BACK ON TOP

Friday July 17, 2015
PETERBOROUGH stormed back to the Premier League summit on a Friday night to remember at the East of England Showground.

Captain Ulrich Ostergaard and super guest Nicklas Porsing spearheaded a power-packed all-round performance as fellow play-off hopefuls Sheffield were shrugged aside 53-37 amid some spectacular action.

There were a catalogue of thrilling races to provide high-entertainment for a large crowd and it was also a memorable meeting for two recent recruits - Rafal Konopka and Emil Grondal - as they both claimed their first victories in Readypower Panthers colours.

Improving reserve Konopka took the flag in heat two as Panthers levelled with a 4-2 while Grondal World Under 21 finalist won heat six and heat eight before watching the back of skipper Ostergaard in a heat 10 maximum.

That was the first of a hat-trick of 5-1s which clinched victory with Panthers successfully thwarting star Sheffield guest Edward Kennett’s tactical ride in the next race before Porsing and high-scoring reserve Simon Lambert roared home in heat 12.

And joint team boss Dale Allitt was understandably delighted with a magnificent display produced despite two key riders - Robert Lambert and Lewis Blackbird - being out injured.

He said: “I don’t want to tempt fate, but the riders have a good habit of bouncing back after a disappointing result.

"We had to wait a week to put right the loss at Scunthorpe the previous Friday and we did it in really good style.

“We proved once again that we are a good team and showed our fans that we will come out fighting regardless of what is thrown at us.

“We felt we had to bring in a big-hitter with Robert and Lewis both missing, and Nicklas stepped up to the challenge.

“It was great to see Emil and Rafal winning races as well and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall performance.

“It is a whole team effort here and the spirit in the camp is fantastic. Everyone deserves credit on a night like this.”

It certainly wasn’t a cakewalk for Panthers though with Kennett inspiring a 4-2 for the visitors in the opener.

Panthers replied in kind as Konopka powered clear of Arthur Sissis in heat two before Porsing had a successful first taste of Premier League racing by storming to an emphatic triumph in heat three with countryman Michael Palm Toft in tow.

The first of six maximums managed in all allowed Panthers to hit the front for the first time and it was swiftly followed by another as Ostergaard and Simon Lambert dominated heat four.

Panthers extended their cushion when Grondal bagged a first success in British speedway in a sixth heat with featured only three riders. Busy Sheffield reserve Sissis was withdrawn with bike problems and fellow bottom-end rider Josh Bates was unable to take his place due to feeling unwell.

They were denied a 5-1 as Sheffield captain Jason Garrity ruthlessly roared past Ostergaard – the first of several no-holds-barred battles between those two riders which drew audible gasps from the Alwalton faithful.

There was more excitement in heat eight when Grondal continued his winning habit as he and Lambert powered past Bates in unison going through the third bend to bag another 5-1, but Sheffield hit back as Garrity got the edge over Porsing in a cracking heat nine battle after Palm Toft had tumbled out of the initial staging.

Grondal clearly has a penchant for simultaneous passing judging by the way he and Ostergaard negotiated Sheffield guest Kevin Doolan in heat 10 and the Tigers’ immediate use of their tactical ride came to nothing in the next race as Kennett tasted defeat in his double-points mission.,

Porsing and Simon Lambert completed the march to victory with plenty to spare before Sheffield reduced their arrears in the closing stages, but it was Panthers who took another big step towards securing a play-off spot.

They now boast a 19-point cushion over Berwick, the team currently sat immediately below the top six and Allitt added: “It is obviously looking good for the play-offs, but we know a place in the top six is not guaranteed until mathematically certain.

“We don’t just want to get into the play-offs though – a top-two finish is our target to get straight through to the semi-finals.”

Panthers return to action next week with a Northern tour taking in a Saturday (July 24) stop at Workington and a Sunday (July 25) visit to Glasgow.

SCORES
READYPOWER PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Nicklas Porsing (guest) 12, Simon Lambert 10+3, Michael Palm Toft 8+3, Emil Grondal 8+1, Rafal Konopka 3, Rider replacement for Robert Lambert.

SHEFFIELD: Edward Kennett (guest) 13, Jason Garrity 9+1, Arthur Sissis 5+1, Kevin Doolan 4 (guest), David Bellego 4, Josh Bates 2, Rider replacement for Ashley Birks.

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