Harris excels in promising Peterborough Panthers performance, but they were still beaten in Sheffield

Peterborough Panthers put in another positive performance on the road as they pushed play-off hopefuls Sheffield in South Yorkshire on Thursday.
Chris Harris. Photo: David Lowndes.Chris Harris. Photo: David Lowndes.
Chris Harris. Photo: David Lowndes.

The Crendon Panthers were beaten 48-42 by last year’s Grand Finalists but kept themselves in contention for the vast majority of the contest.

In the past month, the city racers have battled their way to a draw at Wolverhampton before earning their first away win at King’s Lynn.

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And while they weren’t able to add to their tally in their final away league fixture of the season, there were positives to take from the clash against the Tigers as the Panthers finally tracked a full 1-7 of their own riders.

Captain Chris Harris claimed the opener before recent recruit Patryk Wojdylo won his first away ride in the Sports Insure Premiership in Heat Two.

Ben Cook and Benjamin Basso then linked up for a 4-2 as they took the lead in Heat Three.

Consecutive shared races followed with Harris making it two from two in Heat Five before Sheffield edged ahead with a 5-1 in the sixth.

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The hosts then opened up a six point gap with a couple of 4-2s before Niels-Kristian Iversen ended their run of advantages with a solid ride in Heat Nine.

Sheffield then took the next three heats to put them on the verge of victory before Harris returned to winning ways in Heat 13 with another stunning ride to get the better of Tobiasz Musielak and Tao Woffinden.

With the aggregate point in mind for when the two sides meet in the second leg of their Round Two tie on September 4, team boss Rob Lyon then introduced Harris as a tactical substitute in the penultimate heat.

And once again the British hero delivered the goods with another fine move with Cook also working his way through as the Panthers bagged a 5-1 before the night concluded with an eighth shared race.

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“Overall I’m pleased with their efforts and I think it was a good team performance,” said Lyon.

“I think it was one of our better away performances this year.

“We had one or two problems for a few of the boys, but Chris was superb and there were a few positives for some of the others as well.

“We just fell away a little bit half way through the meeting, but we pegged them back and kept within six in the end.

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“We saw a more settled team and I think I’m right in saying that was only the fifth time in 12 months that we had a full 1-7 of our own and I think that did make a massive difference.”

Panthers do battle with the Tigers at the East of England Arena for the first time this season on Monday (August 21, 7.30).

That’s the second leg of their Round One tie which saw Sheffield build up a 37-23 lead before rain halted proceedings after ten races at Owlerton last month.

SHEFFIELD 48: Tobiasz Musielak 10, Tai Woffinden 8+1, Kyle Howarth 7+2, Dan Gilkes 7, Adam Ellis 6+1, Josh Pickering 5+1, Lewis Kerr 5+1.

PETERBOROUGH 42: Chris Harris 16, Ben Cook 8+2, Niels-Kristian Iversen 6, Benjamin Basso 5, Vadim Tarasenko 3+1, Patryk Wojdylo 3, Jordan Jenkins 1+1.