PETERBOROUGH – and Australian number two Troy Batchelor – were well and truly grounded at Monmore Green.
The Readypower Panthers slipped to a 15-point Elite League defeat against champions Wolverhampton after going into action with a patched-up spearhead.
Third highest scorer Batchelor was stranded at Poznan Airport after his flight home from Poland was cancelled because of the volcanic dust cloud which closed most of the UK airport.
The Panthers were forced to use rider replacement for the missing winter signing and were virtually reduced to a two-man team.
Wolves took swift revenge for Friday’s heavy defeat at the East of England Showground to pick up all three points on offer against the lop-sided visitors.
Only Swedish GP winner Kenneth Bjerre and guest Scott Nicholls – replacing injured skipper Niels-Kristian Iversen – were on the same plain as the homesters.
Between them they scored all but nine of Peterborough’s points as the Panthers slipped to a sixth successive away defeat, leaving them one point adrift of a play-off spot.
Team boss Trevor Swales said: “We had fancied our chances of coming away with something – but we knew we were up against it once we got the call from Troy.
“He’d arrived at the airport early on Monday morning to be told all flights to the UK had been cancelled.
“Even though we tried to switch him to another route the earliest plane we could get him on didn’t arrive at Stansted Airport until after 5pm – far too late for him to get to Wolves.
“We were a two-man side and you don’t win against anyone when you have only two race winners.”
The Panthers started tentatively on a heavy, inconsistent track and Wolves took full advantage to maintain their 100% home record.
Heat advantages in each of the first four races gave the Panthers a mountain to climb and only Nicholls and Bjerre won races.
The Ipswich man’s tally included a six point tactical ride as early as Heat 5 while Bjerre picked up four points in Heat 9 and became one of the few riders to have beaten Freddie Lindgren on his home track when he headed him home in the last race.
Peterborough actually trailed by 15 points going into Heat 11 but over the last five races split the points with the rampant home side.
Said Swales: “It’s a pity we didn’t start the way we finished.”
And club owner Rick Frost added: “If there is anything positive to come out of the meeting it’s the fact that over the two matches we actually would have won on aggregate!”
WOLVERHAMPTON 55 (Fredrik Lindgren 13:1 (3-2:1-3-3-2), Ty Proctor 8 (1-3-3-1), Nicolai Klindt 10:1 (3-1:1-3-3-FD), Joe Screen 6 (1-2-1-2), Tai Woffinden 6 (1-2-2-1-FN), Matthew Wethers 6:3 (3-1:1-1:1-1:1), Ludvig Lindgren 6:1 (2:1-3-1-0)).
PETERBOROUGH 40 (Scott Nicholls [G] 14 (2-6-3-2-1), Ales Dryml 2 (0-0-2-0), Lewis Bridger 4 (0-2-0-0-2), Kenneth Bjerre 17 (2-3-4-2-3-3), rider replacement for Troy Batchelor, Craig Cook 0 (0-0-0), Krzysztof Buczkowski 3:1 (1-0-1-0-1:1-0-0).