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TRACK TALK: A first week of real suprises
10:20am Saturday 4th April 2009 in Track Side
THE opening week of the Elite League has brought about some interesting results.
While all Swindon supporters must be fairly pleased with our four-point tally from the away meeting at Poole and home meeting against Eastbourne, who would have predicted away wins for Lakeside and Coventry at the likes of highly-fancied Peterborough and not-so-fancied Ipswich?
The live Sky meeting at Wimborne Road on Monday had been hyped up as an expected away win.
But those of us more used to seeing our team’s performances at the home of the Pirates were not as convinced, and so it turned out.
It was an up-and-down night for all, but the value of the new scoring system was in our favour as we took away a point for keeping the meeting close.
On to Thursday and a highly-entertaining battle against the bookies’ outsiders Eastbourne Eagles.
Just like 2008 when we were billed to hold up the rest of the Elite League, the Eagles already look a much stronger unit than most expected.
Brilliant performances from young Brit Lewis Bridger and reserve Simon Gustafsson kept the meeting in the balance until powerhouse performances from our Aussie duo of Leigh Adams and Troy Batchelor in the latter heats pulled us to an eight-point victory and an all-important three-point win.
Despite a disappointing night for reserves Kryzsztof Stojanowski and Cory Gathercole, who gained a mere three points from their eight outings, the rest showed signs of what could be with individual heat wins from Simon Stead in heats five and nine, an important heat eight win for Travis McGowan and an equally important heat 14 win for Jurica Pavlic.
A busy Easter campaign next week sees us travel to Monmore Green for the second leg of the Knockout Cup quarter-final against Wolves on Monday where we will be expected to ease through to the semi-finals with a 21-point lead.
That is followed by home and away league meetings against the Coventry Bees on Thursday and Friday.
As was seen by their away victory at Ipswich on Thursday, they cannot be underestimated and a solid all round team performance will be needed to secure the minimum of four league points that we all hope for.