Tough-riding Bees in town

COVENTRY are the next visitors to the Showground in an Elite League A fixture on Monday, a meeting sponsored by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor Pat Nash MBE.

COVENTRY are the next visitors to the Showground in an Elite League A fixture on Monday, a meeting sponsored by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor Pat Nash MBE.

Supporters will need no reminding that the Bees put Panthers out of the KO cup this year helping themselves to a 4 point win in the first leg at the Showground in the process.

The Bees have made a storming start to the season and they have already clocked up away wins at Ipswich and Poole and will obviously be looking to add to that with a victory at the Showground. The charge however did hit the buffers somewhat with Swindon winning at Brandon in a close match on Thursday and that appears to be the first set back for the Bees this season.

Ricky Wells has replaced Filip Sitera in the Bees ranks since that match and he will be making his Showground debut in this fixture, he has so far found points hard to come by, but other than him the Bees side is unchanged from the one that rode in March.

The Panthers fortunes and team has substantially changed since that match with the welcome return of Karol Zabik, the signing of Kenneth Hansen, who in his two home meetings to date has recorded paid 17 and the latest news that Henning Bager has replaced Ales Dryml.

Karol showed at home against Poole just what Panthers had been missing and followed that up with another paid 9 score at Swindon, he has added real strength to the main body of the team and is capable of beating anyone around the Showground.

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In addition the Panthers have Captain Niels Kristian Iversen back to his best after his excellent display in the sky match at Swindon and the Panthers are more than confident that they can get the job done on this occasion.

Henning Bager comes into the side just as he is in the middle of a run in form, as he performed admirably for Belle Vue whilst covering for Billy Forsberg, and it's clear the BV management did think about keeping him. However their loss is Panthers gain and Henning will know doubt be keen to impress the Panthers management with a view to keeping this position for the rest of the season.

Team Manager Trevor Swales said; “Coventry are clearly a good side and this will be another hard home meeting, I do feel however with the changes we have made that it will be different this time and that we have the measure of them. I never like losing to Peter Oakes and didn't appreciate being put out of the KO cup at the first round again, so this time we aim to put things right. I don't normally single riders out but Niels Kristian Iversen was really back to his best against Swindon and with him and Karol Zabik firing on all cylinders I am expecting us to beat them”.

Promoter Mick Bratley said: “I feel more comfortable about facing a powerful Coventry side now that we have changed the side around somewhat since the Bees narrowly beat us at Alwalton in the KO Cup. Karol Zabik can potentially go on to be one of a select few Panthers riders who become one of the 'greats' at riding the Showground circuit. It is not unrealistic to say that by the end of the season we would be mentioning him in the same breath as Crump, Sullivan, Poole and Andersen for excitement around the Showground. His performance recently against Poole was worth the admission money alone. The boy oozes confidence around the Showground and has a real fire in his belly. His attitude has been spot on since he returned to the side following a period where the club gave him compassionate leave. Kenneth Hansen has also been full value at the Showground and he is getting confidence in his ability on bigger circuits every time he takes to the track at Alwalton. Couple this with the improvement of Iversen, the solid scoring of Bjerre and Korneliussen and the return of Henning Bager who will be out to impress, then I am confident we can take all three points from this one.”

Teams in alphabetical order (Green Sheet Averages in Brackets)

Peterborough Panthers: Henning BAGER (4.63), Kenneth BJERRE (7.88), Lee COMPLIN (3.64), Kenneth HANSEN (3.57), Niels Kristian IVERSEN (7.80) Captain, Mads KORNELIUSSEN (6.94), & Karol ZABIK (4.56).

Team Managers Trevor & Wayne Swales

Coventry Bees: Oliver ALLEN (6.57), Ben BARKER (4.02), Jordan FRAMPTON (3.17), Chris HARRIS (7.71) Captain, Edward KENNETT (7.11), Rory SCHLEIN (7.24) & Ricky WELLS (4.00).

Team Managers Colin Pratt & Peter Oakes

Match Referee - Mr Mike Posselwhite