Friday June 29, 2018
BRILLIANT Peterborough smashed Lakeside’s eight-match winning run with a 52-38 victory at the East of England Arena on Friday.

The T.Balfe Construction Panthers are now four points clear at the top of the Championship table, and more significantly twelve ahead of fifth place, after they put together a powerful performance at home to dominate the meeting.

Ulrich Ostergaard made a successful return from injury to top-score with 12 points but there were key contributions right down the order, and Bradley Wilson-Dean also contributed a hugely entertaining double-figure total.

Panthers edged into a two-point lead across the opening four races, helped when visiting No.1 Nick Morris touched the tapes in Heat 1 – although he still salvaged third place from Ellis Perks in the re-run.

Reserves Simon Lambert and Tom Bacon notched a 4-2 in the next, with Bacon overcoming Alfie Bowtell and then just falling short in a late bid to pass Ben Morley.

Adam Ellis became the Hammers’ first winner in Heat 3 but Ostergaard responded for Panthers in the next, and a terrific Heat 5 saw Wilson-Dean and Michael Palm Toft record the first 5-1 of the night.

BWD edged Morris out over the first lap before MPT moved through on the inside next time around to extend the advantage to six points.

Former Panther Richard Lawson won Heats 6 and 7, the second of which was a tactical substitute outing, but Ostergaard prevented maximum damage by heading Ellis for second place.

Bacon then rode a stormer to take Heat 8, which was a Panthers 5-1 until the final bend when Zach Wajtknecht got alongside and past Lambert for second place on the outside.

But Panthers did pull off a big 5-1 in the next, and again it was their prolific middle-order pairing with Palm Toft holding firm on the inside whilst Wilson-Dean’s outside line took him clear of Lawson.

The Hammers hit trouble on bend 4 in Heat 10 with Morley lifting and being collected by team-mate Ellis, although having held a 5-1 at that stage Panthers had to be content with a 4-2 in the re-run as Ellis split Scott Nicholls and Perks.

Lakeside made no progress in a shared Heat 11, which enabled Panthers to lock up victory in a thrilling twelfth, with Wilson-Dean surging around Ellis to take the win whilst Bacon performed a similar move on Bowtell for third.

There was more fine action in Heat 13 with Panthers holding a 5-1 for most of the race ahead of the thrusting Lawson and Morris, with Lawson snatching second from Nicholls on the run to the line.

But it was nowhere near enough even for the Hammers to threaten a league point, despite a fine defensive ride by Lawson to edge out Palm Toft in Heat 14.

And there was a wild Heat 15 to conclude proceedings with Ellis producing a classy effort to go round Ostergaard for the win, whilst Wilson-Dean’s chase of Lawson looked set to pay dividends when he dived through on the last bend – only to earn himself a disqualification for putting both wheels onto the grass on the exit of the turn.

Delighted Panthers co-promoter Ged Rathbone said: “It was an impressive performance from us. We had to stay focused, there were a couple of times that Lakeside could have come back into it, but the lads stuck to it and we got the result we wanted.

“They are really dialling into the track now, and the likes of Bradley and Tofty are forming a fantastic pairing, so hopefully now we can go from strength to strength.

“I think we’ve sent the message out to the rest of the league that we’re here for serious business, but there’s still plenty to race for and we’ll keep our feet firmly on the ground.

“We said at the beginning of the season with our league form that we’ve been too slow starters every year. It was something we had to address, we’ve done it, and hopefully now the lads will get stronger still as the season goes on.”

PETERBOROUGH 52: Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Bradley Wilson-Dean 11, Scott Nicholls 9, Michael Palm Toft 7+3, Simon Lambert 6+2, Tom Bacon 5, Ellis Perks 2+1
LAKESIDE 38: Richard Lawson 15, Adam Ellis 11, Nick Morris 5+1, Zach Wajtknecht 4, Ben Morley 2, Alfie Bowtell 1+1, Kyle Newman r/r
Championship points: Peterborough 3 Lakeside 0

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