Friday May 04, 2018
PETERBOROUGH collected another useful away point following a 42-48 defeat at Edinburgh on Friday.

A sensational paid-18 haul from No.1 Scott Nicholls and a fine double figure effort from Nike Lunna were the headline displays from the T.Balfe Construction Panthers, who have picked up three points on the road in two days and sit on top of the fledgling Championship table.

As at Sheffield on Thursday, Panthers finished strongly and recovered from ten points down with a Heat 14 5-1 from Michael Palm Toft and Simon Lambert giving Nicholls the chance to secure the league point in the final race.

The visitors took some time to get into the meeting, conceding advantages in each of the first three heats, including a 5-1 in Heat 2 from Matt Williamson and Josh Pickering with the latter passing both Panthers, including Lambert on the last bend.

Mechanical problems for Palm Toft in Heat 3 handed third place to Max Ruml, enabling the Monarchs to go 13-5 up, before Lunna steadied the ship with a fine ride to hold off home captain Erik Riss in the next.

Panthers were then handed a 5-1 in Heat 5 when a battle between Nicholls and Mark Riss ended with the Monarchs rider coming down – and with Riss disqualified, Nicholls and guest Carl Wilkinson were awarded the maximum result.

The hosts hit back with a 5-1 of their own in Heat 6 but Nicholls was immediately brought in for a tactical substitute ride in the next and headed up a 4-2 – which looked a possible maximum for three laps until Erik Riss forced his way past Lunna.

When Pickering and Joel Andersson extended Edinburgh’s lead to ten in Heat 8 – Pickering again doing it from the back - the meeting could have got away from Panthers, but two shared races halted their progress and then both Nicholls and Wilkinson pulled off overtakes in Heat 11 to trim the margin to eight points.

Lunna got the better of Mark Riss in a shared Heat 12 before a sensational thirteenth race saw Nicholls overhaul both Ricky Wells and Erik Riss on the second lap for a splendid victory.

Then it was time for Palm Toft and Lambert’s Heat 14 heroics as the duo cleared Matt Williamson on the back straight for a maximum – even setting up the possibility of another 5-1 in the last race to pull off a second draw in two nights.

On this occasion that was too much to hope for – but although Wells got round Nicholls on the first lap, Panthers did gain some reward for their efforts as Nicholls held second ahead of Erik Riss to remain within the six-point margin on the night.

Promoter Ged Rathbone said: “We’re pleased with the result and with getting a point, although at the same time we’re actually a little disappointed that we didn’t get more.

“But to take two points from Sheffield and one from Edinburgh is still an excellent two nights’ work. Not many teams will come to these places and get points, and these points on the board for us all help. That’s what we want to do in every away meeting.

“One or two of the lads dislike Edinburgh, but again it showed the team spirit that we’ve got, especially with Michael Palm Toft having carb trouble and only scoring five – and we also have to give a special thanks to Carl Wilkinson.

“All of Carl’s engines were at his tuner’s because we did have Ashley Morris booked in until the averages changed, so we booked Carl and then they changed again which would have allowed Ashley to race, but he’d already taken another booking somewhere, and Carl came in to help us out.

“For Nike to score eleven at Edinburgh was fantastic, and also over the last two nights we’ve seen the true Scott Nicholls, which is what we expect of him and also what he expects of himself. We couldn’t ask for any more from him, his technical ability and team riding was brilliant.

“We did it without Emil (Grondal) and Ulrich (Ostergaard) and we’ll keep battling on. Our feet are firmly on the ground, we know what we have to do but I think a few people are changing their opinions about us being in the bottom three!”

Panthers now turn their attention back to racing at the East of England Arena, with two matches in three days next weekend starting with the visit of Workington on Friday (May 11).

EDINBURGH 48: Ricky Wells 13+1, Erik Riss 9, Mark Riss 8, Josh Pickering 6+4, Joel Andersson 6+1, Matt Williamson 4, Max Ruml 2
PETERBOROUGH 42: Scott Nicholls 17+1, Nike Lunna 11, Simon Lambert 5+1, Michael Palm Toft 5+1, Carl Wilkinson 4+1, Tom Bacon 0, Ulrich Ostergaard r/r
Championship points: Edinburgh 3 Peterborough 1

Picture: RON MacNEILL

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