Yesterday`s speedway

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Yesterday`s speedway

Team boss Carl Johnson revealed Peterborough held a post-meeting inquest after being pipped in an SGB Championship thriller on Sunday.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers slipped to a 48-45 loss at the hands of Sheffield in an East of England Arena contest full of exciting racing.

They paid the price for a poor start when on the receiving end of Tigers advantages in four of the first five races – and even though a successful Chris Harris tactical ride in heat six launched a rousing comeback that saw Peterborough hit the front with two races to go, they were stung by back-to-back Sheffield gains as the visitors pocketed three league points.

“We cannot expect to win home meetings if we let the away side have so many advantages so early,” said Johnson.

“We got the boys together after the meeting to ask them the question – what went wrong in those first few races?

“A couple of them admitted they hadn’t started with the right bike set-up and another had a mechanical issue which was sorted later on in the meeting.

“The other guys just felt they weren’t quite on it from the start and probably had the wrong mindset, which is obviously something we can’t afford to repeat.

“This meeting shows how tough the SGB Championship is this season. If you’re not on it in every race, you’ll be in trouble.”

That was certainly the case early on as Peterborough were on the receiving end of two 4-2s before Paul Starke and captain Ulrich Ostergaard were unable to prevent Lasse Bjerre and Josh Bates bagging a 5-1 in heat three.

Jack Holder stemmed the tide by picking up from where he left off when roaring to a Friday-night maximum against Scunthorpe by taking the flag in a shared fourth heat, but another Sheffield gain increase Panthers’ arrears to double-figures.

Johnson wasted no time in deploying Harris, who had drawn a blank in the opener, on a tactical ride and he zoomed past visiting captain Kyle Howarth to hit the front and inspire a 7-2 with Bradley Wilson-Dean taking third.

Those exploits halved the deficit, but Peterborough found themselves further behind when Sheffield bagged a 4-2 in heat eight as reserve James Shanes – making a second productive guest appearance of the season at the East of England Arena – took victory.

Peterborough soon upped the ante as they recorded four 4-2s in the space of five races to ease into a one-point lead. That hot streak featured two victories apiece from Starke, who had earlier had clutch issues, and Holder, who twice claimed the scalp of fellow Aussie ace Josh Grajczonek.

But Panthers’ hopes of snatching an incredible success were quickly dashed. Bates inspired a Sheffield 4-2 in the penultimate contest before Grajczonek did likewise in the finale – in the process ending Holder’s superb nine-race winning streak and hopes of a second successive full house.

“The way we battled our way back into the meeting was pleasing,” added Johnson. “With a couple of races to go it looked like we might be able to nick the win.

“It was frustrating to miss out in the end, but we know the damage was done early on.

“Sheffield are a strong team, but we’ll look to bounce back by giving them a taste of their own medicine later this week.”

Peterborough travel to Owlerton Stadium for a return clash on Thursday ahead of home fixtures against Berwick (Friday) and Glasgow (Sunday).

SCORES

PETERBOROUGH: Jack Holder 14, Chris Harris 10, Paul Starke 7, Ulrich Ostergaard 5, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5, Richard Hall 3, Tom Bacon 1.

SHEFFIELD: Josh Grajczonek 13, Josh Bates 10+1, Lasse Bjerre 7+2, James Shanes (guest) 6+1, Kyle Howarth 6, Todd Kurtz 3, Rob Branford 3.

HEATS
1 – Grajczonek (60.2), Wilson-Dean, Kurtz, Harris. 2-4, 2-4.
2 – Branford (60.4), Hall, Shanes, Bacon. 2-4, 4-8.
3 – Bjerre (60.1), Bates, Starke, Ostergaard. 1-5, 5-13.
4- Holder (59.6), Howarth, Shanes, Bacon. 3-3, 8-16.
5 – Grajczonek (60.8), Ostergaard, Kurtz, Starke. 2-4, 10-20.
6 – Harris (t/r, 61.2), Howarth, Wilson-Dean, Branford. 7-2 17-22.
7 – Holder (60.1), Bates, Bjerre, Bacon. 3-3, 20-25.
8 – Shanes (62.2), Wilson-Dean, Kurtz, Hall. 2-4, 22-29.
9 – Starke (61.8), Howarth, Ostergaard, Branford. 4-2, 26-31.
10 – Harris (62.1), Bates, Bjerre, Wilson-Dean. 3-3, 29-34.
11 – Holder (62.2), Grajczonek, Hall, Kurtz. 4-2, 33-36.
12 – Starke (62.4), Bjerre, Bacon, Branford. 4-2, 37-38.
13 – Holder (61.2), Grajczonek, Harris, Howarth. 4-2, 41-40.
14 – Bates (62.0), Ostergaard, Shanes, Hall. 2-4, 43-44.
15 – Grajczonek (61.6), Holder, Bates, Harris. 2-4, 45-48.

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