Peterborough Panthers celebrated a first win of 2019 last night (April 11) - thanks to the last-gasp heroics of their number one.
Aussie ace Rohan Tungate picked himself up off the deck to produce a stunning move leaving the final corner on the final lap of the final race to earn the city side a 46-44 triumph over Wolverhampton in the SGB Premiership Supporters’ Cup.
Panthers looked to be on course for an emphatic victory as they roared into a 12-point advantage after eight races at the East of England Arena, but the visitors came storming back with a hat-trick of 5-1s from heats 12 to 14 to leave the teams locked together at 42-42 going into the finale.
And the meeting looked set to end in deadlock as Wolverhampton man Rory Schlein led the way until Tungate, who had crashed out of heat 13, sliced down the inside on the run to the line to snatch glory by the narrowest of margins with partner Charles Wright back in third spot.
Panthers’ first success of their new top-flight era was gained despite an uncharacteristic blank from captain Hans Andersen who failed to score in all four of his rides, but the other six home riders all contributed solidly to a successful effort.
Team boss Carl Johnson said: “We’re all delighted to get the first win on the board - even though we made hard work of it.
“We allowed Wolverhampton to come back into a meeting we had under control and it got a little too close for comfort.
“But Rohan showed his character to dust himself down from his crash and win us the meeting with a great ride in heat 15.
“The boys deserve that result as well. They’ve been working really hard to get things right.
“Hans really struggled last night but the other six guys all put in good performances and got themselves among the points.”
The displays of reserve duo Ben Barker and Aaron Summers were crucial for Panthers as they piled up 17 points between them.
Barker top-scored a 9+1 effort while short-term capture Summers launched his eight-point display with back-to-back wins.
And second-string Lasse Bjerre shrugged off the mechanical problems that have affected him in the early weeks of the campaign with a much-improved 7+2 haul which included victory in the opener and a 5-1 with Barker in heat eight.
Panthers’ final fixture in this competition - away to Wolverhampton - is still to be re-arranged following a Monday (April 8) abandonment.
The city side begin their SGB Premiership challenge on Monday (April 15) when they welcome reigning champions Poole to Alwalton (7.30pm).
PANTHERS: Ben Barker 9+1, Rohan Tungate 9, Charles Wright 8, Aaron Summers 8, Lasse Bjerre 7+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+2, Hans Andersen 0.
WOLVERHAMPTON: Scott Nicholls 13+1, Rory Schlein 11+1, Kyle Howarth 10, Sam Masters 6+1, Luke Becker 4, Ashley Morris 0, Rider replacement for Nick Morris.
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