HIgh Noon start for Peterborough Panthers in their defence of the Premiership title

Peterborough Panthers kick off their Premiership title defence with midday showdown at Belle Vue on Bank Holiday Monday.

By Alan Swann
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 6:42 pm
Michael Palm Toft is back for the Peterborough Panthers at Belle Vue.

The meeting brings together the two clubs who contested last season’s dramatic Grand Final, with the Crendon Panthers fighting back to go down by just two points in Manchester against all the odds – before memorably sealing the title back at home.The National Speedway Stadium is also the venue where Panthers’ campaign began last season, with an exciting 45-45 draw at the end of May setting things up for a memorable season.But whilst the Panthers will return with largely the same side which stormed to glory, there have been significant changes for the Aces.The most notable of those of late has been the signing of Slovenian star Matej Zagar for a second spell with the club, and this clearly makes the hosts a totally different proposition to the side which lost all four of their League Cup matches.Zagar forms a powerful heat-leader spearhead with Aussie duo Max Fricke and Brady Kurtz, backed up by former British Champion and ex-Panther Charles Wright, whilst Rising Star Tom Brennan has very much been in the points this season.Panthers are also able to track a full septet with Michael Palm Toft coming through his return from concussion at Plymouth on Friday, and he lines up in the number one position.Palm Toft recently won the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy at Belle Vue, whilst Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris found some of their best form at the venue in last year’s crucial decider.Harris said: “Obviously as defending champions it’s always exciting because you’ve got a target on your backs and everyone wants to beat the champs!“But we’re up for it. We’ve got a good side again, with only Bjarne (Pedersen) not with us from last year because of him retiring, and Benjamin (Basso) has settled in really well, so all the boys are up for it.“All season last year we were working in the pits together, making sure that anyone who needed any help got it, and if someone was struggling there was always someone there to back him up.“The plan is for the same again this year, but we know it’s not going to be easy, there are some good teams out there.”

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BELLE VUE: Max Fricke, Jye Etheridge, Matej Zagar, Charles Wright, Brady Kurtz, Norick Blodorn, Tom Brennan.PETERBOROUGH: Michael Palm Toft, Scott Nicholls, Ulrich Ostergaard, Hans Andersen, Chris Harris, Benjamin Basso, Jordan Palin.