Peterborough 48, King’s Lynn 45
Battling Lynn grabbed a hard-fought Elite League derby point in tonight's televised thriller at the East of England Showground.
Rob Lyon's men were ten points adrift in the early sparring but Olly Allen's heat seven tactical blew the meeting wide open. Both neighbours traded shared races in the second half before Lynn old boy Troy Batchelor anchored a decisive maximum in the penultimate tour.
Nicki Pedersen and Linus Sundstrom powered away from Kenneth Bjerre in the opener to signal the hosts' clear intent in the first clash between the clubs on Peterborough shale since 2002.
Younger sibling and fellow Panthers' asset Lasse held firm from trap one to drive across Richard Lawson before repelling the Peterborough reserve's onslaught around the top bend. Stars' skipper Allen grabbed a flyer in the next in shades of Kenneth Bjerre's Cardiff GP semi-final exclusion over the weekend.
Batchelor capitalised from gate one in the re-run before Norbert Kosciuch edged Allen wide on a rider replacement outing for a second home maximum. Niels-Kristian Iversen trapped from the outside gate but referee Tony Steele flicked the red lights after Filip Sitera had rolled at the start. Iversen bravely stuck his machine on the dirt line for take two on his Showground reunion to squeeze past Richard Lawson.
Kenneth Bjerre muscled his way inside Batchelor with Sam Masters in the Dane's slipstream but Batchelor and Kosciuch cruised inside the Aussie to keep Peterborough eight clear. Sundstrom and Pedersen trapped again in tandem for the fired-up hosts, but Iversen dived back inside his compatriot before Lasse Bjerre had a cheeky look up the inside of the British GP runner-up.
Stars' team chief Lyon deployed Allen on a black and white raid with the Stars in tactical territory following the hosts' early surge. Allen stormed out of turn one but Kosciuch hit the shale exiting turn two after veering wide - the excluded Pole was flung onto his back but able to walk unaided to the pits.
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Allen held his nerve to dictate the re-run before Korneliussen bullied his way inside Krzysztof Buczkowski for a superb 8-1 to the visitors to dramatically cut the deficit. Lasse Bjerre justified Lyon's faith with his second race win on a reserve switch alongside Masters - Sundstrom cutting a forlorn figure as he wheeled his machine back to the pits.
Iversen produced a classy tour in heat nine but Lasse Bjerre was crowded out by Batchelor and Kosciuch to square off the race. Panthers' number one Pedersen rocketed past Korneliussen and Allen to swerve into a clear lead, but the luckless Sundstrom's mechanical curse struck again on the final lap to allow Lynn's middle order to pounce. Kenneth Bjerre edged a thrilling photo finish in heat 11 after the Dane took the ring road to virtually bounce off the safety fence ahead of Buczkowski at the business end of the race.
The over-worked Buczkowski then repelled Allen and Lasse Bjerre to maintain the hosts' wafer thin one point lead with a fourth consecutive shared heat between the local rivals. Pedersen played hard ball with Kenneth Bjerre exiting turn four in a heavyweight heat 13 duel – then revealed post-race he had apologised to his Danish World Team Cup mate. Batchelor and Kosciuch combined for a winning home maximum in the penultimate race but Iversen prevailed in a crackerjack finale for a deserved point – Kenneth Bjerre exacting revenge on Pedersen in behind.
• Panthers: Pedersen 10, Sundstrom 7+1, Batchelor 8+2, Buczkowski 7, Kosciuch 10+4, Lawson 6.
• Stars: K Bjerre 9+1, Masters 1, Allen 10+1, Korneliussen 5+1, Iversen 13, L Bjerre 7+1, Sitera 0.