Poole quits the Panthers lair but another Aussie great arrives at Alwalton
WHAT THE BUTLER SAW
PANTHERS expert DICK BUTLER has reached 1994 in his bite-size journey back in time. It was a year in which one Australian great moved on and another was unearthed, but any hopes of honours were hit by a succession of bad injuries. POOLE PULLED Club talisman Mick Poole fancied a change and couldn’t be talked out of a move to British League Division Two rivals Oxford.
Needless to say Poole still gave the Showground faithful a few glimpses of his ability.
He led Oxford to Four-Team Tournament glory here (with Panthers back in third) and also scored a 15-point maximum for his new club in a league meeting as they won on both visits to his old stomping ground.
Others to leave were Paul Hurry (Arena Essex) and Alan Mogridge (Middlesbrough). RYAN FLYIN’ IN A young Australian by the name of Ryan Sullivan touched down for a debut in British speedway and he was joined on the arrivals’ list by another future Peterborough legend, Sam Tesar.
Carl Stonehewer arrived from Belle Vue to join returnees Jason Gage, Eric Monaghan, Hans Clausen and Ronni Pedersen. DANISH DISASTER Panthers started their season with a narrow defeat at Poole’s Oxford but it took a huge toll as Clausen suffered a broken leg in a heat 14 argument with team-mate Pedersen’s machine that would rule him out for the entire season.
As a result Panthers brought club legend Ian Barney back in as number eight while using rider replacement. RECORD BREAKERS That was Long Eaton who swooped for a 48-47 win at the Showground in late April to destroy Panthers’ two-year unbeaten home record. DEON SIGNS ON - THEN OFF Panthers scrapped the idea of using rider replacement by the time summer arrived and snapped up South African rider Deon Prinsloo which quickly looked a good move with decent results following.
But another hammer blow was just around the corner as Prinsloo’s season was ended after just six weeks due to a broken knee which he sustained in a Four-Team Tournament qualifier.
By then Stonehewer had also suffered a fractured leg while guesting for Newcastle.
It came days after he had scored paid 28 points in home and away triumphs over Sheffield. GOLDEN GRAHAME Panthers drafted in veteran Alan Grahame for the final weeks of the season.
The 40 year-old had been dropped by Oxford but showed his class here with a string of doublefigures scores.
His first match saw the Panthers get a draw at Newcastle and he also inspired a 52-44 win at Sheffield in early October as he racked up a 9.29 average in six meetings. HIGH FIVES The long list of injuries had taken its toll however and Panthers had to settle for a fifth-place finish.
They gained a small slice of consolation for an injury ravaged season with a 66-29 mauling of champions Glasgow – their biggest home success of the season and revenge for a KO Cup semi-final exit at the hands of the Scots.
Two 52-44 wins at Sheffield were the best of half-a-dozen away victories. ALL VERY AVERAGE Panthers used 13 riders in all – including a very young Scott Nicholls who completed 21 meetings for a 3.35 mark while on loan from Ipswich.
Tesar (9.13) and Sullivan (7.09) were the only men to see out all the season with Stonehewer (8.33) and Pedersen (7.60) also doing well.