Sch­lein is prov­ing a real wizard from Oz

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World of Sport - by mArK PLum­mer

PAn­thers ................. 51 LAKe­side................... 42

THE great Ja­son Crump used to be dubbed the ‘Thun­der from Down Un­der’. On last night’s ev­i­dence Rory Sch­lein must be the light­ning.

Sch­lein pro­duced ar­guably the ride of the sea­son as Pan­thers un­der­lined their play-off cre­den­tials by putting on a show for the Sky TV cam­eras.

The re­cent loan cap­ture from Coven­try shone with a stun­ning heat 12 over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vre as the city men com­pleted a home dou­ble over the sec­ond-placed Ham­mers this month.

Sch­lein scythed through the tini­est of gaps be­tween Lake­side men Stu­art Rob­son and Joonas Kyl­mako­rpi in a bold back-straight move to hit the front and take a win that car­ried his side a step closer to a ninth suc­ces­sive home tri­umph this term.

“I saw the gap and went for it,” said Sch­lein. “Hope­fully the fans en­joyed it. It was a good feel­ing for me!”

And Sch­lein wasn’t done there. He re­turned to the track with a third place be­hind tal­is­man Ken­neth Bjerre in the fi­nale to wrap up max­i­mum points. He fin­ished with an 11-point haul which was not to be sneezed at from a rider suf­fer­ing from a bad bout of hayfever.

And coun­try­man Troy Batch­e­lor wasn’t bad ei­ther. The big win­ter sign­ing ad­mits he can’t stand rid­ing in the num­ber two po­si­tion but paid 10 points might just change his mind.

Batch­e­lor even had the edge over part­ner and res­i­dent Show­ground fly­ing ma­chine Bjerre in heat six and was only de­nied a paid max­i­mum by a third place in his fi­nal out­ing in heat 10.

But Bjerre did suc­ceed in that depart­ment with an­other im­pe­ri­ous per­for­mance around his Al­wal­ton stomp­ing ground earn­ing him a 14+1-point full house.

Bjerre’s now tra­di­tional track­record tilt in the open­ing race pro­vided a rapid start to pro­ceed­ings, even though he clocked a time one tenth of a sec­ond out­side his newl­y­set 58.5 sec­ond best.

His only real alarm came in heat 13 when he had to roar past for­mer Pan­thers num­ber one Lee Richardson, but just as Hans Andersen and Peter Karls­son found out on Fri­day, the present is su­pe­rior to the past.

Skip­per Niels Kris­tian Iversen came home third in that race to claim a 4-2 that en­sured Pan­thers’ un­beaten home record would con­tinue, but it com­pleted a some­what dis­ap­point­ing night for a rider who fin­ished with only paid six and un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally failed to win a sin­gle heat.

An­other man a lit­tle short of his best was Krzysztof Buczkowski. The spec­tac­u­lar Pole fol­lowed home Sch­lein for a pro­ces­sional max­i­mum in heat three but it wasn’t un- til the penul­ti­mate con­test when he was seen to good ef­fect again.

That’s when Buczkowski em­barked on an ad­ven­ture to all cor­ners of the Show­ground to charge from last to sec­ond.

He was so wide that he spent most of the race in Or­ton South­gate, but also reg­u­larly had his front wheel over the cen­tre green grass. His rad­i­cal lines paid off though as he col­lared Stu­art Rob­son within the shadow of the post.

There were also mi­nor prob­lems at re­serve where Mat Tre­sar­rieu fol­lowed up an­other heat two tri­umph with three last places and Norbert Kosci­uch again didn’t look com­pletely com­fort­able.

But Pan­thers, who were briefly knocked out of their com­fort zone by an 8-1 tac­ti­cal ride tri­umph from the vis­i­tors in heat seven, al­ways ap­peared to have mat­ters in hand.

It was only fit­ting that Bjerre and Sch­lein fin­ished the job in the fi­nal race. A good night’s work leaves Pan­thers only four points adrift of their vic­tims and makes seiz­ing sec­ond place in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture a real pos­si­bil­ity.

SU­PERB DIS­PLAY: Rory Sch­lein, pic­tured en route to vic­tory in heat three, re­ally turned on the style for Pan­thers last night.

Pic­ture: ALAN STORER

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