PANTHERS 46 SOMERSET 44

Tuesday April 01, 2014
RYAN Fisher and Lasse Bjerre delivered last heat heroics on two separate occasions as Peterborough claimed their first competitive victory of the new era in dramatic style tonight (April 1).

Panthers saw off reigning Premier League and League Cup holders Somerset at the East of England Showground despite going into a final race showdown trailing by two points.

Fisher and Bjerre, a somewhat surprising selection for the finale from co-boss Blayne Scroggins, both stormed past Rebels top-scorer Oliver Allen in the initial staging only to see the action halted when visiting number one Nick Morris crashed heavily on the third lap.

Referee Barbara Horley ruled the race had to be re-run and Panthers looked like being on the receiving end of some rough justice as Allen took command in the early stages.

But American ace Fisher forcefully charged down Allen's inside and, in the process, opened the door for Bjerre to follow him through - and this time there was no stopping them from putting the club’s first Southern Group points on the board.

“I think justice was done in the end,” said Panthers joint team manager Scroggins. “I felt the referee could easily have awarded heat 15, just as she had done an earlier race after Joe Jacobs had fallen.

“I obviously feared the worst when Oliver came flying out of the traps in the re-run, but ‘Fish’ produced a brilliant ride to get past him and Lasse was able to follow him through.

“I’m glad my decision to go with Lasse paid off. He had scored fewer points than Ulrich Ostergaard and Lewis Blackbird, but I felt he was the right man for the job.

“It was a great way to get our first League Cup win. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have dropped another point at home, but I will concentrate on the positive of beating a very, very good team especially as we are not quite firing on all cylinders ourselves yet.”

The lead changed hands on numerous occasions during a thrilling battle at Alwalton.

A Somerset side spearheaded by the speedy Allen (who rode in Peterborough colours as recently as 2012), exciting Swedish ace Pontus Aspgren (who delivered a couple of breath-taking, fence-brushing charges to victory) and high-scoring reserve Charles Wright (who notched double-figures from a six-ride shift) proved more than a match for Panthers.

Scroggins' side had the edge early on thanks to a rip-roaring start from the impressive Lewis Blackbird and Fisher in a re-run opener, but an Allen/Wright 5-1 over Ales Dryml in heat four completed a quick turnaround.

Back-to-back 4-2s (Ostergaard and Fisher picking up the wins) soon had the hosts back in the driving seat only for that hotly-disputed decision from referee Horley to award heat seven to knock them out of their stride.

Aspgren and Brady Kurtz were handed a 5-1 after Panthers reserve Jacobs tumbled in the opening corner of the third lap – a decision which infuriated the home camp as they felt their other representative in the race, Dryml, was still in a position to pass Kurtz.

Somerset retained their narrow advantage until the powerful Fisher/Blackbird combination came up trumps with another 5-1 in heat 10 to end the winning run of Aspgren and sure the pendulum swung back the way of Panthers. It was a fine way for Blackbird to sign off from an excellent shift which yielded paid nine.

The next twist arrived in heat 13 when Allen and Morris proved too hot for the previously unbeaten Fisher to handle as a Rebels 5-1 put them two points to the good.

That’s the way it stayed as Aspgren nipped past Joe Jacobs to march to victory in a shared penultimate contest, but Panthers saved their best until last to snatch victory.

SCORES:
PANTHERS: Ryan Fisher 12+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 9, Lasse Bjerre 8+3, Lewis Blackbird 8+1, Joe Jacobs 5+1, Ales Dryml 5, Oliver Greenwood 1+1.

SOMERSET: Oliver Allen 12, Charles Wright 10+2, Pontus Aspgren 10, Nick Morris 5+2, Brady Kurtz 4+1, Todd Kurtz 2, Paul Starke 1.

HEAT DETAILS
1 re-run Blackbird, Fisher, Wright (T. Kurtz exc tapes), Morris, 61.2 (5-1)
2 Wright, Jacobs, Starke, Greenwood, 62.1 (7-5)
3 Aspgren, Ostergaard, Bjerre, B. Kurtz, 61.3 (10-8)
4 Allen, Wright, Dryml, Greenwood, 61.7 (11-13)
5 Ostergaard, Morris, Bjerre, T. Kurtz, 62.1 (15-15)
6 Fisher, Allen, Blackbird, Starke, 62.3 (19-17)
7 Aspgren, B. Kurtz, Dryml, Jacobs (fell/exc), awarded (20-22)
8 Wright, Blackbird, Greenwood, T. Kurtz, 62.8 (23-25)
9 Allen, Ostergaard, Bjerre, Starke, 62.3 (26-28)
10 Fisher, Blackbird, Aspgren, B. Kurtz, 63.0 (31-29)
11 Dryml, T. Kurtz, Morris, Jacobs, 62.5 (34-32)
12 Bjerre, B. Kurtz, Wright, Greenwood, 62.6 (37-35)
13 Allen, Morris, Fisher, Dryml (ret), 62.9 (38-40)
14 Aspgren, Ostergaard, Jacobs, Wright, 63.0 (41-43)
15 re-run Fisher, Bjerre, Allen, Morris (fell/exc), 63.2 (46-44)

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