory against a Witches side who had slammed them 60-32 in the reverse fixture last Saturday (April 15).

Holder dropped only one point throughout - when being beaten by British champion Danny King in heat 13 - and earned rave reviews from team boss Carl Johnson for his match-winning contribution.

“Jack was absolutely flying,” said Johnson. “He looked every bit a true number one and I’m confident we can get performances like that from him on a regular basis.

“It was a high-pressure final race up against two top opponents in Rory and Danny, but Jack really showed his class to beat them.

“It was great to get over the line. We had to wipe Saturday night from the memory as soon as possible.

“The only way to do that was beating Ipswich today. The size of the win doesn’t really matter - it was just a case of needing to get the job done.

“The fact we were without a couple of riders made it even more satisfying.”

Illness victim Kenneth Hansen was missing for a third successive meeting, while Paul Starke sat out after injuring a shoulder in a tumble at Ipswich.

Lasse Bjerre proved a capable guest for the latter absentee with his performance being deserving of more than the 8+3 he contributed.

High-scoring reserve Bradley Wilson-Dean delivered another important haul with 9+3 while skipper Ulrich Ostergaard added a valuable 10 despite riding through the pain of a knee injury.

The teams were never separated by more than six points in an ultra-tight contest, although Panthers never trailed.

Holder inspired an opening 4-2 to edge them ahead, but they were pegged back by the visitors’ first advantage when Schlein took the flag in heat four.

They soon built up another lead as a 5-1 from Ostergaard and Bjerre was followed by another Holder-led 4-2 in the sixth contest, but Ipswich hit back when Cameron Heeps (one of three double-figures performers for the visitors along with Schlein and King) led in Nico Covatti for a seventh-race 5-1.

Wilson-Dean’s second triumph of the afternoon helped to earn a 4-2 for Panthers in heat eight before a series of four shared races was broken when Holder’s colours were lowered in heat 13.

That reduced the gap to just two points and that’s how it stayed as Panthers emerged victorious thanks to Holder’s heroics.

They are back in action on Thursday (April 20) when going to Sheffield.

PETERBOROUGH 46: Jack Holder 14, Ulrich Ostergaard 10, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+3, Lasse Bjerre 8+3, Simon Lambert 5, Tom Bacon 0, Kenneth Hansen r/r

IPSWICH 44: Cameron Heeps 11, Rory Schlein 11, Danny King 10+1, Nico Covatti 6+2, Connor Mountain 4+1, Danyon Hume 2, James Sarjeant 0

HEATS

1 - Holder (61.4), King, Lambert, Sarjeant. 4-2, 4-2.

2 - Wilson-Dean (62.6), Hume, Mountain, Bacon. 3-3, 7-5.

3 - re-run Heeps (61.1), Ostergaard, Bjerre, Covatti. 3-3, 10-8.

4 - Schlein (61.5), Bjerre, Mountain, Bacon. 2-4, 12-12.

5 - Ostergaard (61.7), Bjerre, King, Sarjeant. 5-1, 17-13

6 - Holder (61.8), Schlein, Lambert, Hume. 4-2, 21-15.

7 - Heeps (62.7), Covatti, Ostergaard, Wilson-Dean. 1-5, 22-20.

8 - re-run Wilson-Dean (63.3), Mountain, Lambert, Sarjeant. 4-2, 26-22.

9 - Schlein (61.3), Ostergaard, Bjerre, Hume. 3-3, 29-25.

10 - Holder (62.8), Heeps, Covatti, Lambert. 3-3, 32-28.

11 - King (62.2), Lambert, Wilson-Dean, Mountain. 3-3, 35-31.

12 - Covatti (63.2), Bjerre, Wilson-Dean, Hume. 3-3, 38-34.

13 - King (62.6), Holder, Schlein, Bacon. 2-4, 40-38.

14 - Heeps (63.1), Ostergaard, Wilson-Dean, Mountain. 3-3, 43-41.

15 - Holder (63.3), Schlein, King, Bjerre. 3-3, 46-44.