Pride and frustration as Peterborough Panthers lose narrowly in Ipswich

Scott Nicholls top scored for Panthers in Ipswich.
Scott Nicholls top scored for Panthers in Ipswich.
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Team manager Carl Johnson claims Peterborough Panthers deserved at least a consolation point from an East Anglian derby defeat last night (June 6).

But the city team, without injured number one Hans Andersen, returned from Ipswich empty-handed after being beaten 49-41 in an SGB Premiership clash at Foxhall Stadium.

Scott Nicholls, who spent much of his career as an Ipswich rider, spearheaded the Panthers’ effort with a paid 14-point haul from a seven-ride shift.

And while Johnson was proud of the way his side battled on what he described as a ‘very tricky’ track, he was disappointed their efforts went without reward.

He was also frustrated at a major refereeing error which cost his side. High-scoring Ipswich reserve Cameron Heeps’ silencer fell off on the third lap of heat eight, but it was missed by official Christina Turnbull and his third place – gained with a subsequent pass of Bradley Wilson Dean - was allowed to stand.

Johnson said: “We should have come away with a point at the worst after pushing Ipswich hard for much of the meeting despite being without our number one.

“Everyone chipped in with points and Scott will certainly be feeling it today after his mammoth shift, but we only managed to pick up three points from Hans’ rides and we would obviously have expected many more from him at a track he rides very well.

“The silencer issue went against us as well. The fact Heeps passed Bradley after it had fallen off made it even more frustrating.

“I was stood on the stock-car track waving at the referee for a lap-and-a-half as the phone in the pits wasn’t working. Everyone in the stadium could what had happened apart from her . . .”

Nicholls was on the receiving end of a 5-1 from Ipswich duo Richard Lawson and Danny King in the opener, but Panthers responded immediately thanks to Aaron Summers and Wilson-Dean.

Three shared contests followed ahead of a hat-trick of Ipswich heat advantages with the King/Lawson duo bagging another 5-1 in the sixth race.

It was followed by two 4-2s – the second of them arriving controversially in heat eight – to leave Panthers eight points adrift, but they soon ate into those arrears.

Reserve Summers took his second victory of the night to inspire a 4-2 in the next race before Nicholls and Charles Wright slammed in a 5-1 in heat 10 as Lawson retired.

But Ipswich then regained control with Heeps claiming back-to-back successes in a 4-2 in the 11th instalment and a 5-1 in the 12th contest moments later.

And that’s the way it stayed with the final three races all ending in deadlock.

Panthers hit the road again on Monday (June 10) when they travel to Wolverhampton for another SGB Premiership fixture. A run of four successive away meetings then concludes at Belle Vue on Thursday (June 13).

Panthers are without Wright on Monday as he races in a GP qualifier in Germany, but captain Andersen and recent signing Josh Bates could return from injury.

Andersen and Tungate are due to race at Glasgow in a GP qualifier tomorrow (June 8) with Bradley Wilson-Dean competing at Lamothe Landerron in France on the same day.

SCORES

IPSWICH: Cameron Heeps 13+2, Richard Lawson 11+1, Danny King 11+1, Chris Harris 8+1, David Bellego 5, Coty Garcia (guest) 1, Rider replacement for Krystian Pieszczek.

PANTHERS: Scott Nicholls 13+1, Rohan Tungate 8+1, Aaron Summers 7+1, Charles Wright 6+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Kyle Newman (guest) 2+1, Rider replacement for Hans Andersen.