Temporary team boss Dale Allitt claimed Peterborough Panthers sent out a ‘massive message’ by starting their Premier League season with success last night (April 16).
The city side were able to call on stellar performances from three great Danes as they snatched a 48-42 victory in a thriller at Rye House – a result wrapped up by 5-1s in three of the final four races.
Former Rockets star Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, high-scoring reserve Emil Grondal and super skipper Ulrich Ostergaard spearheaded the charge with dazzling double-figures displays in Hertfordshire.
Allitt said: “We have had a couple of very big wins against Scunthorpe already this season, but they are struggling and I didn’t read too much into those results.
“But coming away to a very good Rye House side, who have started the season well, and winning sends out a massive message that we are a team to be taken seriously.
“We didn’t have it all our own way by any means, but we have a lot of fighters in this team. We kept ourselves in the meeting when we were behind, and we were able to get ourselves on top when it really mattered.
“Some teams fall apart when the chips are down, but these guys came into their own.”
Panthers had never been more than four points adrift of their hosts before turning the contest around to emerge victorious by six points even though four of their riders recorded scores of four points or fewer.
Ostergaard gave them a confidence-booster in the opening race by seeing off rival number one Edward Kennett. The Rye House skipper had recorded maximums in his previous three meetings.
Panthers hit the front when reserves Tom Perry and Grondal roared to a 5-1 in a second contest which had to be halted just before the finish as home rider Peter Karger hit the deck, but the city side couldn’t hang on to their lead.
Busk Jakobsen could only split Cameron Heeps and Leigh Lanham in heat three before Nicklas Porsing retired from the lead in the next contest as Stuart Robson and Ben Morley were gifted a 5-1 over Perry.
That left Panthers two points in arrears and their deficit doubled in heat nine when Porsing was sandwiched by the Heeps/Lanham combination as a run of six shared outcomes in seven races was interrupted.
It was eventually ended with a vengeance by Panthers as they seized command in the closing stages.
Busk Jakobsen and Grondal pulled them level with a 5-1 in heat 12 only for Kennett to pounce on a slight loss of control from Ostergaard to snatch victory and earn the hosts a 4-2 in the next race.
But Panthers came up with the perfect response as Grondal, who has now been paid for a staggering 30 points in just two visits to the Hoddesdon track, zoomed clear in the penultimate race with Michael Palm Toft, who had earlier struggled, in tow.
Their efforts ensured Busk Jakobsen and Ostergaard only required a deadlock in the finale to clinch victory, but they put the seal on a fine opening success with a 5-1.
Panthers return to action on Thursday (April 21) when they visit a Redcar side widely tipped to struggle. Their next home meeting is against Somerset on Sunday (April 24).
Allitt added: “It was a very pleasing start, but we’re well aware of the need to make sure we follow it up with more good results next week.
“A few people are already writing Redcar off, but there is no chance of us taking them lightly. We take every team seriously and we need to ensure we prepare properly and put in the sort of performance we know we are capable of producing.”
RYE HOUSE: Edward Kennett 12, Stuart Robson 9, Cameron Heeps 8+1, Leigh Lanham 5, Ben Morley 4+2, Kasper Lykke 3+1, Peter Karger 1+1.
PETERBOROUGH ‘T BALFE CONSTRUCTION’ PANTHERS: Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 13, Emil Grondal 12+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 12+1, Tom Perry 4, Michael Palm Toft 3+2, Nicklas Porsing 3+1, Simon Lambert 1+1.