Peterborough Panthers’ disastrous season took another turn for the worse last night (August 29).
The rock-bottom city side slumped to a 10th successive SGB Premiership defeat – and a 65-25 drubbing at Swindon was the heaviest yet.
Panthers were pipped by only two points in their previous visit to Wiltshire back in May, but it was a very different story on this occasion.
Despite being back to full strength, they provided just two race-winners – Rohan Tungate in heat five and Charles Wright in heat 12 – with the latter inspiring their only advantage with a 4-2.
However, it provided only brief respite as the rampant Robins finished with a hat-trick of 5-1s to rub even more salt into the gaping Panthers wounds.
Number one Tungate (9+1) and British champion Wright (7) were unsurprisingly the highest scorers for Panthers on a night to forget.
Ulrich Ostergaard managed three points on his return for another spell in Panthers’ colours while fellow reserve Jason Garrity chipped in with five.
But Scott Nicholls’ terrific run of form came to an abrupt halt as he contributed only one point, while captain Hans Andersen and second-string Ty Proctor both failed to score.
Andersen helped Swindon to the Elite League title in 2012 but endured a miserable return to the Abbey Stadium when suffering a retirement at the start of heat three before bringing up the rear in his two subsequent outings. His final programmed ride, in heat 14, went to Tungate as a tactical substitute in which he could only manage third place.
The loss at table-topping Swindon completed a run of seven consecutive away fixtures with Panthers finally set to return to their own East of England Arena shale next month.
Panthers team boss Carl Johnson preferred to praise Swindon rather than lambast his own riders. He said: “Swindon were the strongest team we’ve faced. You can’t take anything away from them, they were awesome.
“They made starts, they rode the track well and we just couldn’t live with them. Obviously Ipswich had the same problem on Monday, and we just weren’t at the races.
“You have to give Swindon credit but we have to be disappointed with our performance. Again, we didn’t have enough riders scoring, but it would have been difficult to get near them on that form.
“It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what’s going wrong, but we just aren’t good enough at the moment.
“We know we have to pick everyone up, and the position we’re in makes it even more difficult, but I’m sure going back to our home track will help. We might not be perfect there, but at least it’s going to give us a bit more confidence.”
Panthers now have three home matches remaining to complete the season – and all three could have major significance in the race for play-off places.
Belle Vue, who are in the thick of the battle, are the next visitors to the East of England Arena on Thursday September 5.
They host Swindon on September 9 with their final league clash against Wolverhampton still to be arranged.
SWINDON: Troy Batchelor 14+1, Adam Ellis 12+1, Jason Doyle 10+2, Rasmus Jensen 10, Nick Morris 7+2, Ellis Perks 7+2, Claus Vissing 5+2.
PANTHERS: Rohan Tungate 9+1, Charles Wright 7, Jason Garrity 5, Ulrich Ostergaard 3, Scott Nicholls 1, Ty Proctor 0, Hans Andersen 0.