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Comets 49 Peterborough 44 - Match Report
Photo by Dave Payne
Sun 26 Jul 2015 by Comets Press Office
The Comets raced to an excellent home victory against high-flying Peterborough at Derwent Park on Saturday night, emerging 49-44 victors.
The Comets claimed the three league points against the hard-working Panthers side missing the injured trio of Lewis Blackbird, Robert Lambert and last year's Comet Simon Lambert.

Peterborough operated rider replacement for Blackbird, had 2014 Comet Josh Grajczonek as a guest in place of Robert Lambert and another of last year's team members, Ashley Morris, in place of Simon Lambert.

However, although the Comets won the match the Panthers were able to claim a match point as they finished just five points adrift of their hosts. But, that had an element of fortune about it as Ricky Wells suffered an engine failure while holding third place with just over a lap to go in the final race, heat 15.

After sharing the first two heats the Comets took the lead through a 5-1 from Rene Bach and Kenneth Hansen in heat 4 and never lost their lead.

What looked set to be a big race in heat 5 as Rene and Kenneth took on the Panthers top pairing of ex-Comets Ulrich Ostergaard and guest Josh Grajczonek never really got going as Rene suffered a snapped chain as they went to the tapes with the two minutes ticking away. He jumped on Kyle's machine to make it to the start with seconds to spare but the Panthers pairing sped from the gate to claim a 5-1 and narrow the gap to just two points.

But, the Comets hit back immediately with a 5-1 in heat 6 from Kyle and Rusty and then another in heat 7 from Ricky and Matt Williamson to increase their lead to 10 points.

This gave the Panthers an opportunity to give Josh Grajczonek a tactical ride in heat 8, which he won ahead of Matthew Wethers with Panthers guest Ashley Morris in third place, while at the back Rusty retired at the end of lap three.

Kenneth led all the way to win heat 9 while Rene was unable to find a way past Michael Palm Toft as the Comets increased their lead to seven points.

Heat 10 saw the Comets holding first and second places after Michael Palm Toft was squeezed out in a tight scramble to the first bend - which clearly annoyed him when he felt that the race should have been re-started! However, at the end of lap two, Danish youngster Emil Grondal rounded Rusty to take second place and claim his first points of the night, but the Comets 4-2 put Workington nine points in front.

A second 5-1 for the pairing of Ostergaard and Grajczonek in heat 11 closed the gap to five points again which is how it remained after heat 12 as Rene led from tape to flag.

Heat 13 also looked set to be shared as Ostergaard led Ricky and Kyle before Palm Toft passed Kyle on lap three, so reducing the Comets lead to just three points. But, with Kenneth leading all the way in heat 14 and Matt Williamson holding on to a crucial third place, which became even more secure once Peterborough's Rafal Konopka fell at the back on turn three of the second lap before remounting quickly, it meant that as long as a Comet finished heat 15 then victory was assured.

The Comets had the choice of gates in heat 15 and elected to take gates 2 and 4, with Kenneth off gate 4 and Ricky off gate 2.

The hitherto unbeaten Ostergaard made the start from gate 1 (pictured above) but Kenneth rounded him, while Ricky came under Josh Grajczonek to move into third place as they exited turn two on the opening lap.

This would have given the Comets a 4-2 heat advantage and a seven-point winning margin, preventing the Panthers from gaining a match point. However, on turns three and four of the third lap Ricky developed machine trouble, which allowed Grajczonek through into third place and so gave the Panthers a match point as consolation while the Comets picked up three more vital match points.

Overall, the Comets provided nine race winners with Kyle, Rene, and Ricky each taking the chequered flag twice while Kenneth took it on three occasions. A special mention must also go to young reserve Matt Williamson, whose five, paid six, score was his best since joining the side.

WORKINGTON COMETS 49 PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS 44
Saturday, July 25; Premier League
Match points: Workington 3 Peterborough 1

WORKINGTON 'Thomas Armstrong' COMETS 49
Kyle Howarth 8, Rusty Harrison 4+2, Rene Bach 7, Kenneth Hansen 12+1, Ricky Wells 9, Matt Williamson 5+1, Matthew Wethers 4+1.

PETERBOROUGH 'Readypower' PANTHERS 44
Ulrich Ostergaard 14, Josh Grajczonek (guest) 11+3, Rider replacement for Lewis Blackbird, Emil Grondal 6, Michael Palm Toft 6, Ashley Morris (guest) 2+1, Rafal Konopka 5.

Referee: Graham Flint

1: Ostergaard, Howarth, Harrison, Grajczonek, 64.0 (3-3)
2: Konopka, Williamson, Wethers, Morris (15m tapes), 65.6 (6-6)
3: Bach, Hansen, Konopka, Grondal, 65.1 (11-7)
4: Wells, Toft, Wethers, Konopka (fell), 64.8 (15-9)
5: Ostergaard, Grajczonek, Hansen, Bach (ret), 64.1 (16-14)
6: Howarth, Harrison, Toft, Morris, 65.4 (21-15)
7: Wells, Williamson, Konopka, Grondal, 65.7 (26-16)
8: Grajczonek (TR), Wethers, Morris, Harrison (ret), 64.6 (28-23)
9: Hansen, Toft, Bach, Konopka, 65.1 (32-25)
10: Howarth, Grondal, Harrison, Toft, 66.8 (36-27)
11: Ostergaard, Grajczonek, Wells, Williamson (fell), 66.4 (37-32)
12: Bach, Grondal, Morris, Wethers, 66.9 (40-35)
13: Ostergaard, Wells, Toft, Howarth, 65.8 (42-39)
14: Hansen, Grondal, Williamson, Konopka (fell/rem), 66.2 (46-41)
15: Hansen, Ostergaard, Grajczonek, Wells (ret), 66.4 (49-44)
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Last Updated :  Sun 26 Jul 2015, 15:28 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall