Coventry Bees 49 Peterborough Panthers 41 – Elite League B
Peterborough left Brandon with nothing to show for their exploits, despite leading for most of the match and still being in front with 4 heats to go.
They were robbed of the services of Brandon specialist Kenneth Hansen who was forced to pull out of the match at the interval with a shoulder injury sustained in heat 3, but he still managed 3 classy wins before succumbing to the injury mid match.
Panthers started very brightly and despite early problems had established a 6 point lead after 5 races. Captain Iversen started the ball rolling with an impressive race win in the opening heat and the Panthers reserves then rammed in a maximum in heat 2 with Vissing following home his team mate after Wells got into difficulty whilst in second place.
Heat 3 took several attempts to finish when first Hansen and then Korneliussen hit the deck, but finally when both Bees riders had hit the front, Hansen stormed by both of them to win easily and when he won the fourth as well, again by a fair margin it left the Panthers with a 6 point lead.
Iversen won the 5th to make it five heat winners out of five for the visitors but Coventry re established contact with a heat 6 maximum with Sitera joining Nicholls at the front after first slipping by Bager and then snatching second place on the line from Vissing.
Hansen re affirmed Panthers charge with his third heat win in the 7th but Sitera restricted the damage by passing Korneliussen early on.
Darcy Ward made up for two opening ducks with a superb sweep around Nicholls and Wells to take the 8th after the team riding Bees had looked likely to level things up and although Bridger won the 9th the Panthers took the minor places with Kennett unable to find a way past Bager.
Nevertheless a heat 10 maximum courtesy of Nicholls and Bridger after Hansen had been withdrawn left the match all square, but Panthers hit back straight away as Darcy Ward showed his undoubted promise to pass Sitera and join Iversen up front.
Wells and Kennett brought the match all square again with another Bees 5-1 in the 12th and then Coventry took the lead for the first time in heat 13 when taking advantage of a mechanical failure for Iversen when comfortably second.
Wells repeated his heat 12 race win in the 14th, although Vissing kept Bridger at bay for second to put the Bees 4 up with one heat to go, but the home side then stunned the visitors by taking the last race 5-1 to send the Panthers home pointless.
This was a disappointing end to an entertaining match that the Panthers could and should have won, but not for the first time this season Peterborough let it slip after holding a good advantage early on.
The loss of Hansen at a critical time was clearly the catalyst for a Bees revival, but the Panthers would still have come away with something had Iversen’s bike not given up the ghost in heat 13.