KO CUP FINAL: Panthers make it an honours double

Peterborough Panthers completed an honours double last night (October 26) when winning the SGB Championship KO Cup in a thrilling final at Ipswich.

Friday, 27th October 2017, 8:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 6:48 am
Peterborough Panthers celebrate their KO Cup success. Picture: Stephen Waller

The city side battled to a 45-45 draw at their East Anglian rivals in the second leg of the showpiece to earn a 92-88 verdict overall and add the KO Cup crown to the Fours trophy they lifted back in August.

Top-scorer Chris Harris and guest number one Ben Barker had to avoid being on the receiving end of a 5-1 in the last heat.

And they did just that by packing the minor places behind winner Scott Nicholls (who had appeared in Peterborough colours in the first leg) in a race awarded when Cameron Heeps tumbled out of last place on the final lap.

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Chris Harris top scored for Panthers.

“It was fantastic to win the Fours on our own track,” said delighted skipper Ulrich Ostergaard. “To follow it up with another piece of silverware against our local rivals is brilliant.

“It is the perfect end to the season we all wanted and we had a bit of luck on our side.

“We wanted to come to Ipswich with a bigger lead and we didn’t feel we did well enough in the first leg.

“But we made up for it by battling so hard at a track where we have had a few heavy defeats in recent years.

Chris Harris top scored for Panthers.

“We’re all one big family and it was great to see so many Panthers supporters here to roar us on. This trophy is for them.”

Peterborough saw their four-point aggregate cushion wiped out by two 4-2s from Ipswich in the opening five heats at Foxhall.

But no sooner had the hosts clawed their way onto level terms overall than disaster struck for them.

Number one Danny King was left nursing a suspected broken wrist after a nasty crash when he was clipped by partner Nathan Greaves, who was excluded.

Harris eased to victory over King’s replacement, Connor Mountain, as Panthers bagged their made their first gain of the night in the re-run to restore their aggregate lead.

But Ipswich refused to roll over as back-to-back heat advantages eased them into a four-point cushion overall.

But that double-salvo from the hosts sparked an impressive response from Peterborough as they eased back ahead on aggregate.

Paul Starke led home skipper Ostergaard for a 5-1 in heat 10 before Barker held off the previously unbeaten Nicholls to inspire a 4-2 in the following race.

Starke delivered another rapid start and exquisite ride to keep Panthers in front by winning a shared heat 12 and they stretched their advantage when Harris took the flag in a 4-2 in the next contest.

Peterborough spurned a golden opportunity to finish the job in the penultimate contest when Ostergaard could find no way past home reserve Mountain as partner Lambert took victory, but they made no mistake in the finale.

SCORES

IPSWICH: Cameron Heeps 13+1, Scott Nicholls (guest) 13, Nathan Greaves 8+1, Kyle Newman 5, Connor Mountain 3+1, Danny King 3 (withdrawn), Rider replacement for Justin Sedgmen.

PANTHERS: Chris Harris 12, Ben Barker (guest) 9+1, Paul Starke 8+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 6+1, Simon Lambert 6+1, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn (guest) 4+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 0.