WHEN called upon, reserve Zach Wajtknecht answered his critics as Swindon Robins slipped to a narrow four-point loss against King’s Lynn Stars at the Norfolk Arena tonight – keeping them top of the Supporters’ Cup southern group.

While six points might not appear world beating – especially from seven rides - the 21-year-old turned around his top tier form and recorded his first heat win of the season in Robins colours as Alun Rossiter’s septet left East Anglia with a consolation point to their name.

As a result, the Robins continue to top the southern group – leading Ipswich and King’s Lynn by three points while Poole trail a further point.

Realistically, Swindon would have to slip up at home against the Stars a week on Thursday (May 9) at home or Poole would have to suffer another home Supporters’ Cup loss to either the Witches or Stars in order for the Abbey Stadium outfit to miss out on an appearance in the grand final.

Plenty can change, of course. But there is reason to be positive and optimistic for Robins fans – maybe even a feeling a quiet confidence.

That quiet confidence certainly toned the voice of Rossiter following last night’s 47-43 defeat.

He said: “I think barring a catastrophe at home against King’s Lynn, we’re in the final.

“We’ve still got a job to do, but we’ve done pretty well so far.

“The track was similar is Ipswich, you can prepare it slick and then it’s hard to pass.

“If you put grip on the outside, everyone just goes for the dirt. It’s not an easy solution but I can’t criticise the team here after our track last year.

“It was smooth and not patchy, the racing was hard and fast even if passing was tricky.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing – the Robins could’ve poached a home win against Poole had it not been for Tobiasz Musielak’s sloppy white line crossing against Poole Pirates in heat three.

Adam Ellis’ slip from second to fourth on the final turn of Robins’ visit to Wolverhampton in the Premiership earlier this month might have cost Rossiter’s troops a draw.

But there was little to ponder over on the journey home tonight – the meeting mostly went to plan.

Jason Doyle was beaten only once - he pulled off an edge-of-your-seat move around Thomas Jorgensen on the final lap of heat 11 to steal a win from the Dane’s grasp. Jorgensen’s pit wall certainly felt the full impact of a solid left hook, delivered in frustration after throwing the race win away.

Troy Batchelor registered 12 points at his former club, despite running a poor third place in his opening ride. Tobiasz Musielak looked quick, and maybe deserved more than the seven points to his name.

Adam Ellis left frustrated – 4+1 from six rides, coupled with a tapes exclusion, is a below-par night by his standards.

James Shanes, currently suffering from two torn ligaments in his thumb, struggled too – zero points from three rides.

But Wajtknecht perhaps left Norfolk with the biggest grin to his face – and Rossiter certainly led the praises after the 15th chequered flag fell.

He said: “It was going to be a tough meeting, James (Shanes) is still struggling but Zach (Wajtknecht) looks to be a different rider which is good to see – we’ve just got to try and get James going.

“I think a few things have helped Zach, he’s had a little bit of help from Tobiasz’s (Musielak) mechanic. It’s a combination of a few things.

“Finishing second to Robert (Lambert) has lifted his spirits.

“There are a few things we found out to be wrong, hopefully he can kick on from here.”

The Robins next race on Monday, May 5, when hosting Peterborough Panthers in the SGB Premiership.