ADVANTAGE PANTHERS!

Sunday October 15, 2017
PETERBOROUGH owner Ged Rathbone insists all the pressure is now on rivals Glasgow after his side built up a 10-point advantage in their mission to reach the SGB Championship KO Cup final.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers triumphed 50-40 against the Tigers in a pulsating first leg of their semi-final showdown at the East of England Arena on Sunday.

Reserve ace Simon Lambert, who brilliantly won his opening four races on his way to a 14+1 haul, and former British champion Chris Harris, who dropped his only point when beaten by visiting number one Richard Lawson in heat 13, were the star performers for Peterborough.

They led from start to finish and looked set to boast a bigger advantage until the holders hit back with a hat-trick of 4-2s late on. Panthers were also beset by a cruel piece of mechanical misfortune when Jack Holder retired from the lead on the final lap of heat six when set for a 5-1 with Lambert.

“The target was to ensure we go to Glasgow for the second leg with a lead,” said Rathbone. “Any sort of advantage is pleasing against such a strong team.

“All the pressure is on Glasgow as they have to pull the points back on their track and in front of their fans.

“We’re ready for a battle and we will do all we can to reach the final.”

Lambert ensured Peterborough got off to the perfect start when teaming up with Holder for a 5-1 in the opener and he took the flag again moments later in a shared second contest.

Skipper Ulrich Ostergaard held off a charging Richie Worrall to complete a tapes-to-flag triumph as Panthers collected a 4-2 in heat three before Harris bravely blasted round the outside to triumph as the fourth instalment ended in deadlock.

Glasgow gained a first success as Lawson eased to victory in a fifth heat when referee Barbara Horley was happy with a start that looked distinctly unsatisfactory.

And there was a further blow for Panthers in the next race when they saw a 5-1 turn into a 3-3 after Holder was brought to a halt by ignition trouble.

That left Lambert out in front to complete a hat-trick of heat wins with Glasgow reserve Jack Smith hot on his trail.

Harris triumphed in a shared seventh contest before Panthers slammed in back-to-back 5-1s which both featured Paul Starke.

He picked his way through the heat eight traffic to follow home Lambert before slip-streaming his skipper, Ostergaard, in the next race.

Glasgow hit back with a 5-1 of their own courtesy of Worrall and Dan Bewley in heat 10 as Lambert’s winning run was brought to a halt, but he was soon back in business when combining with Harris in the next race as Panthers instantly replied in kind.

But Glasgow refused to roll over and responded with successive 4-2s to slash their arrears.

Panthers guest Jack Parkinson-Blackburn unluckily tumbled out on the final bend of heat 12 after appearing to have done enough to snatch third place and a 3-3.

Lawson ended the maximum hopes of Harris in a fine battle for victory in the next race when Holder lost his grip on third place when drifting wide on the final lap.

Bewley then got the better of Ostergaard in a fine scrap for victory in a heat 14 re-run after Lambert tumbled out of the initial staging as Glasgow reduced their arrears to single figures.

But Harris inspired a 4-2 in the finale with partner Starke taking third spot to ensure Peterborough make the long trip to the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium tomorrow (Tuesday) for the second leg with a useful cushion.

SCORES

PETERBOROUGH: Simon Lambert 14+1, Chris Harris 14, Paul Starke 10+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 9+1, Jack Holder 3+1, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Bradley Wilson-Dean.

GLASGOW: Richard Lawson 10, Richie Worrall 10, Dan Bewley 6+2, Jack Smith 6+2, Aaron Summers 4+1, James Sarjeant 4, Rider replacement for Nike Lunna.

HEATS
1 - Lambert (61.5), Holder, Lawson, Sarjeant. 5-1, 5-1.
2 - Lambert (61.7), Sarjeant, Smith, Parkinson-Blackburn. 3-3, 8-4.
3 - Ostergaard (61.3), Worrall, Starke, Bewley. 4-2, 12-6.
4 - Harris (60.9), Summers, Smith, Parkinson-Blackburn. 3-3, 15-9.
5 - Lawson (61.3), Starke, Ostergaard, Sarjeant (ret). 3-3, 18-12.
6 - Lambert (62.6), Smith, Summers, Holder (ret). 3-3, 21-15.
7 - Harris (61.9), Worrall, Bewley, Parkinson-Blackburn. 3-3, 24-18.
8 - Lambert (62.9), Starke, Smith, Bewley. 5-1, 29-19.
9 - Ostergaard (62.6), Starke, Sarjeant, Summers. 5-1, 34-20.
10 - Worrall (62.7), Bewley, Holder, Lambert. 1-5, 35-25.
11 - Harris (63.2), Lambert, Lawson, Smith. 5-1, 40-26.
12 - Worrall (63.2), Starke, Sarjeant, Parkinson-Blackburn (fell). 2-4, 42-30.
13 - Lawson (63.4), Harris, Summers, Holder. 2-4, 44-34.
14 - re-run Bewley (62.5), Ostergaard, Smith, Lambert (fell/exc). 2-4, 46-38.
15 - Harris (62.5), Lawson, Starke, Worrall. 4-2, 50-40.

Picture: STEVE HONE

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