Monday September 12, 2020
PETERBOROUGH came through a ‘do or die’ last heat decider to triumph in their final home meeting of 2016 – and boost their play-off hopes.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers edged to a 46-43 triumph against bottom side Rye House at the East of England Showground last night after big-guns Kenneth Bjerre and Ulrich Ostergaard slammed in a 5-1 in a dramatic finale.

They arrived at the tapes for heat 15 with Peterborough’s season hinging on the outcome as they trailed by a point against a Rockets side who had not sampled success on the road all season.

And their task became easier when both visiting riders hit the deck on the opening lap as Stuart Robson came down spectacularly when going through the third bend and partner Cameron Heeps took instant evasive action.

Robson was excluded as the cause of the double-spill, but it was the swift-thinking Heeps who came off worse as he had to leave the track in an ambulance with concussion and muscle damage to his leg.

Rye House boss Peter Shroeck opted to send out high-scoring reserve Robert Branford as his sole representative in the re-run, but he couldn’t live with Bjerre and Ostergaard as they clinched a success which lifted Peterborough back up to fifth place in the Premier League standings.

“It really was do or die in heat 15,” admitted team manager Carl Johnson. “Our season was over if Kenneth and Ulrich didn’t come up trumps in that race.

“No-one likes to see riders get hurt and it was a shame that Cameron had to leave the track in an ambulance in what could be the final race of the season at the Showground, but our guys still had a massively important job to do and they had to stay focused on doing it in the re-run.

“The fans stuck with us again and I’d like to thank them all for their fantastic backing during what has been a tough season.

“We put together a team we thought would win the league and that’s still the plan even though things haven’t worked out how we expected so far.

“But we have put ourselves back into a play-off spot by beating Rye House and now the pressure is on other teams to get results.

“And, if we need to go to Edinburgh to get a result, that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Peterborough appear to have reached stalemate with Monarchs bosses in their attempts to arrange a date for the trip to Edinburgh before next Monday’s cut-off. They hope to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

Last night’s success lifted Panthers into fifth place in the Premier League standings. They now sit a point clear of Ipswich, who occupy the final play-off spot, and Sheffield, who dropped to seventh.

Sheffield are in action on the next two night (they go to Rye House tonight, Tuesday, and then host Scunthorpe tomorrow) while Ipswich have home and away dates against Newcastle later this week.

Seeing off struggling Rye House certainly wasn’t a doddle for Panthers last night as they trailed on a number of occasions – the first of which arrived in unusual circumstances.

The visitors gained a 5-0 in heat two with race-winner Zdenek Holub excluded by referee Dave Watters for having no chain guard on his machine after Danny Halsey had tumbled out.

Back-on-song Ostergaard and partner Anders Thomsen then slammed in two quickfire 5-1s to put Peterborough on top, before Rye House battled back with successive 4-2s ahead of a 5-1 in heat eight to open up a three-point advantage of their own.

That was soon wiped out by back-to-back Panthers 4-2s, inspired by wins from Ostergaard and guest number one Lasse Bjerre, before the pendulum swung the way of the visitors again when Branford led home Heeps for a 5-1 in a re-run of heat 12.

But Panthers cut their arrears to a single point when Thomsen swooped for his first success of the night and Holub collected his only point in a heat 14 4-2.

And Kenneth Bjerre and Ostergaard then completed a vital late turnaround to give Peterborough hope to still having a tilt at honours.


PETERBOROUGH ‘T BALFE CONSTRUCTION’ PANTHERS: Kenneth Bjerre 14, Ulrich Ostergaard 12+1, Anders Thomsen 8+2, Lasse Bjerre (guest) 8, Richard Hall 3, Zdenek Holub 1, Danny Halsey 0.

RYE HOUSE: Rob Branford 11, Stuart Robson 9, Michael Palm Toft (guest) 6+1, Cameron Heeps (withdrawn) 6+1, Leigh Lanham 5, Kasper Lykke 3+2, Ben Morley 3+2.

1 - L.Bjerre (59.3), Palm Toft, Hall, Lykke. 4-2, 4-2.
2 - Branford (60.6), Morley (fell/rem), Halsey (fell/exc), Holub (exc). 0-5 4-7.
3 - re-run Ostergaard (60.1), Thomsen, Heeps, Lanham. 5-1, 9-8.
4 - K.Bjerre (59.4), Robson, Morley, Halsey. 3-3, 12-11.
5 - Ostergaard (60.5), Thomsen, Palm Toft, Lykke. 5-1, 17-12.
6 - Robson (60.2), L. Bjerre, Branford, Hall. 2-4, 19-16.
7 - Heeps (60.3), K. Bjerre, Lanham, Halsey. 2-4, 21-20.
8 - Branford (61.1), Lykke, Hall, Holub. 1-5, 22-25.
9 - Ostergaard (61.0), Robson, Thomsen, Morley. 4-2, 26-27.
10 – re-run L. Bjerre (61.4), Lanham, Hall, Heeps (ret). 4-2, 30-29.
11 - K. Bjerre (59.4), Palm Toft, Lykke, Holub. 3-3, 33-32.
12 - re-run Branford (61.5), Heeps, Ostergaard, Holub. 1-5, 34-37.
13 - K. Bjerre (60.5), Robson, Palm Toft, L. Bjerre. 3-3, 37-40.
14 - Thomsen (62.0), Lanham, Holub, Morley. 4-2, 41-42.
15 - re-run K. Bjerre (61.4), Ostergaard, Branford (Heeps fell, withdrawn), Robson (fell/exc). 5-1, 46-43.

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