Panthers riders certainly seem to like playing away
So much for speedway being the sport where teams never lose at home and never win away . . .
That’s clearly not a script which has been passed to a Panthers team who have slumped five times on their own East of England Showground shale in 2016 alone.
But, luckily, they’re rather good on the road as this sixth success of the season in all competitions again highlighted last Saturday night.
Five of those have arrived in the Premier League with this triumph at Shielfield Park being the third of them to be worth the maximum available four points.
It was also enough to ensure the city men climbed back into third spot in the standings with only six meetings of the regular season remaining. The bad news for Panthers is that four of them are at home!
Panthers’ latest victory on their travels was inspired by three riders producing double-figure scores.
Number one Craig Cook claimed a 14-point haul while Danish ace Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen enjoyed a fine move into the number four berth with 11+1.
And that tally was matched down at reserve by Ashley Morris, who celebrated the extension of his initial, shot-term stay with the club by producing his biggest score yet.
The opening seven races all ended in deadlock which will no doubt have been a source of frustration for Panthers given they provided five of the winners.
They eventually hit the front when Emil Grondal led home Morris for a tapes-to-flag 5-1 in heat eight. It was the victor’s only points-scoring ride of the night, but a hugely valuable one.
Panthers edged further clear when Busk Jakobsen and Tom Perry secured a 4-2 in a heat 10 re-run after Bandits rider Dawid Stachyra was excluded from the initial staging following a spill.
A further 5-1 from Morris (whose11+1 haul washis best for theclub) and Perry in heat 12 left them 10 points to the good and victory was secured when Cook worked his way through from last to first in a shared 13th heat.
Busk Jakobsen then inspired a 4-2 in the penultimate race with Morris back in third to seal all four league points.
Cook missed out on a maximum in the finale after winning his previous four races, but that did little to dampen the joy for Panthers, who look well placed to clinch a playoff spot for the second successive season.