Peterborough Panthers’ fading SGB Premiership play-off hopes took another hit as their slump continued in Wolverhampton last night (July 22).
The city team crashed to a fourth consecutive defeat when being thumped 59-31 as a run of seven away meetings got off to a miserable start.
Only stand-in skipper Scott Nicholls, who contributed a dozen points, emerged with any credit from the Monmore Green mauling in which they managed just four heat wins and failed to record a single race advantage.
And team boss Carl Johnson was quick to admit a rapid improvement is required with the club’s top-flight return threatening to fizzle out tamely.
“We were beaten by the better team,” said Johnson.
“We ran far too many last places and to not pick up a heat advantage during a whole meeting is hugely disappointing.
“Wolverhampton adapted to the track a hell of a lot quicker and better than we did.
“We are going in the wrong direction and that’s obviously something we have to be concerned about.
“We have to turn things around and do it quickly if we are to stand any chance of reaching the play-offs.
“We’ve only really had one rider perform at the level we expect and full credit for Scott for the way he rode.
“Rohan Tungate did better than his points suggest as well in all fairness, but the other boys struggled for one reason or another.”
Panthers were outclassed throughout against a Wolverhampton side who also triumphed at the East of England Arena less than a fortnight ago.
Nicholls was responsible for two of Panthers’ successes as he triumphed in the third and seventh instalments.
Guest reserve Lewis Kerr then took the chequered flag in the eighth race before Charles Wright was victorious in heat 14, but they were only brief moments of cheer on a night to forget.
That win provided the only points from Kerr, who was borrowed from King’s Lynn to replace the injured Josh Bates, but he still fared better than the club’s other guest.
Chris Harris could only managed two points when standing in at number one for the sidelined Hans Andersen after dashing back from racing in the Speedway of Nations event in Russia over the weekend.
Panthers return to action on Thursday (June 25) when making the short trip to King’s Lynn for an A47 derby showdown (7.30pm).
The club will rely on guests again at the Adrian Flux Arena with Poole man Josh Grajczonek and Simon Lambert, who was recently dropped by King’s Lynn, booked to race.
Lambert spent the last four years with Panthers during their time in the SGB Championship.
WOLVERHAMPTON: Jacob Thorssell 12, Sam Masters 11+1, Kyle Howarth 8+2, Ryan Douglas 8+1, Rory Schlein 7, Luke Becker 7, Nick Morris 6+4.
PANTHERS: Scott Nicholls 12, Rohan Tungate 5, Charles Wright 4+1, Lewis Kerr (guest) 2, Ty Proctor 3, Chris Harris (guest) 2, Aaron Summers 2.