TEAM manager Alun Rossiter felt the only downside of Swindon Robins’ superb victory away at Poole Pirates in the first leg of their SGB Premiership play-off semi-final tonight was that they did not win by more.

Swindon showed exactly why they entered the play-offs as top seeds by roaring into a 10-point lead on two occasions in a thrilling night of action at Wimborne Road.

However, back-to-back Poole maximums in the meeting’s final two heats trimmed the Robins’ advantage to just two points ahead of the second leg back at the Abbey Stadium in two weeks’ time.

“I am happy but also slightly disappointed,” said Rossiter.

“We let it go a little bit but we didn’t have a lot of luck. Three riders had seats break, Kyle Newman was winning a race and lost it, Mitchell Davey lost one and then Tobiasz Musielak lost one.

“It is not an excuse and what goes around comes around.

“If you’d said before the meeting that we’d go away with a win, we’d have been more than happy but we’re slightly disappointed considering we were 10 points in front.

“We should have gone home with some more but it’s a win so it doesn’t really matter. We would have taken any win beforehand.”

Jason Doyle (10) and Tobiasz Musielak (10+1) led the scoring charts for Swindon as both hit double figures, while Kyle Newman proved an excellent guest booking at reserve with 8+1.

Poole were unhappy about Swindon’s use of Newman, with him only pencilled into the team on the day of the meeting after Bradley Wilson-Dean pulled out after failing to recover from a wrist injury, but Rossiter was adamant he had done nothing wrong.

“My conscience is clear, I have not pulled any stunts,” said Rossiter.

“I spoke to Bradley and he probably isn’t even going to be riding for us on Thursday so that tells you how serious it is.

“Everyone will make what they want of it but I can say that my conscience is clear, I just did what was right for the team.”

Poole triumphed in the opening heat of the night as Brady Kurtz led the way but after looking to be on course for a 5-1 win out of the gate, Doyle and Adam Ellis both snuck by Jack Holder to earn Swindon a share of the points.

The Pirates relinquished another maximum in the very next race as Paul Starke pulled up on the final lap having led for the first three, bumping team-mate James Shanes up to the win and allowing Swindon guests Newman and Mitchell Davey to split the outcome.

The first heat advantage of the night went to the visitors as Musielak triumphed in heat three but Poole hit straight back in the next thanks to a final-corner pass from Shanes on Davey for third place as Hans Andersen took the chequered flag for the hosts.

A back-and-forth meeting remained level at 15-15 after heat five as Edward Kennett triumphed for Poole in a shared heat, and the two sides could not be separated after the next race either as Kurtz took the chequered flag for the second time for the hosts.

It took seven heats to produce the first maximum win of the evening and it came the way of the Robins in spectacular fashion. David Bellego got out in front early on and enjoyed a trouble free ride but the race was not so straightforward for Musielak, who had to use all of his best defensive work to hold on for second right until the line.

However, normal service soon resumed and the fifth shared heat from the opening eight races swiftly unfolded as Holder took the spoils for Poole, although Ellis did a fine job to take second place after going off a 15m penalty for a tapes infraction.

Swindon bagged a big result in heat nine as they claimed a second 5-1 in three races as Newman and Nick Morris romped home with comparative ease.

And Rossiter’s men began to take control of the meeting in the next contest as Musielak got the better of an early duel with Kurtz, while Bellego’s third place handed the visitors another heat advantage and moved them 35-25 in front overall after 10 races.

That lead was trimmed in race 11 as Poole claimed just a second heat advantage of the night as Andersen left Doyle in his dust around the first lap.

Swindon were further kept in check in heat 12 as Musielak was beaten by a Pirate for the first time on the night as Starke romped clear to give Poole a second straight 4-2 success.

However, the Robins roared back to form in ruthless fashion in the next, delivering the performance of the night in the stellar heat of the night. Doyle finally got the best start and held the lead, with Morris turning in another superb team ride behind for second place as Andersen and Kurtz could do nothing to halt a Swindon maximum.

It took 14 heats but Poole finally claimed a 5-1 win of their own in the penultimate contest as Starke and Kennett put together an unstoppable front-running performance to trim the overall deficit.

Whatever happened in the finale, Swindon would take a lead into the second leg in a fortnight’s time and in the end, they had to make do with just a two-point cushion as Andersen and Kurtz helped the home side end the night on a high with a second straight maximum.


POOLE: Brady Kurtz 10+1 (3-3-2-0-2’), Jack Holder 3 (0-F-3-0), Timo Lahti 1 (0-0-1), Edward Kennett 7+1 (2-3-0-2’), Hans Andersen 10 (3-0-3-1-3), Paul Starke 8 (R-1-1-3-3), James Shanes 5 (3-1-0-1).

SWINDON: Jason Doyle 10 (2-2-2-3-1), Adam Ellis 4+2 (1’-1’-2-0), Tobiasz Musielak 10+1 (3-2’-3-2-R), David Bellego 6 (1-3-1-1), Nick Morris 7+3 (2-1’-2’-2’), Kyle Newman (G) 8+1 (2-2-1’-3-0), Mitchell Davey (G) 1+1 (1’-0-0).