BIRMINGHAM 44 SWINDON 46: Troy & Co land psychological blow to play-off rivals

IN FORM: Troy Batchelor

IN FORM: Troy Batchelor

First published in Sport Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy sports editor, awarren@swindonadvertiser.co.uk, @AndyWarren_

TROY Batchelor believes Swindon’s 46-44 comeback victory at Birmingham last night has given the Robins the psychological advantage as the two sides prepare to meet again in the play-offs next week.

The Robins trailed by 10 points after nine heats, but after gaining their first heat advantage in the very next race, Rossiter’s men went on an unstoppable surge which saw them record three 5-1s in the final five races to take the win without the use of a tactical ride.

The visitors had to do without captain Hans Andersen who was nursing an injury suffered riding in Poland on Sunday, but stand-in skipper Batchelor and Peter Kildemand led the way with 15+1 and 13+2 respectively, while Seb Alden backed the pair up with 10+1.

Batchelor believes his side now have momentum going into the play-offs, and is pleased to be returning to Perry Barr after Poole chose to go to Lakeside.

“We did pretty well without Hans, and I am not saying we don’t want him, but we covered pretty well for him,” he said.

“We were 10 points down and Rosco didn’t even use a tactical, because he was waiting for me to go out and use it but the boys pulled it back really quickly.

“We came back and got the win and that is good going into the play-offs now, and it is good to be coming back here where we know we can win.

“We have the psychological advantage now I think, and if we can ride well again next week we should be fine.”

Andersen’s absence told straight away as the Brummies cruised to a 5-1 in the opening heat, and in doing so earned their side an advantage they would hold on to for much of the meeting.

The reserve race was shared as Alden made up for lost time in Robins kevlars with a good win for the visitors, but Nick Morris was squeezed out in heat three as Danny King took advantage to extend the Brummies lead further.

Captain for the night Batchelor won with ease in his first outing of the night, but Dawid Lampart failed to back him up and the heat was shared before King dominated heat five to extend the home lead despite Stead using the outside line well throughout.

Batchelor looked in superb touch as he cruised to his second heat victory of the night, but the Brummies once again were happy to pack the minor places for a shared heat.

Kildemand was close on eventual winner Ben Barker’s wheel for most of heat seven before mechanical problems saw him pack up in the final corner, but it didn’t cost the Robins too dear as partner Morris was the only man to pass him.

Alden picked up his second heat win of the night in heat eight, but he reached the first turn alongside Simon Stead, only for the Yorkshireman to slip to the back after being held up by his partner.

After Lampart hit the fence Batchelor looked to be well on his way to picking up his third straight win before Josh Auty shut him out in the final corner of heat nine, but the Robins soon picked up their first heat advantage of the night thanks to a tough first corner ride from Kildemand to beat Seb Ulamek and Bjarne Pedersen.

Batchelor and Stead combined for the Robins’ first 5-1 of the night in heat 11, and the race of the night was brewing in heat 12 before King pushed Kildemand into the fence and was excluded.

The Dane jumped up and claimed a 5-1 alongside Alden to level things up, and Pedersen picked up his first win of the night in heat 13 to keep things level going into the final two races.

A physical encounter saw the Brummies edge ahead again as Auty took Morris after four hard laps, but the Robins duo of Batchelor and Kildemand snatched it at the death after winning from the tapes.

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