Saturday October 13, 2018
PETERBOROUGH’S bold bid for a sensational KO Cup turnaround fell agonisingly short at the East of England Arena.

The T.Balfe Construction Panthers went into Saturday’s second leg against Scunthorpe facing a massive 28-point deficit, and the final score of 51-39 on the night doesn’t tell the story of just how close they came – inspired by another sensational performance from reserve Simon Lambert, and a classy guest showing from Ricky Wells.

In the end, the Scorpions’ middle-order pairing of Jake Allen and Jason Garrity took key advantages to foil Panthers, whilst two late wins from Steve Worrall applied the finishing touch.

Panthers stated their intent from the opening two races with Wells heading up a 4-2 with back-to-form Emil Grondal in Heat 1, whilst reserves Lambert and Carl Wilkinson cantered to a 5-1 in the next.

Thomas Jorgensen raced clear to win a shared Heat 3, and Panthers were hugely unfortunate in the next when Ulrich Ostergaard blew an engine on the back straight when on another 5-1 with Lambert.

Still, Panthers marched on and took maximums in both Heats 5 and 6, firstly when Kyle Howarth broke the tapes in the former, and his replacement Danny Phillips came down on turn four forcing team-mate Stefan Nielsen to take a 15-metre handicap in the re-run in a good call by referee Dave Watters.

Then Grondal and Wells got the better of Steve Worrall in Heat 6, and the 28-point deficit had been halved in the space of six races.

Allen and Garrity steadied the Scorpions’ ship with maximum points in Heat 7 over Wilkinson and Ostergaard, but Panthers immediately hit back in the eighth with Grondal and Lambert combining to see off Nielsen.

Panthers led 31-17 on the night but their momentum was checked in Heat 9 when Worrall pounced on Jorgensen lifting coming off bend four, and then fended off Lambert to secure a 3-3.

And then in a competitive Heat 10, Panthers looked set for a 3-3 as Garrity led the race, before Allen moved inside Grondal at the start of lap three to seal a vital 4-2 for Scunthorpe.

The visitors gained a further break in Heat 11 as Wilkinson broke the tapes with Lambert already in the race, replacing Ostergaard, only to mount a spirited charge from the handicap and take third place from Nielsen as the remarkable Lambert headed Howarth for the win.

But the seventh ride for the captain saw his run ended as he was squeezed wide exiting turn two in Heat 12 and couldn’t regain ground on Gino Manzares, although Grondal got the better of Garrity in a no-holds-barred battle up-front.

Worrall’s win in Heat 13 made the Scorpions’ progress to the Final mathematically certain, Wells passing Howarth for second place, whilst Allen took the fourteenth as Wilkinson and Jorgensen moved past Manzares in the early stages.

Wells won the last race in another competitive four-rider battle with Grondal just missing out, giving the Scorpions a 16-point aggregate win.

Lambert said: “It’s been a fantastic end to the season for me, it’s just a shame my own form has come so good at this time when half of the team have been out with injury.

“But we’re not over and out just yet. We go to Rye House tomorrow and we want to win, we want to be back at home next weekend or whenever it will be.

“It’s only two points, so there’s no reason why we can’t do it. I’m so proud to be captain of the club and I’ll be doing all I can.”

PETERBOROUGH 51: Simon Lambert 15+2, Ricky Wells 12+1, Emil Grondal 10, Thomas Jorgensen 8+2, Carl Wilkinson 6+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 0, Bradley Wilson-Dean r/r.
SCUNTHORPE 39: Jake Allen 11, Steve Worrall 10+1, Jason Garrity 8+2, Stefan Nielsen 4, Gino Manzares 3+2, Kyle Howarth 3, Danny Phillips 0.
Scunthorpe win 98-82 on aggregate.

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