Monday September 05, 2022
PETERBOROUGH experienced the frustration of a Super Heat defeat after a 45-45 draw with Ipswich at the East of England Arena on Monday.

There have been three drawn fixtures in the Premiership this season, all of them involving the Crendon Panthers, who beat Sheffield in the decisive race before losing their second Super Heat ironically away at Ipswich.

A Super Heat defeat at home does not materially change things as Panthers would only have received one league point in any case for the draw under the old system, which they still took from the meeting.

But it was still a cruel end to proceedings after they had looked certain to take all three points as they led 40-32 after Heat 12 before the Witches fought back.

Panthers took the lead with a 5-1 in Heat 4 after Ipswich had suffered a double disqualification with Danny King breaking the tapes and Anders Rowe then taking out his team-mate Paul Starke on the back straight.

Guest Josh Pickering and reserve Jordan Jenkins raced to a 5-1 in the re-run, but that was immediately cancelled out when former Panther Aaron Summers teamed up with the outstanding Jason Doyle for maximum points in Heat 5.

Panthers stand-in Simon Lambert rode a stormer in Heat 6 to hold off King, and the former club captain was at it again in Heat 8 with another win backed up by third place for Jenkins over Rowe.

Benjamin Basso was superb in Heat 9 with a terrific move to pass King and then go round team-mate Scott Nicholls, but once again a big Panthers advantage was immediately replied by the Witches as another ex-Panther, Rohan Tungate, joined forces with Troy Batchelor over Peterborough No.1 Chris Harris in Heat 10.

The gap remained four points despite Pickering defeating Doyle in Heat 11 as Summers switched back on Nicholls off the final turn, but Panthers seemed to have done enough when Jenkins, enjoying his best night in the Premiership, partnered Basso to a 5-1 over Troy Batchelor in Heat 12.

The Witches clawed two points back with a 4-2 in Heat 13 when Harris suffered gremlins on the start line, and another 4-2 in the next race set up a last heat decider as Doyle won a tactical substitute outing and Tungate moved inside Nicholls for third place.

And it was all square after Heat 15 with Doyle and Tungate making fast starts to fend off Pickering and Basso, leading to a final shootout involving the same four riders.

In a spectacular battle, Panthers appeared gate well only for Doyle to get to the front, but Basso passed Tungate for third place which would have been enough as Pickering looked to slow the race down – only for Tungate to come back at Basso on the inside, and he then pulled off a super effort to pass Pickering on the run to the line.

It was a big win for the Witches in their bid to finish top of the table ahead of the play-offs, but for Panthers ultimate disappointment from a meeting they had looked likely to win.

Manager Rob Lyon said: “We led for pretty much all the match before Ipswich came back at us, but I always felt we had enough in the tank to win. But they snatched it right at the death and I think it sums up our season.

“The team pulled up well as a team, although Bomber had an off-night which is unusual for him because he’s been fantastic all season, and he’s allowed one, I guess.

“Fair play to them, though, they dug in deep, and when you have the firepower they have with their team at the business end of the season, it’s always going to be difficult.”

PETERBOROUGH 45: Benjamin Basso 11+1, Josh Pickering 11, Simon Lambert 8, Scott Nicholls 6+2, Jordan Jenkins 6+1, Chris Harris 3+1, Hans Andersen r/r.
IPSWICH 45: Jason Doyle 17, Rohan Tungate 11+1, Aaron Summers 5+2, Troy Batchelor 4+2, Danny King 4, Paul Starke 3, Anders Rowe 1+1.
Ipswich beat Peterborough 7-2 in Super Heat.

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