MEETING REPORT: Predictable end for Panthers as Monarchs rule

Craig Cook in action.

Craig Cook in action.

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A painful season came to a predictable end for Peterborough Panthers last night (September 23)

The depleted city team, featuring only two of their regular riders and four borrowed men, were brushed aside 59-33 at Edinburgh in a meaningless Premier League contest.

They couldn’t manage a single race advantage at Armadale Stadium and provided just two heat-winners in the shape of number one Craig Cook and guest Jye Etheridge.

But they did succeed on hanging onto the coat-tails of their hosts for almost half of their final outing of the campaign. The sides were separated by just six points after seven races before a hat-trick of 5-1s sent the hosts storming clear.

Cook, returning to a track where he spent five successful seasons, could only manage second place when taking a tactical ride for Panthers in heat 11 as they had to settle for a 4-4 outcome.

Three further advantages stretched the Monarchs’ lead before Cook and captain Ulrich Ostergaard packed the minor places behind Edinburgh top-scorer Kevin Wolbert in a shared finale.

Team boss Carl Johnson admitted: “Edinburgh just had too much strength for us in the end and that’s exactly what we expected given the team we had to track.

“A heavy defeat wasn’t the way we wanted to end the meeting regardless of whether or not the meeting was a pointless one.

“But, to be perfectly honest, I’m glad this season is over. We can now reflect on what went wrong and how we can put it right going forward.

“We’ve used a high number of riders and not quite managed to get the right personnel at the right time, but the biggest thing for me is our poor home form.

“That is what cost us dear after sitting in the play-off places for the vast majority of the year.”

Cook top-scored for Panthers last night with a 13-point haul boosted by his double-points outing, but it was the same old story of a shortage of support.

Skipper Ostergaard could only manage paid seven points while guests Etheridge and Matt Wethers – both former Monarchs men – picked up five apiece.

The makeshift reserve duo of National League pair Shelby Rutherford and David Wallinger managed a couple of points apiece.

Panthers stay seventh in the Premier League table but could be leapfrogged by Workington if they win their one outstanding meeting against Redcar.

SCORES

EDINBURGH: Kevin Wolbert 13, Sam Masters 12, Max Clegg 9+2, Erik Riss 9+1, Mark Riss 8+2, Ryan Fisher 6+1, Ryan Blacklock (guest) 2.

PANTHERS: Craig Cook 13, Ulrich Ostergaard 6+1, Jye Etheridge (guest) 5, Matthew Wethers (guest) 5, Shelby Rutherford (guest) 2+2, David Wallinger (guest) 2, Rider replacement for Richard Hall