MEETING REPORT: Panthers go through but the boss is not happy

Chris Harris.
Chris Harris.
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Peterborough Panthers advanced to the SGB Championship KO Cup semi-finals last night (September 29) . . . with a blast from their boss ringing in their ears.

Owner Ged Rathbone was far from impressed with the performance that sealed the club’s spot in the last four.

Paul Starke.

Paul Starke.

They were beaten 50-40 at struggling Scunthorpe in the second leg of a quarter-final showdown, but prevailed 94-86 on aggregate after an emphatic first-leg success back in June.

Panthers provided only three race-winners at the Eddie Wright Raceway, but crucially they all provided heat advantages.

Star-of-the-show Tom Bacon, who piled up a valuable paid nine in his best performance for the club, led in reserve partner Simon Lambert for a 5-1 in heat two.

Former British champion Chris Harris then provided crucial victories in 4-2s in heats 11 and 13 – both races being re-run after home riders crashed out of the initial stagings.

And the third-lap retirement of home rider Lewis Kerr, when sitting on a 5-1 with partner Jake Allen in heat 10, was another key moment.

Scunthorpe would have gone 12 points clear on the night but for his mechanical misfortune and set up a tense finish.

“We seemed to be doing our best to throw it away at times,” admitted Rathbone. “I’m not going to beat around the bush – the performance we produced was not good enough.

“We were slow out of the starts far too often and we didn’t provide anywhere enough race-winners.

“I can only praise Scunthorpe for pushing us so hard. Had Lewis not suffered that breakdown in heat 11, it could have been a very different outcome.

“Thankfully Tom was excellent at reserve with his best performance of what has been a really encouraging first season at this level and Chris got dialled in when we really needed him to do the business.

“But we’ll certainly need to improve on what we produced tonight if we are serious about winning the silverware.”

Panthers will now face either Glasgow or Newcastle in the semi-finals. Those two clubs have not even started their quarter-final clash as yet.

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.

PANTHERS face the second of three meetings in as many days tonight (September 30).

The city men are chasing a fifth successive SGB Championship victory at Workington (7pm).

They are again without number one Jack Holder and have turned to Redcar man Charles Wright to guest at Derwent Park.

JACK Holder scored 11 points in the last round of the World Under 21 Championship Final last night.

The Panthers ace went out at the semi-final stage at Pardubice, in the Czech Republic.

Holder finished in sixth place in the overall standings after racking up 27 points in the three events in the series.