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SWINDON ROBINS: Rossiter's side book their play-off slot
ALUN Rossiter was pleased to be able to bring the feel-good factor back to the Abbey Stadium after his Robins beat Poole 50-43 last night.
The win over the Pirates mathematically assured the Blunsdon side’s place in the play-offs, and was played out in front of the club’s biggest crowd in more than two years which even eclipsed that of last year’s play-off final first-leg between the two teams.
Peter Kildemand returned from injury with 12+1 while captain Hans Andersen produced his best home display since returning from his ban with 12, and even though Grand Prix star Darcy Ward scored 15 the Pirates were unable to stop the Robins from claiming maximum points.
The Robins led by 12 at the end of heat 10 before Ward reduced the deficit with a tactical 8-1 victory, but that was the Pirates last heat advantage of the night as the Elite League champions did enough to avenge Monday’s loss at Wimborne Road.
Following last week’s loss to Belle Vue - which saw a number of Robins riders highlight the fact they are owed money dating back eight weeks - Rossiter was pleased to get back to winning ways and was especially pleased with the atmosphere around the Abbey Stadium.
“It was a good performance from all the riders and we have to be pleased with that because winning at home is always a good feeling,” he said.
“Peter (Kildemand) looked really good tonight and Hans (Andersen) rode well too, and there was a really good atmosphere around the place and a really good crowd in too.
“We had to put the start back 20 minutes because there were people queuing outside before the meeting, and I really can’t remember the last time we had to do that so it’s a great feeling.
“It was important to show the supporters what we can do and how committed we are, and to see the place so jam packed is amazing.
“We’re definitely in the play-offs now but I don’t really know what this does for Poole’s chances because I don’t really keep tabs on it.”
Ward showed all his class as he jumped out the gate and cruised to a heat one victory ahead of the Robins pair of Andersen and Edward Kennett, before Josh Grajczonek produced the same in the reserves race which was again shared.
Kildemand earned his side the first heat advantage of the evening as he hit the dirt in the first corner to charge around the outside of Greg Hancock and Grajczonek, and although Morris also made it past Hancock the American was able to bite back to limit the damage for his side.
Maciej Janowski showed he still knows his way around Blunsdon with an easy victory from the tapes in a shared heat four, before Kildemand again produced a magnificent first corner move to win heat six as Nick Morris did superbly well to hold off close friend Ward for a Robins maximum.
Pole Janowski produced the same again to beat a sluggish looking Andersen as Poole took their first heat advantage from heat six, but Troy Batchelor became the Robins’ second heat winner of the night in an even seventh race.
Kennett jumped out the gate to storm away from Tomas H Jonasson and win the next as Kyle Howarth tried every line on the track to pass the Swede before just missing out, and after Kildemand and Morris’ superb 5-1 in heat nine the Pirates found themselves in tactical territory.
Poole boss Neil Middleditch opted not to use his black and white ride on Hancock as he finished second behind Andersen in a Robins 4-2 in heat 10, but Ward did arrive at the tapes for the next ready to go for double points and made a great gate along with Jonasson to earn an 8-1 which dragged his side back into the contest.
Hancock got the better of Kildemand as the Dane dropped his first points of the night as he was forced to go out of a difficult gate two, but when Andersen and Batchelor assured a heat advantage from heat 13 by sandwiching Ward the pendulum swung hugely in the Robins favour.
Morris came from the back to second to ensure a shared heat 14, and when Andersen and Kildemand finished behind Ward in the last all three points went to the Robins.
The two Danes are back in action this evening in the second and final meeting of the Danish Final in Holsted, with Kildemand just one point behind leader Niels-Kristian Iversen and Andersen another further back.