Panthers thrill the crowds and the television cameras with victory over the Diamonds in a pulsating Premier League clash
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Peterborough Panthers 54 Newcastle Diamonds 40
Peterborough Panthers served up a television treat to pocket their first Premier League victory of the season in a meeting that had it all.
There were thrills and spills galore as the ‘TC Harrison’ Panthers saw off Newcastle in front of the Sky Sports cameras and a bumper East of England Showground crowd swelled by those taking advantage of a bargain £5 ticket deal.
The meeting began with a track-record equalling performance from Diamonds ace Christian Henry in the opener and that set the tone for a brilliant contest full of explosive action which had Sky’s commentary team of Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum running out of superlatives.
“It was the perfect night for the club,” said delighted Panthers supremo Mick Horton. “We picked up our first Premier League win and we could hardly have done it in better style.
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“That has to go down as one of the best meetings I’ve ever seen and it proves yet again why I always say that the East of England Showground is the best racetrack in the country.
“Every heat was full of incident and those people who took advantage of our great ticket offer really got their money’s worth.
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“There were lots of faces new and old present and I just hope everyone comes back on a regular basis because the action they saw tonight is not a one-off.”
Panthers were briefly behind after Henry provided a lightning start by matching the fastest time ever set in Premier League competition at Alwalton in the curtain-raiser.
Henry clocked 59.7 to equal a record that has belonged to fellow Aussie racer Mark Lemon since the Premier League Fours event of 2010 when he also rode for Newcastle.
But Panthers soon took command to zoom 10 points clear by slamming in three 5-1s in the space of four cracking races with reserve talent Oliver Greenwood excelling.
The visitors wasted no time in using a tactical ride but Anton Rosen had to play second fiddle to Ryan Fisher as the sixth heat ended in a 4-4.
The Swedish ace’s first visit to the Showground ended abruptly after he was involved in an awful ninth heat crash after being hit by team-mate Chris Schramm and spectacularly sent tumbling into the back-straight fence.
Rosen was thankfully able to walk into an ambulance, but unsurprisingly he took no further part in the meeting.
Panthers pair Ulrich Ostergaard and Ales Dryml claimed a 4-2 against reserve replacement Lewis Rose when the race was finally completed at the third attempt.
That allowed the Diamonds to deploy skipper Stuart Robson in search of double-points in heat 10 but, after getting the better of Fisher in a brilliant scrap which ended when the home rider hit the deck, he was unable to reel in the excellent Lewis Blackbird.
Fisher remounted to claim third place and ensure a second 4-4 of the night with the other Newcastle representative, Lewis Kerr, having already suffered the third of his four successive retirements.
Lasse Bjerre was powerless to prevent the impressive Henry and Ludvig Lindgren from claiming the visitors’ only 5-1 in the next race, but Panthers wrapped up victory when Fisher scraped home by the smallest of margins from the fast-finishing Lindgren in a heat 13 4-2.
All three league points were in the bag moments later when skipper Ostergaard led home the back-on-song Joe Jacobs for a 5-1 in the penultimate race before Fisher ended a memorable night on a high by taking the flag in the finale.
Panthers now turn their attention back to the Premier League Cup competition as they complete their Southern Group schedule with two meetings in the space of three days.
The group leaders go to Plymouth on Friday and Rye House on Sunday.
‘TC HARRISON’ PANTHERS: Ryan Fisher 10, Ulrich Ostergaard 9+2, Ales Dryml 9, Lewis Blackbird 8, Lasse Bjerre 7+1, Joe Jacobs 6+1, Oliver Greenwood 5+1
NEWCASTLE: Stuart Robson 12+1, Christian Henry 11, Ludvig Lindgren 6+1, Anton Rosen 5 (withdrawn), Lewis Rose 4, Chris Schramm 2+1, Lewis Kerr 0.
1 – Henry (59.7), Blackbird, Lindgren, Fisher. 2-4, 2-4.
2 – Jacobs (61.3), Greenwood, Schramm, Rose. 5-1, 7-5.
3 – Robson (60.6), Dryml, Ostergaard, Kerr (ret). 3-3, 10-8.
4 – Greenwood (61.1), Bjerre, Rosen, Rose. 5-1, 15-9.
5 – Dryml (60.8), Ostergaard, Lindgren, Henry. 5-1, 20-10.
6 – Fisher (61.2), Rosen^, Blackbird, Schramm. 4-4, 24-14.
7 – Bjerre (61.7), Robson, Jacobs, Kerr (ret). 4-2, 28-16.
8 – Henry (61.7), Blackbird, Rose, Greenwood (ret). 2-4, 30-20.
9 – re-run x2 Ostergaard (62.0), Rose, Dryml, Schramm (fell/exc). 4-2, 34-22.
10 – re-run Blackbird (63.4), Robson^, Fisher (fell/rem), Kerr (ret). 4-4, 38-26.
11 – Henry (62.6), Lindgren, Bjerre, Jacobs. 1-5, 39-31.
12 – Dryml (61.9), Robson, Schramm, Greenwood. 3-3, 42-34.
13 – Fisher (61.9), Lindgren, Bjerre, Rose. 4-2, 46-36.
14 – Ostergaard (62.6), Jacobs, Rose, Kerr (ret). 5-1, 51-37.
15 – Fisher (62.6), Henry, Robson, Ostergaard (ret). 3-3, 54-40.
^ denotes tactical ride