Plaudits for Panthers veteran Nicholls despite defeat

Scott Nicholls
Scott Nicholls
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Panthers team chief Carl Johnson has dished out the plaudits for veteran star Scott Nicholls.

The 41 year-old battled through a seven-ride shift to rack up paid 15 points in the city side’s derby defeat at King’s Lynn on Monday.

Their eighth successive loss left them stranded at the foot of the SGB Premiership standings but the performance of seven-time British champion Nicholls did at least mean a major positive could be salvaged from the wreckage.

“Scott was absolutely fantastic on a night where I had to work him a lot harder than I wanted to and he would have liked,” said Johnson.

“A rider of his years doesn’t need to be doing seven heats around a big, fast and physically demanding track like King’s Lynn, but he gave his all every time he was out there and certainly deserved a big stack of points.

“Scott only scored two the last time we were at King’s Lynn so it’s a massive improvement to get 13+2 this time.

“It was also a great example of someone being prepared to roll up his sleeves and give his all for the club in a difficult time.”

Nicholls also top-scored with a 13+1 haul in a 50-40 defeat at the beginning of August and has scored 12 and eight in losses at Wolverhampton in recent weeks.

He initially struggled for form after being snapped by Panthers in May after starting the season with Wolverhampton as injury cover.

But he has certainly showed his worth during a demanding run of seven consecutive away meetings for Panthers – five of which have now been completed. They still have to go to Ipswich tonight and Swindon next Thursday before finally getting back on their East of England Arena shale next month.

Johnson added: “We know our track doesn’t really suit Scott these days, but we brought him in because of what he offers us elsewhere.

“He is a terrific man to have on the road because he has no much experience and knowledge from such a long career in the sport.

“Scott is still an excellent rider on the track and he’s great to have around off it as well – that’s why I made him captain when Hans Andersen was out.”

Johnson also had plenty of praise for reserve recruit Jason Garrity following a paid 10 debut at King’s Lynn on Monday.

The British racer is renowned for his never-say-die attitude on track and that’s something Johnson believes is vital during the current struggles.

“Jason came in and did the job I felt sure he would do at reserve,” continued Johnson. “That was score plenty of points and ride his backside off for the cause.

“He battled for every point and showed the sort of desire I want to see from all of my riders, all of the time.”