Champions are downed by superb Panthers

PETERBOROUGH’S terrific run of form continued with a 52-40 win over reigning Elite League Champions Swindon at the Showground.

PETERBOROUGH’S terrific run of form continued with a 52-40 win over reigning Elite League Champions Swindon at the Showground.

Friday’s victory completed a home and away double over the Robins, and coupled with the points gained from the recent awarded win over King’s Lynn it means the Readypower Panthers have taken ten points from their last three meetings – and have moved above Eastbourne into eighth place in the table.

Further away wins will be required if they are to stage the most dramatic of late runs towards the play-offs, but Panthers bosses will refuse to give in on that dream until it is mathematically impossible.

And they certainly now have a team transformed from their early-season struggles with skipper Kenneth Bjerre leading the way against the Robins with a majestic paid maximum, reserve Patrick Hougaard keeping up his recent scoring bonanza and solid efforts coming all the way through the line-up.

That was in stark contrast to the Robins, who relied heavily on the spectacular Peter Kildemand and British youngster Kyle Howarth as former Showground favourites Hans Andersen and Troy Batchelor endured nights to forget.

Andersen was relegated to third place by Bjerre and Ryan Fisher in Heat 1, but the Robins reserves responded in the next race and a series of shared heats followed with Krzysztof Buczkowski producing a superb ride to get the better of Howarth and Andersen with a double-pass in Heat 5.

Most Read

Panthers edged into a two-point lead with a 4-2 in Heat 6 and maintained it in the next thanks to Dakota North’s second-lap overtake on Edward Kennett, and the home side then hit top gear with successive 5-1s to take a grip on the meeting.

First Hougaard and Fisher overhauled Howarth for maximum points in Heat 8 and then Polish duo Buczkowski and Norbert Kosciuch claimed a popular 5-1 over Batchelor with some spectacular early moves to hold the advantage.

Bjerre and Fisher looked set to leave Kildemand unable to take advantage from a tactical ride in Heat 10, but Fisher came to grief under Kildemand’s challenge with the referee adjudging the Panthers man to be at fault – although Bjerre’s win at least limited the Robins to a 5-3.

Two more shared heats followed before Bjerre and Joonas Kylmakorpi notched an important 4-2, split by Andersen, in Heat 13 although they had to wait to confirm maximum points after a major engine blow-up for Buczkowski in Heat 14 cost him a 5-1 with Hougaard.

But a Swindon 5-1 to salvage a point in the last race never looked a likely outcome, with Bjerre in dominant form to see off Kildemand whilst Hougaard added further insurance by keeping Andersen at bay for third.

Panthers co-promoter Trevor Swales said: “It’s never over until it’s over and whilst there is a mathematical chance of reaching the play-offs we’ll be trying to get there.

“We need to win all our home matches and get at least another couple of wins away, and our recent form means that is definitely possible.

“We can still get something out of the season but we have to make up for all the points we dropped at home, and this was another strong all-round performance – now we move on to Poole next Wednesday.”

PETERBOROUGH 52: Kenneth Bjerre 14+1, Patrick Hougaard 12, Krzysztof Buczkowski 7+1, Ryan Fisher 6+1, Joonas Kylmakorpi 6, Norbert Kosciuch 5+2, Dakota North 2+1

SWINDON 40: Peter Kildemand 15, Kyle Howarth 12+1, Hans Andersen 5+1, Troy Batchelor 4+1, Ashley Birks 3+2, Edward Kennett 1+1, Nick Morris R/R

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter