Panthers come out on top in derby victory but Witches battle all the way and get deserved point. Both managers satisfied, Tungate the star man for Witches
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Peterborough 47 Ipswich 43
Peterborough powered to a pulsating derby triumph over Ipswich Witches to begin their climb the Premier League standings.
The ‘TC Harrison’ Panthers emerged victorious from a tight-but-thrilling East of England Showground encounter against their East Anglian rivals which didn’t produce a single 5-1 race result.
It ended in victory for the team who went into battle sat second-bottom in the table over a side riding high in second spot, but the outcome remained in doubt right up until a last-heat decider.
Panthers duo Ryan Fisher and Lasse Bjerre arrived at the tapes in the knowledge that a first maximum of the night would secure maximum points, while the chosen Witches pair of Rohan Tungate and Morten Risager could have snatched a draw if delivering a 5-1 of their own.
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The finale eventually ended in deadlock as Tungate scorched clear with home riders packing the minor places – a set of circumstances which meant it was a case two points gained and one dropped for Panthers.
And team boss Trevor Swales was happy enough with that. He said: “We knew it would be a tough night and that’s exactly how it turned out.
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“But the boys deserve plenty of credit for battling away from the first heat until the last to pick up an important win.
“We would obviously have liked all three points, but we’ll settle for the two we got after such a hard-fought meeting.
“It was another night that threw up some terrific racing and again underlined that the Premier League is the place to be for excitement.”
It is difficult to argue with Swales’ assessment. There were thrills galore and just the one spill as Ipswich reserve Adam Ellis picked himself up from a nasty heat two tumble on the back straight.
Number one Fisher was back to his best with a 13-point haul to lead the Panthers charge. He inspired two 4-2s in the opening six races which edged them into a four-point lead.
That was quickly wiped out by two Witches advantages in the space of three races. One-time Panthers man Risager got the better of Bjerre in a battle of the unbeaten Danes in heat seven before Tungate took the flag in the ninth contest after a first-lap barging match with Peterborough skipper Ulrich Ostergaard, who dropped to the rear.
Panthers failed to take a golden opportunity to claim an advantage of their own in between those two races as Ipswich captain Ritchie Hawkins made up a 15-metre starting handicap in the re-run of heat eight to collar guest Dan Halsey for third in a shared contest won by Lewis Blackbird.
The sides were not level for long as American ace Fisher completed his hat-trick of wins in a brilliant heat 10 battle with countryman Gino Manzares, finally making a move stick at the second attempt. And partner Blackbird squeezed past the previously undefeated Risager on the final lap to secure a 4-2.
Panthers doubled their advantage to four points as a terrific tapes-to-flag triumph from reserve Joe Jacobs inspired a 4-2 in the penultimate race, but any hopes of snatching maximum points were swiftly ended by the speedy Tungate in the final instalment.
Ipswich team manager, Chris Louis, was pleased with his teams efforts: “We kept it tight and would have been very disappointed to come away with nothing. Rohan & Morten were fantastic and Gino showed again that he learns more from each away track with every visit. All in all a fair result!”
‘TC HARRISON’ PANTHERS: Ryan Fisher 13, Lasse Bjerre 10+2, Joe Jacobs 6+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 6, Lewis Blackbird 6, Ales Dryml 5+1, Dan Halsey (guest) 1+1.
IPSWICH: Rohan Tungate 13, Morten Risager 9, Cameron Heeps 7+1, Ritchie Hawkins 5+2, Gino Manzares 5, Richie Worrall 3+1, Adam Ellis 1.
1 - Fisher (60.3), Heeps, Blackbird, Worralll. 4-2, 4-2.
2 - Hawkins (awarded), Jacobs, Halsey, Ellis (fell/exc). 3-3, 7-5.
3 - Risager (61.2), Ostergaard, Dryml, Manzares. 3-3, 10-8.
4 - Bjerre, Tungate, Hawkins, Halsey. 3-3, 13-11.
5 - Ostergaard (61.4), Worrall, Heeps, Dryml (ret). 3-3, 16-14.
6 - Fisher (61.5), Tungate, Blackbird, Ellis. 4-2, 20-16.
7 - Risager (62.3), Bjerre, Manzares, Jacobs (fell). 2-4, 22-20.
8 - re-run Blackbird (62.1), Heeps, Hawkins (15m), Halsey. 3-3, 25-23.
9 - Tungate (61.9), Dryml, Ellis, Ostergaard. 2-4, 27-27.
10 - Fisher (62.8), Manzares, Blackbird, Risager. 4-2, 31-29.
11 - Bjerre (62.7), Heeps, Worrall, Jacobs. 3-3, 34-32.
12 - Risager (62.5), Dryml, Jacobs, Ellis. 3-3, 37-35.
13 - Tungate (62.8), Fisher, Bjerre, Worrall. 3-3, 40-38.
14 - Jacobs (63.0), Manzares, Ostergaard, Hawkins. 4-2, 44-40.
15 - Tungate (62.3), Fisher, Bjerre, Risager. 3-3, 47-43.