Wednesday April 04, 2018
PETERBOROUGH hit the road for the first time in 2018 when they make the short trip to Ipswich in the Championship Shield on Thursday (7.30pm).

Foxhall was the scene of a dramatic end to last season as the T.Balfe Construction Panthers lifted the KO Cup back in October, and on this occasion it’s the first of two meetings in two nights.

Panthers also visit Lakeside on Friday meaning their away programme in the Shield is scheduled to be completed in a period of just over 24 hours.

Last season’s trips to Ipswich produced mixed fortunes for Panthers, with a heavy defeat in the first league encounter on a night when they started with six men and were reduced to four before the end of the encounter.

But they came much closer with a patched-up side back in August and then successfully defended their four-point lead in the Cup Final with a 45-45 draw on the night.

Both sides have been left kicking their heels over the last ten days, and in the case of Ipswich they are yet to race at all this season – with their scheduled Good Friday opener against Lakeside having fallen victim to the weather.

For Panthers, Scott Nicholls, Ulrich Ostergaard and Simon Lambert did manage to ride in Saturday’s Cumberland Open Championship at Workington, with Nicholls finishing just off the podium and Ostergaard winning his final two rides – whilst reserve Tom Bacon has had two outings at National League level.

Nicholls is a long-time former Ipswich rider, having spent a total of ten seasons with the Witches in three separate spells during their time as a top-league club.

Panthers boss Carl Johnson said: “Ipswich is always a tough place to go, although we had a really good performance there at the end of last season to win the KO Cup.

“We will go there as we normally would, and we’ll be ready to work as hard as we can to get something out of it. We’ll be looking to win the meeting, and if that doesn’t happen then we’ll be doing our best to take at least a point from it.

“I think some of the riders we had last year struggled to adapt to the track and the conditions there, but towards the end of the season it was a case of them wanting it a bit more as well, and that made a big difference.

“It will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday, especially as they’ve altered the track there too, so we’ll see who it suits! I don’t think several of their riders have turned a wheel yet this season, so on that basis it might be a good time to face them.”

Teams from:
IPSWICH: Nico Covatti, Michael Haertel, Cameron Heeps, Danyon Hume, Danny King, Connor Mountain, Rory Schlein.
PETERBOROUGH: Tom Bacon, Emil Grondal, Simon Lambert, Nike Lunna, Scott Nicholls, Ulrich Ostergaard, Michael Palm Toft.

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