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Swindon Robins take all the points against rivals Poole
THE Swindon Robins motto going into last night’s meeting with Poole was ‘dig deep,’ and they did just that to secure a convincing 50-43 victory over the league leaders in front of a bumper crowd at Blunsdon .
The seven-point victory made sure of maximum league points for Alun Rossiter’s side, but the margin of success didn’t do the Robins justice as they were electric from the gate, and always had their visitors at arm’s length.
Young Australian Nick Morris led the way with 11+1 from his five rides, which included a superb victory over compatriot Chris Holder in heat 11, and he was backed up well by Troy Batchelor and Peter Kildemand who scored 10 and 9+1 respectively.
It could have been an even more comprehensive victory had captain Hans Andersen not been struggling with a suspected broken elbow, while a tactical ride from Darcy Ward and a big finish from the two-time world under 21 champion and close friend Holder saved the Pirates from a heavy defeat in Wiltshire.
Robins boss Rossiter demanded maximum points from his side before the meeting, and was pleased to see his riders deliver as they closed the gap at the top of the table to two points.
“We got all three points and that is the main thing, and it could have been a lot more if Hans had not been struggling with injury, but everyone else did their job,” he said.
“We were a lot sharper from the gate and I think that was important for us tonight, and our motto before the meeting was ‘dig deep,’ and the boys did exactly that to get the win.
“They came strong with Darcy and Chris at the end, which brought them back into it a bit, but we got the three points and that is exactly what we wanted.”
It was a big night for Simon Stead who brought a tough week, in which he celebrated his testimonial and then almost lost his team place, to an end with a score of 5+2 and a classy heat win in the eighth race of the night.
The Yorkshireman was just pleased to get back on his bike, and is now keen to put the whole episode behind him.
“It is tough to sum up the last week, but at the end of the day I am back at Swindon and it is a fresh start for me, and ride as hard as I can.
“There is no place I wanted to be other than Swindon, and I made some necessary changes which I think worked.
“I got a good heat victory which was a step in the right direction, and I need to push on from here now.”
The meeting got off to an even start as Holder won heat one easily with Andersen and Stead tucked in behind for a 3-3, but the Robins went ahead for the first time in heat two as Morris won the reserves race with ease ahead of Sam Masters.
Kildemand showed a glimpse of his early season form in the third race of the night, as he expertly held off teenage star Ward to take victory, with Jason Doyle in third securing another heat advantage.
It was more of the same in the next as Batchelor stormed to victory over a sluggish Krzytof Kasprzak, before two straight 3-3s saw the two sides six points apart after six heats.
Batchelor kept up his perfect night in heat seven as he beat compatriot Ward to further extend the home lead, with Morris hot on Ward’s tail before finishing third.
Stead put all his recent troubles behind him as he burst from the gate to claim all three points in heat eight, and in the race that followed, the Robins recorded a superb 5-1 as Kildemand and Doyle made the gate again and stormed to victory over Kasprzak and Ashley Birks.
Poole hauled themselves back into the contest as Ward won a tactical ride in heat 11 to close the gap to only nine points, but the Robins hit back immediately as Morris easily claimed the scalp of Holder, with Batchelor third for a 4-2.
But the powerhouse duo of Ward and Holder flexed their world class muscles in the next two heats to claim a victory each to narrow the gap, but both heats ended 4-2 as the Robins limited the damage with two second places.
Doyle and Morris made sure of all three points with a 5-1 in the penultimate heat, before Holder and Ward had the final word with a 5-1 of their own.