Flyin’ Ryan was rider of the year

What the But­ler saw ...

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport -

PAN­THERS his­to­rian DICK BUT­LER has reached 1995 in his look back through the club’s his­tory. It was the first year of the Bri­tish Premier League but the last year of the ca­reer of a pop­u­lar Aussie ace.


There were mas­sive changes to the leagues with a com­plete amal­ga­ma­tion of the old first and sec­ond di­vi­sions into one new Bri­tish Premier League.

Pan­thers, hav­ing come from the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion, at­tempted to sign an outand-out num­ber one to lead them into the new sea­son. David Nor­ris was the tar­get but all at­tempts to sign him or an­other noted num­ber one failed and they were forced to run with a side made up en­tirely of Di­vi­sion Two rid­ers.

Hav­ing said that it wasn’t too bad as the main back­bone from 1994 re­mained. Ryan Sul­li­van, Sam Te­sar, Ronni Ped­er­sen and Hans Clausen were joined by young Czech rider Mario Jirout, and ‘Mr Peter­bor­ough’ Mick Poole, who re­turned for what would be his fi­nal year.


Jirout’s at­tempts to ride hit a snag from the off when he in­jured him­self fall­ing off a push­bike! Pan­thers used rider re­place­ment in the first match against Long Ea­ton and racked up an im­pres­sive 62-34 win.


The first away match at King’s Lynn on April 1 saw Pan­thers make fools out of the hosts as they be­come the first ‘Di­vi­sion Two’ team to beat a ‘Di­vi­sion One’ team away in the new league. Pan­thers won 51-45 with Poole, Sul­li­van and Te­sar all record­ing dou­ble-fig­ure re­turns.


Pan­thers won away again at Long Ea­ton (52-44) and then beat Read­ing at home to make it four wins out of four.

The first loss came at Cradley where the Pan­thers went down by 56-40 but two more com­fort­able home wins over Eastbourne and Hull put them into the first round of the cup against Ip­swich.


Pan­thers beat Ip­swich by one point on ag­gre­gate in the first round of the cup but were forced to re-run the match af­ter the Witches ap­pealed about be­ing re­fused a re­serve re­place­ment in one of the later heats.

Pan­thers won at home (59-45) but it wasn’t enough to go through as the Witches took full ad­van­tage of the sec­ond chance to win on ag­gre­gate 110-103.


Sul­li­van caused a sur­prise in June by win­ning the Over­seas Fi­nal, beat­ing fel­low Aus­tralian Leigh Adams in a run-off for the ti­tle af­ter both fin­ished on 14 points.


Pan­thers went so close to win­ning the Four Team Tour­na­ment. In the fi­nal they supplied the win­ner in three of the first five heats but prob­lems for Ped­er­sen in mid-meet­ing meant they went into the fi­nal heat level on 18 points with Cradley. And Poole was un­for­tu­nately headed home by Cradley’s Billy Hamill and Pan­thers fin­ished sec­ond on the day.


Pan­thers fin­ished a cred­i­ble fourth in the fi­nal league ta­ble.

The biggest win of the sea­son was the 63-33 home vic­tory over Ex­eter. Away it was Ex­eter again (55-40) al­though the win at King’s Lynn in April re­mained the high­light of the year for Pan­thers fol­low­ers.

Pan­thers were un­beaten at the Show­ground.


The Rider of the Year was un­doubt­edly Sul­li­van, who fin­ished with an av­er­age just un­der nine points (8.86). Te­sar (8.38) and Poole (8.15) both gave valu­able sup­port.

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