PANTHERS PICK UP A POINT

Saturday July 25, 2015
PETERBOROUGH edged closer to clinching a Premier League play-off spot as their patched-up team collected a deserved away point tonight (Saturday).

A Readypower Panthers line-up without three key men – teen talent Robert Lambert, high-scoring reserve namesake Simon Lambert and Lewis Blackbird – due to injury was pipped 49-44 at Workington.

It was only a second defeat in seven away league meetings for Panthers and it arrived against a Comets side extending their 100 per cent home league record to seven meetings.

But they had the consolation of departing from Derwent Park having climbed back into second place in the table, leapfrogging a Glasgow side they face tomorrow (Sunday).

Fourteen-point skipper Ulrich Ostergaard was the star of the show for Panthers at one of his former hunting grounds. He reeled off four successive victories during a sparkling individual display and was only denied a maximum when being beaten by fellow Danish racer Kenneth Hansen in the finale.

But his second place in that race – combined with a third spot for guest Josh Grajczonek – ensured Panthers left in possession of point.

Promoter Ged Rathbone admitted: “We had hoped to come to Workington and win, but picking up a point is not a bad result in the circumstances.

“Workington have a very strong side, but we fought until the very end to make sure we got something out of the night and it is another step closer to securing a play-off spot.

“Ulrich was absolutely outstanding and his performance was all the more impressive considering he was riding his spare bike after having engine problems in his number one machine before the meeting.”

Grajczonek, who racked up an impressive haul of 11+3, was the chief source of support for captain Ostergaard.

The Australian, borrowed from Somerset, had earlier been deployed on a successful tactical ride mission in heat eight to earn Panthers a 7-2 which proved to be a turning point.

It slashed their arrears to five points and they closed the gap even further when Ostergaard inspired a 4-2 in heat 13 to leave them only three points adrift.

Workington sealed victory when Hansen took the flag in the penultimate race with Emil Grondal in hot pursuit. The World Under 21 finalist performed well in his first away meeting in British speedway as he collected a hat-trick of second places after taking two riders to master the track.

Hansen again triumphed in the finale, but Ostergaard followed in his countryman and Grajczonek was gifted third when Comets man Ricky Wells suffered mechanical problems on the third lap.

Panthers continue their Northern tour with a second-versus-third clash at Glasgow tomorrow (3pm). The two teams go into Ashfield battle level on points, but Panthers have two meetings in hand on their big-spending Scottish hosts.

They have drafted in Redcar man Matej Kus and Workington rider Matt Wethers as guests for Blackbird and Simon Lambert respectively.

Rathbone added: “It’s a big meeting and we will approach it in the same way as we approach all others.

“We’re going there with the intention of winning and, if we can’t manage that, we are looking for another league point as a minimum.”

SCORES
WORKINGTON: Kenneth Hansen 12+1, Ricky Wells 9, Kyle Howarth 8, Rene Bach 7, Matt Williamson 5+1, Rusty Harrison 4+2, Matt Wethers 4+1.

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 14, Josh Grajczonek (guest) 11+3, Emil Grondal 6, Michael Palm Toft 6, Rafal Konopka 5, Ashley Morris (guest) 2+1, Rider replacement for Lewis Blackbird.

TEAMS
GLASGOW: Nick Morris, James Sarjeant, Aaron Summers, Rider replacement for David Howe, Richard Lawson, Victor Palovaara, Adam Roynon (guest).

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard, Rider replacement for Robert Lambert, Matej Kus (guest), Emil Grondal, Michael Palm Toft, Matt Wethers (guest), Rafal Konopka.

Picture: DAVE PAYNE

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