Battling Peterborough Panthers are beaten again

Peterborough Panthers are still to get off the mark in the Premiership after going down to a 50-40 defeat at Wolverhampton on Bank Holiday Monday.
Hans Andersen rode well for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: Jeff Davies.Hans Andersen rode well for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: Jeff Davies.
Hans Andersen rode well for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: Jeff Davies.

The Crendon Panthers again battled hard throughout a highly entertaining Monmore clash, but a run of early advantages from the home side put the match effectively out of reach.

Skipper Hans Andersen enjoyed an excellent night, and there were race wins too for guest Nick Morris on his old home track, Benjamin Basso and ‘Rising Star’ Jordan Jenkins, as Panthers did their best to stay in contention after dropping 24-12 down after six races.

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But it was a tough night for Chris Harris guesting at No.1, with that position once again proving problematic – as Harris’s meeting started with a disqualification in the first race after an awkward first-bend tangle with home No.1 Sam Masters which resulted in extensive machine damage.

Andersen rode well to hold off Masters and Steve Worrall in the re-run, but Panthers slipped behind in the next as home reserve Leon Flint worked his way past Ben Cook and Jordan Jenkins for a 5-1 with Zach Cook.

Four 4-2s followed in short order to Wolves, with Morris preventing a 5-1 after a slow start by passing Flint in Heat 4 - but with a share of the points looking likely in Heat 5, Ryan Douglas snatched third place from Harris on the line.

Panthers got back into the meeting in somewhat fortunate circumstances in Heat 8, which looked destined for a shared race until leader Worrall slowed on the third lap, enabling Jenkins and Andersen to go through having seen off Flint in the early stages.

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Morris neatly rounded Douglas on the first lap to win Heat 9 but the next race went wrong for Panthers when Richie Worrall was sent wide on turn two and went to the back, whilst second placed Benjamin Basso lifted violently on the second lap and Masters went through.

Harris edged out Zach Cook in a battle for third place in Heat 11, and when Panthers used their tactical substitute with Morris in Heat 12, Wolves got the benefit of a flying start for Rory Schlein as he went clear of the visiting duo.

After a shared Heat 13, the home side had a scare in the penultimate race when Douglas suffered a heavy crash when battling with Basso, and it was good to see the Australian being able to walk away.

Basso won the re-run for a 4-2 to Panthers, before a shared final race as Morris and Andersen relegated Schlein to the back.

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Panthers manager Rob Lyon said: “The boys battled hard, you can’t fault them for effort, and we were hanging on to Wolves’ coat tails throughout the meeting.

“We knew we weren’t going to win it, but these days it’s all about trying to keep it as close as possible for the aggregate point at the other end, which is what we did, and to lose by ten was a credible result really in the circumstances.

“I felt Heat 1 was all four back every day of the week, and I don’t think referees actually appreciate how difficult these modern bikes are and how they just literally take off in a split-second.

“Bomber wrecked his ‘Wolverhampton’ bike so it was nothing to do with what he did earlier in the day, in terms of two meetings in a day - he just couldn’t get his second bike working properly, which is frustrating because he’s normally good for double figures around here.”

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The Panthers turn their attentions to the KO Cup next week when they host Ipswich at the East of England Arena on Monday May 8 (7.30pm).

WOLVERHAMPTON 50: Sam Masters 11+1, Rory Schlein 10+1, Scott Nicholls 9, Steve Worrall 7+1, Zach Cook 5, Leon Flint 4+1, Ryan Douglas 4.

PETERBOROUGH 40: Nick Morris 13, Hans Andersen 10+2, Richie Worrall 6+1, Jordan Jenkins 5, Benjamin Basso 4+1, Chris Harris 2+2, Ben Cook 0.