Sunday May 21, 2017
A DEPLETED Peterborough side slipped to a second SGB Championship defeat in as many days to complete a tough weekend.

The 'T Balfe Construction' Panthers, who were only able to track three of their regular riders, went down 58-34 at Newcastle on Sunday night.

It was always going to be a tall order against the Diamonds at Brough Park without injured trio Kenneth Hansen, Simon Lambert and Bradley Wilson-Dean, and number one Jack Holder, who was on World Under 21 Championship duty.

Team boss Carl Johnson admitted: "The weekend certainly hasn't gone the way we wanted it to.

"We lost a home meeting on Friday due to the weather, we couldn't pick up any points in two away meetings, and we lost another rider to injury.

"It's a difficult time for us, but the management and riders are doing all they can to turn the season around for the better."

Guest reserve Robert Branford provided Peterborough's two race triumphs at Newcastle. He was victorious in heats two and 14, with reserve partner Tom Bacon ensuring both races ended in advantages to the away side.

They collected a 5-1 in the second instalment and then bagged a 4-2 in the penultimate race. Those efforts helped Branford, borrowed from Sheffield, record a handy 7+1 while Bacon amassed 6+3 to record his best score in Panthers' colours to date.

Paul Starke also impressed with a typically solid showing as he piled up a dozen points - a haul boosted by a tactical ride in heat eight when he had to settle for second behind Ash Morris, a rider who had guested for Peterborough the previous night.

Captain Ulrich Ostergaard was thankfully able to walk away from a heat 15 spill at the end of a frustrating night which featured six points, but the club's other two guest riders both struggled.

Lasse Bjerre could only manage three points at number one, while Dany Gappmaier didn't trouble the scorers.

Johnson added: "The two boys at reserve both did very well. Robert picked up our two wins and Tom scored points in every ride which was great to see.

"Paiul was his usual self with plenty of points, but we didn't pick up enough elsewhere in the main body of the team.

"It wasn't one of Lasse's best nights by a long shot and Dany really struggled, but we have to thank him for stepping in at short notice after Simon got hurt on Saturday.

"Dany has been flying lately, but he openly admits that Newcastle is not a track he likes, yet he as still prepared to give it a go for us.

"We usually tend to do pretty well when it comes to picking guests, but it didn't quite work out last night.

"We knew it was going to be a case of damage limitation, but we didn't manage to keep it as tight as we would have liked."

Panthers are back in action with two away tests in Scotland in as many days. They go to table-toppers Edinburgh on Friday and then visit third-placed Glasgow on Saturday.

Panthers are without captain Ostergaard at Edinburgh due to a Danish League commitment, but he will return the following night.

Jack Holder is back after missing both meetings this weekend due to his World Under 21 Championship commitments.

Panthers are hopeful that all three of their current injury victims - Hansen (fractured brestbone), Lambert (ligament damage to a wirst) and Wilson-Dean (fracture in a hand) - will all be back in action north of the border.

The club's next home meeting is on Bank Holiday Monday, May 29, when they host Workington (7pm).

NEWCASTLE: Steve Worrall 15, Lewis Rose 14+1, Robert Lambert 11+1, Ludvig Lindgren 7+2, Ash Morris 7+1, Ben Hopwood 4+1, Connor Coles 0.

PETERBOROUGH 'T BALFE CONSTRUCTION' PANTHERS: Paul Starke 12, Robert Branford (guest) 7+1, Tom Bacon 6+3, Ulrich Ostergaard 6, Lasse Bjerre
(guest) 3, Dany Gappmaier (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Kenneth Hansen.

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