Fighting Scorpions win on night, but lose on aggregate
SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 50 PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS 40
(KNOCKOUT CUP, quarter-final, second leg)
Peterborough win 94-86 on aggregate
HENDERSON INSURANCE Scunthorpe Scorpions completed their 2017 season with a fighting performance at the Eddie Wright Raceway last night (Friday). Although Scorpions won 50-40 on the evening against Peterborough Panthers, they lost out by 86-94 overall in their quarter-final Knockout Cup clash.
Facing an 18-point-deficit from the first leg, team manager Dave Peet asked for a strong start from his team, and that’s exactly what they provided.
Lewis Kerr and Jake Allen took an opening heat 5-1, and Scorpions then clawed themselves right back into contention with successive maximums from, firstly, Michael Palm Toft and Ryan Douglas in Heat 5, and then Kerr and Allen in Heat 6.
With the score at 23-13 to Scorpions on the night and Peterborough’s aggregate lead cut to eight points, it was game on.
After two shared races, Scorpions were looking for further heat advantages in Heats 9 and 10. However, they suffered two moments of misfortune. Douglas reared at the gate in Heat 9 and was excluded, while a race later, Kerr suffered an engine failure while set for a third 5-1 with Allen.
Skipper Josh Auty made it three wins out of three in Heat 11 while Ashley Morris took third after a real battle for the minor positions, and Palm Toft produced a superb ride to move from third to first in Heat 12.
Still trailing by eight points on aggregate, Scorpions needed a big finish, but Josh Auty fell in a first bend incident in Heat 13. On other nights, it would have been all four back, but Auty was excluded from the re-run, where Chris Harris won to clinch Peterborough’s place in the semi-finals.
Douglas – who has not met the 7.00 criteria for a fresh work permit for 2018 – was given an ovation by Scorpions’ fans by winning the last race of a five-year spell with the club in Heat 14.
Kerr and Allen took a 4-2 from Heat 15 after a cracking final race of the season at the Eddie Wright Raceway, in which Harris and Paul Starke also played their full part.
Scorpions’ top five were easily better than their Panthers’ counterparts, with Allen (11+2), Kerr (11), Palm Toft (11) and Auty (9) and Douglas (6+1) all scoring heavily.
But Peterborough outscored Scunthorpe by 11-2 at reserve, with Scorpions missing the contribution of Tero Aarnio, who was riding in the Finnish Championships.
Even so, but for three moments of misfortune, Scorpions – who provided 12 heat winners out of 15 – could have triumphed on aggregate.
Dave Peet said: “It was a really good effort from the lads. The top five were just superb; every one of them.
“Jake Allen was on a maximum going into Heat 15; Lewis Kerr only dropped one genuine point; Josh Auty didn’t look like anyone who going to beat him prior to his debatable exclusion from Heat 13; and Michael Palm Toft had a superb night too and dropped just a point.
“Ryan Douglas is probably not going to be able to return next year, so it was nice that he finished off with a win in Heat 14.
“Had Tero Aarnio not had to miss the meeting to ride in the Finnish championships, I think we could have gone through, because I think Tero would have got the extra points we needed.
“But Peterborough did the damage in the first leg at their place, and fair play to them.”
Peet felt that three incidents helped cost his side a chance of an aggregate win.
“We lost points when Ryan looped it at the start of Heat 9. We were looking for a heat advantage in that one, but it ended up as a 4-2 to Peterborough.
“Lewis Kerr’s engine failure in Heat 10 was a bit gutting, because we were all set to take a 5-1. Lewis and Jake rode superbly as a pairing all night.
“The final blow was Josh Auty being excluded from Heat 13. I spoke to the referee about that one, because I felt Josh was definitely pushed wide, because the riders on his inside took his racing line.”
After a tough season, Peet was glad the side was able to finish the season with a victory.
“Sometimes you win because the opposition hasn’t performed, but I don’t think that was the case in this meeting. There was some superb racing – Peterborough are a good side and were on it, but our lads were superb.
“It wasn’t all from the gate either – we had to really work for the points in some races. The track was slicker than usual and our riders flew around it.
“We’ve finished by putting in one of our best performances of the season.”
HENDERSON INSURANCE SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 50
1. Lewis Kerr 3 3 R 2 3 (11)
2. Jake Allen 2* 2* 3 3 1 (11+2)
3. Michael Palm Toft 3 3 2 3 (11)
4. Ryan Douglas 1 2* FX 3 (6+1)
5. Josh Auty 3 3 3 FX (9)
6. Ashley Morris (Guest) 1 0 1 0 (2)
7. Josh Bailey 0 0 0 0 (0)
PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS 40
1. Richie Worrall (Guest) 1 0 2 1 (4)
2. Bradley Wilson-Dean 0 1 2 0 (3)
3. Paul Starke 2 2 1* 2 0 (7+1)
4. Ulrich Ostergaard 0 1* 2 2 (5+1)
5. Chris Harris 1* 1 3 3 2 (10+1)
6. Simon Lambert 2* 0 1 1* (4+2)
7. Tom Bacon 3 2 1* 1* (7+2)
1: Kerr, Allen, Worrall, Wilson-Dean, 59.00 (5-1) (5-1).
2: Bacon, Lambert, Morris, Bailey, 60.69 (1-5) (6-6).
3: Palm Toft, Starke, Douglas, Ostergaard, 59.56 (4-2) (10-8).
4: Auty, Bacon, Harris, Bailey, 59.2 (3-3) (13-11).
5: Palm Toft, Douglas, Wilson-Dean, Worrall, 59.81 (5-1) (18-12).
6: Kerr, Allen, Harris, Lambert, 59.13 (5-1) (23-13).
7: Auty, Starke, Ostergaard, Bailey, 59.54 (3-3) (26-16).
8: Allen, Wilson-Dean, Bacon, Morris, 59.81 (3-3) (29-19).
9 (Re-run): Harris, Palm Toft, Lambert, Douglas (fell, excluded) 60.31 (2-4) (31-23).
10: Allen, Ostergaard, Starke, Kerr (ret), 60.12 (3-3) (34-26).
11: Auty, Worrall, Morris, Wilson-Dean, 60.07 (4-2) (38-28).
12: Palm Toft, Starke, Lambert, Bailey, 60.12 (3-3) (41-31).
13 (Re-run): Harris, Kerr, Worrall, Auty (fell, excluded), 60.06 (2-4) (43-35).
14: Douglas, Ostergaard, Bacon, Morris, 60.25 (3-3) (46-38).
15: Kerr, Harris, Allen, Starke, 60.19 (4-2) (50-40).