SEVENTH HEAVEN

Friday April 18, 2014
PANTHERS 52 IPSWICH 40: PETERBOROUGH ended a glorious Good Friday on top of the Premier League Cup, Southern Group standings.

The ‘TC Harrison’ Panthers started the day six points adrift of previous pacesetters Ipswich, but they ruled supreme home and away to pocket all seven league points available and leave the Witches spellbound.

Just as they had done earlier in the day at Foxhall when triumphing 54-39, skipper Ulrich Ostergaard and countryman Lasse Bjerre led the Panthers charge back on home territory at the East of England Showground.

The Danish duo combined for a final-heat 5-1 for the second time in a matter of hours to seal maximum points after Ipswich number one Richie Worrall had been ordered to race off a 15-metre handicap after twice jumping the start.

And, just as in Suffolk during the afternoon, Ostergaard and Bjerre both finished on 13 points – the latter being paid for the same tally as his skipper. Lewis Blackbird provided brilliant support by dropping just one point on his way to 11 from four rides.

Panthers had to overcome some early adversity to complete the double over their East Anglian rivals.

Reserve ace Joe Jacobs had to withdraw with concussion following a nasty spill in heat two. Jacobs lifted leaving the second bend and was hit by Witches skipper Ritchie Hawkins, who had no time to react.

A bad situation got worse when fellow reserve Oliver Greenwood, who battled valiantly to notch five points during a seven-ride shift, was excluded when taking a tumble in the re-run after Hawkins had forced him extremely wide.

Hawkins and Chris Mills were left to complete an exhibition 5-0 when the race was finally completed but Panthers needed only two races to wipe out a five-point deficit and hit the front.

Ostergaard and Ales Dryml breezed to a 5-1 in heat three before Bjerre blazed round the outside of Rohan Tungate to take the flag in a fourth race 4-2.

Dryml held off Worrall to win another 4-2 in the next before guest Rene Bach – now racing for Panthers after lining up against them earlier in the day - re-passed Rohan Tungate to follow home Blackbird for a 5-1 in heat six.

Ipswich stemmed the tide when Cameron Heeps roared round the outside to earn a 4-2 for the visitors in heat seven but Blackbird and Greenwood teamed up for a 5-1 to deliver an emphatic reply.

A couple of shared heats kept Panthers’ advantage pegged at nine points but a Bjerre success in a heat 11 4-2 ensured the Witches entered tactical-ride territory.

Risager was immediately deployed in search of double points in the next outing and made no mistake as a 7-2 slashed Panthers’ lead.

Worrall provided further resistance when holding off Bjerre following a hectic opening lap to a shared heat 13, but Panthers clinched victory in a re-run penultimate contest won by captain Ostergaard after Cameron Heeps had hit the deck.

There was drama aplenty during two false starts to a finale in which Panthers had to secure a share of the spoils to hold onto maximum points, but it was only a matter of time before the ‘Great Danes’ Ostergaard and Bjerre did the business.

Panthers put their League Cup campaign on hold until early May as they now prepare for the start of their Premier League campaign next weekend.

They face trips to Workington (Saturday, April 26) and Glasgow (Sunday, April 27) before entertaining Newcastle in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Tuesday, April 29.

SCORES

‘TC HARRISON’ PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 13, Lasse Bjerre 12+1, Lewis Blackbird 11, Ales Dryml 7+1, Oliver Greenwood 5+1, Rene Bach (guest) 4+3, Joe Jacobs (withdrawn) 0.

IPSWICH: Richie Worrall 10, Morten Risager 9+1, Cameron Heeps 6, Chris Mills (guest) 5+1, Ritchie Hawkins 5+1, Rohan Tungate 5, Gino Manzares 0.

HEATS
1 – Worrall (60.1), Blackbird, Bach, Manzares (fell). 3-3, 3-3
2 – re-run x2 Mills (60.4), Hawkins, Greenwood (fell/exc), Jacobs (fell/exc). 0-5, 3-8.
3 – Ostergaard (61.5), Dryml, Heeps, Risager. 5-1, 8-9.
4 – Bjerre (61.7), Tungate, Greenwood, Hawkins. 4-2, 12-11.
5 – Dryml (60.2), Worrall, Ostergaard, Manzares. 4-2, 16-13.
6 – Blackbird (60.2), Bach, Tungate, Mills. 5-1, 21-14.
7 – Heeps (60.1), Bjerre, Risager, Greenwood. 2-4, 23-18.
8 – Blackbird (61.9), Greenwood, Hawkins, Manzares. 5-1, 28-19.
9 – Ostergaard (61.7), Tungate, Mills, Dryml. 3-3, 31-22.
10 – Blackbird (60.4), Heeps, Risager, Bach. 3-3, 34-25.
11 – Bjerre (62.2), Worrall, Greenwood, Manzares. 4-2, 38-27.
12 – Risager^ (63.5), Dryml, Mills, Greenwood (fell/rem). 2-7, 41-34.
13 – Worrall (62.5), Bjerre, Bach, Tungate (ret). 3-3, 43-37.
14 – re-run Ostergaard (64.2), Hawkins, Greenwood, Heeps (fell/exc). 4-2, 47-39.
15 – re-run x2 Ostergaard (62.9), Bjerre, Risager, Worrall (15m). 5-1, 52-40.

^ denotes tactical ride


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