Hapless Bees thrashed by rampant Panthers

SIZZLING Panthers re-wrote the record books with the biggest conventional-meeting win in their history as they overwhelmed Coventry 70-20 at the Showground.

SIZZLING Panthers re-wrote the record books with the biggest conventional-meeting win in their history as they overwhelmed Coventry 70-20 at the Showground.

Four Peterborough riders scored paid maximums, with Ryan Fisher taking top billing as he went through the card from six rides, whilst stand-in skipper Patrick Hougaard, Krzysztof Buczkowski – for the second time at home this week – and Joonas Kylmakorpi were also unbeaten.

It was the perfect way for the Panthers to hit back from the disappointment of just missing out on an away win at Birmingham in midweek, and how different it was to the previous visit of the Bees in May when the home side crashed to a 37-56 defeat.

But what a difference three months makes – or in Panthers’ case, what a difference a team with confidence and riding high off the back of recent successful results makes.

Coventry were simply not allowed to settle, and visiting fans must have feared the worst when their top-two spearhead of Krzysztof Kasprzak and Scott Nicholls, both of whom ran riot in that May meeting, both trailed in last in their first rides. Neither beat an opponent all evening.

A 4-2 in the first race for the Panthers was followed by an astonishing burst of five successive 5-1s, and the home side’s only concern was with rain moving in, the meeting being progressed at a quick pace to make sure of a result.

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As things turned out, conditions improved around the Heat 10 mark and after Dakota North had just been unable to snatch second place from Aaron Summers in Heat 7 – having got the better of Grzegorz Zengota for third – Panthers went back into overdrive with four more 5-1s in the next four races.

North picked up a disqualification for bringing down Stuart Robson in Heat 12, the Coventry man unfortunately suffering an ankle injury, but Hougaard produced one of the rides of the night to round Zengota and Kozza Smith on successive laps and win the re-run.

Guest Chris Harris and Kylmakorpi held off Kasprzak in Heat 13 with Nicholls trailing, before a fine scrap for second place in Heat 14 saw North again just miss out to Summers, with Buczkowski leading as he pleased.

Panthers needed a final 5-1 to go through the 70-point barrier and initially they looked set to be denied with Harris finding himself at the back – but to the delight of the crowd he roared round both Zengota and Summers to join Fisher up-front as the home fans celebrated the most emphatic of victories.

Panthers coach Ryan Sullivan said: “On paper Coventry looked quite a good, solid side and to be honest I expected them to put in a much better performance and really challenge us.

“But the boys were outstanding. You can see every rider giving it 100 per cent and we can’t ask for more than that.

“We have to make sure we keep winning and keep piling up the points, and we’re doing that. This has boosted our confidence – the boys’ heads were down a bit after Birmingham but I think perhaps they took that loss on Wednesday out on Coventry. The confidence is up again now and we have to take that to Coventry (on Monday) and do it again.”

PETERBOROUGH 70: Ryan Fisher 14+4, Patrick Hougaard 14+1, Chris Harris 13, Krzysztof Buczkowski 10+2, Joonas Kylmakorpi 10+2, Dakota North 9+2, Norbert Kosciuch r/r.

COVENTRY 20: Aaron Summers 6, Kozza Smith 4, Krzysztof Kasprzak 3, Grzegorz Zengota 2+1, Scott Nicholls 2, Michal Szczepaniak 2, Stuart Robson 1.

PETERBOROUGH have been forced into a late fixture change which now leaves them without a home match on Monday September 2.

The Readypower Panthers were originally due to host Belle Vue on that date, but the Manchester side have now instead agreed to race at home to Wolverhampton.

With Belle Vue and Wolverhampton both Monday night tracks their fixtures take precedent leaving Peterborough having to reluctantly reschedule their final two regular-season home meetings.

The Panthers next home match will be against Wolverhampton on Monday September 9, with the Showground meeting against Belle Vue now taking place on Monday September 16.

The Elite League play-offs are due to begin on Monday September 23.