KO BLOW FOR 'WOEFUL' PANTHERS

Tuesday June 28, 2016
PROMOTER Ged Rathbone issued a public apology after Peterborough saw their hopes of Premier League KO Cup glory all but ended tonight.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers crashed to their heaviest defeat of the 2016 season when being beaten 62-28 at Somerset in a quarter-final, first leg clash.

Panthers managed only one heat victory all night at the windswept Oaktree Arena and that arrived in the opening race courtesy of number one Craig Cook.

“We were woeful,” admitted Rathbone. “And I can only apologise to the fans who travelled all the way to Somerset to witness such a poor performance.

“Losing a meeting by this sort of scoreline is never acceptable and the riders need to realise what they produced was nowhere near good enough.

“It pains me to say it was men against boys for the vast majority of the meeting and we will need a miracle to turn the tie around.

“It is now about salvaging some pride and nothing less than a victory will do in the second leg on Sunday.”

Two Somerset rides, Rohan Tungate and Jake Allen, recorded paid maximums while two other members of the home side, Josh Grajczonek and Paul Starke, roared into double-figures.

It was a different story for Panthers as only skipper Ulrich Ostergaard was able to score with consistency. He had four second places and a third in a top-scoring haul of nine points.

Recent signing Zdenek Holub was in the thick of the action with paid five during his first-ever visit to the South-West venue – a tally matched by Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen.

Cook also finished on five as he could only complete two of his four rides. He was excluded by referee Mick Posselwhite for tumbling out of heat five after home rider Charles Wright had been buffeted off line, and also retired towards the end of heat 13.

Tom Perry endured a tough return to the Peterborough fold as he managed only 2+1, but he was able to walk away unscathed from a crash in heat eight for which he was excluded.

Simon Lambert saw his excellent form come to an end with 3+2 while Emil Grondal was unable to get among the points.

Rathbone added: “The wind was horrendous. It was so strong that a perimeter fence was blown down during the meeting.

“It caused major problems for riders as they were being blown off line – that’s exactly what led to Craig coming down in heat five.

“We asked the referee to seriously consider the safety of the riders, but he felt the conditions were good enough for the meeting to continue.

“We can’t use the wind as an excuse as it was the same for both teams and we can’t hide from a hugely disappointing result."

The second leg is at the East of England Showground on Sunday (5pm).

SCORES

SOMERSET: Jake Allen 14+1, Josh Grajczonek 14, Paul Starke 11+2, Rohan Tungate 10+2, Charles Wright 9+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 4+2, Zach Wajtknecht 0.

PETERBOROUGH ‘T BALFE CONSTRUCTION’ PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 9, Craig Cook 5, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 5, Zdenek Holub 4+1, Simon Lambert 3+2, Tom Perry 2+1, Emil Grondal 0

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