A MID-MEETING slump hurt Swindon Robins’ hopes of a second away SGB Premiership win in a row as they suffered a narrow defeat at Poole Pirates tonight.

Alun Rossiter’s troops arrived at Wimborne Road on the back of a scintillating 53-37 success away at Ipswich Witches last time out, knowing another four-point success could potentially fire them to the top of the table.

It was not to be for the Robins, though, as three 5-1 wins for Poole in the space of four races saw a tied meeting after six heats turn into a 10-point Pirates advantage after 10.

Although Swindon rallied in the closing contests, the damage was done and they had to make do with a consolation point in defeat.

Skipper Jason Doyle led the way for his side with a 15+1 points haul from six rides, while fellow Australian Troy Batchelor notched 11+1 from five.

The Robins got the meeting off to a dream start with a maximum victory in the opening race. Adam Ellis roared off the line, with the visitors’ job made easier when Nico Covatti fell alone after cutting his line too fine to the infield. Behind Ellis, Jack Holder tried to push Doyle wide but the Swindon skipper swooped around to take second and complete the 5-1 win.

Poole claimed an instant response with a comfortable maximum of their own in the next race as Covatti led home Ricky Wells without much alarm.

Heat three was the first on the night to be shared as Josh Grajczonek took the win for Poole but Tobiasz Musielak and Rasmus Jensen were able to claim the minor placings.

Batchelor then made it two heat wins per side in another shared race, with third-placed finisher Wells actually making the best start before Swindon’s Australian heat leader and Pirates number five Brady Kurtz both muscled by.

There was still no splitting the teams after heat five as a third race in a row finished all-square, making it 15-15 on the scoreboard. Doyle pulled off a stunning ride to take the win for Swindon after Nicolai Klindt had held the edge for the opening two laps.

The draw pattern continued in the next race as Batchelor took a dominant victory for the Robins.

However, Poole took control of the meeting in heats seven and eight with back-to-back maximum victories.

First, Covatti led home Kurtz before Grajczonek did likewise ahead of Wells as no Swindon rider was able to make much of an impression for the leading positions.

Trailing by eight points, Robins boss Rossiter played a tactical substitute in heat nine as Doyle was sent out in place of Ellis Perks. It did not quite come off fully, though, as although Batchelor took a clear win, Doyle lost out in the battle for second to Gracjzonek.

Swindon’s disappointment was then compounded in heat 10 as Poole took a third 5-1 win in four races courtesy of Holder and Covatti, with the Robins’ cause not helped by a retirement for Jensen.

The visitors took a much-needed heat advantage in race 11, with Doyle having the job done after just two corners as Ellis finished third behind Kurtz.

Another advantage followed in the next as Jensen roared off the line to take an easy victory, with Perks fending off Wells for third behind second-placed Klindt.

Doyle roared off the line to take another dominant win for Swindon in heat 13 but, painfully, it was only in a shared heat as Batchelor gave everything to improve on fourth place but Holder shut the door at every turn.

Another 3-3 in the penultimate race scuppered the Robins’ hopes of a meeting victory as Musielak got the better of a brave early duel against Gracjzonek to claim the spoils but Kyle Newman could not make an impression at the back.

Although their dreams of another away win were over, Swindon produced a classy performance in the finale to finish the night as they began it – claiming a superb 5-1 win.

Doyle and Batchelor were class above all the way through, leaving the Poole pair of Kurtz and Holder for dead after just one lap and giving Rossiter’s troops plenty to be positive about before these two teams resume battle back at the Abbey Stadium on Thursday.


POOLE: Jack Holder 7+1 (1-2-3-1’-0), Richie Worrall R/R, Nicolai Klindt 4 (0-2-0-2), Josh Grajczonek 11+1 (3-1’-3-2-2), Brady Kurtz 9+1 (2-2’-2-2-1), Nico Covatti 9+2 (F-3-3-2’-0-1’), Ricky Wells 7+4 (2’-1’-2’-2’-0)

SWINDON: Jason Doyle 15+1 (2’-3-1-3-3-3), Adam Ellis 4 (3-0-1-1), Rasmus Jensen 4+1 (1’-0-R-3), Tobiasz Musielak 7 (2-1-1-3), Troy Batchelor 11+1 (3-3-3-0-2’), Ellis Perks 1 (0-0-0-1), Kyle Newman (G) 1 (1-0-0)