Panthers defeat Ipswich in incident-filled derby

Peterborough kept up their forward progress with a 50-39 win over Ipswich in an incident-filled local derby at Alwalton.

By Duncan Browne
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 2:35 pm
Michael Palm Toft crashes during Peterborough's victory over Ipswich. Photo: David Lowndes
Michael Palm Toft crashes during Peterborough's victory over Ipswich. Photo: David Lowndes

The Crendon Panthers made it six Premiership points from two matches as they emerged on top from a bruising encounter featuring a number of alarming crashes.

Chris Harris was again in sensational form, beaten only by former World Champion Jason Doyle in Heat 15, but this was arguably Panthers’ best all-round team effort of the season so far.

Jordan Palin made a successful return at reserve with a fine win in Heat 2 when he rounded Ben Barker, whilst Benjamin Basso proved a major trump card later in the meeting.

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The first accident came in Heat 3 when skipper Scott Nicholls lifted in the third bend, clipped team-mate Hans Andersen and was flung violently into the fence, from which he amazingly walked away.

Michael Palm Toft also had a lucky escape in Heat 6 when he hit the fence on the back straight and was incredibly avoided by the following riders – although with Panthers having been on a 5-1 at the time, Ipswich took advantage in the re-run with a 5-1 of their own.

Unbelievably, there was more misfortune in Heat 7 when Harris and Basso held a clear 5-1 over Danny King, only for Basso to pick up on the inside and clatter into Harris on the exit of turn four, again thankfully with no injuries.

The Witches suffered their own problem in Heat 8 when Ben Barker was next to hit trouble, and his fall brought down Basso and team-mate Danyon Hume with Barker withdrawn due to a shoulder injury.

After all that carnage, Panthers held a narrow lead thanks mainly to a brilliant ride by Harris to pass Troy Batchelor in Heat 4, and they began to make some headway when Palm Toft teamed up with Ulrich Ostergaard for a 5-1 in Heat 10.

There was more drama in Heat 11 when Doyle moved Basso out into the fence on the first lap, with the Dane coming down on the entry to bend three, and Doyle was disqualified – with Panthers taking 5-1 in the re-run.

Doyle re-emerged as a tactical substitute in Heat 12 and immediately fired back a 5-1 with King, but Harris produced another belter in Heat 13 to round Doyle on the first lap whilst Palm Toft retrieved third place from Batchelor.

That left the Witches needing two 5-1s to win, but in fact it was Panthers who sealed the deal in Heat 14 thanks to Nicholls and Basso, before Doyle ended Harris’s winning run in a terrific Heat 15 where all four riders displayed real skill and racecraft over the first two laps.

Panthers manager Rob Lyon said: “It was a strange meeting with lots of different crashes, and to think we had four exclusions in the first eight races and ended up winning by 11 points was very unusual.

“It was so tight all the way through and Ipswich losing Ben (Barker) probably cost them, but our boys really knuckled down and got a great win.

“It’s good for our confidence, and good for us to move on to Ipswich on Thursday. I thought there was some great racing as well, and hopefully we’re back on track.”

PETERBOROUGH 50: Chris Harris 14, Benjamin Basso 9+1, Hans Andersen 8+1, Michael Palm Toft 5+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 5+1, Jordan Palin 5, Scott Nicholls 4+3.

IPSWICH 39: Jason Doyle 14, Danny King 8+1, Troy Batchelor 8, Ben Barker 4+1, Danyon Hume 3, Erik Riss 1+1, Paul Starke 1.