THERE were big shoes to fill at the Abbey Stadium tonight, and guest Brady Kurtz came up trumps for Alun Rossiter’s Swindon Robins as they defeated Peterborough Panthers 46-44 to record their first SGB Premiership win of the season.

Kurtz was called into action on Sunday after Robins skipper Jason Doyle crashed heavily in Poland during Torun’s Ekstraliga fixture against Czestochowa.

The former world champion broke a rib and punctured his lung – ruling him out for the foreseeable future, and Craig Cook has already been drafted in for Thursday’s Supporters’ Cup meeting at home against King’s Lynn.

Back to this evening, a final race decider wasn’t perhaps what Rossiter had planned – especially considering the 10-point lead Swindon held with only five heats remaining.

Peterborough dug deep to earn a pair of 5-1s in heats 11 and 14, taking the meeting to a last heat decider.

And it was guest Kurtz who stepped up to the plate, storming to a last-heat win to earn Rossiter’s septet their first Premiership win of the season – moving them onto four points from two meetings.

With the BT Sport cameras in town, nerves among riders was evident for all to see.

Heat one was pulled back, as was heat three – that had to be re-run three times before Ellis recorded a win in his opening ride to share the spoils with teammate Wajtknecht retiring in spectacular fashion after colliding with the air fence.

Mechanical issues hit Rohan Tungate in heat four – there was no such issues for his team mate, and former Robin, Bradley Wilson-Dean though.

Wilson-Dean stormed to his second heat win of the night, after winning heat two, as the meeting remained locked as 12-12 after four races.

An early stoppage in heat five prevented what could have been one of the races of the season. Ellis and Musielak swamped home number one Hans Andersen to place the Robins on a 5-1.

Andersen’s determined efforts saw him fight back into second, before Musielak repaid the complement. Wilson-Dean’s fall at the back prompted that heat to be awarded. Advantage Robins.

Then came the hosts’ second maximum. This time Kurtz and Lampart teamed up to stretch Robins’ lead to eight points, and a certain feel-good factor spread among home fans with half of the meeting raced.

Shared races in heats seven and eight steadied the Panthers’ ship, before a 4-2 in favour of the Robins in heat nine granted Rossiter’s troops a 10-point lead – which remained intact after heat 10 following Ben Barker’s last place for the visitors.

But then came the Panthers’ fightback. Making the most of the in-form Charles Wright and ever dependable Hans Andersen, the visitors’ deficit was cut to six points following their first maximum of the evening in heat 11.

Two 3-3s in heats 12 and 13 kept the Panthers’ threat at a reasonably comfortable distance.

But Rossiter suffered a hammer blow in the penultimate race when Adam Ellis touched the tapes, prompting him to go off of 15 metres.

With Wajtknecht unable to beat either Wilson-Dean or Wright, the meeting was suddenly thrown into a last-race decider.

And it was Kurtz who stepped up to the task, winning the final race to ensure Robins’ unbeaten run on their new home remains.

Swindon return to action on Thursday when hosting Peterborough Panthers in the SGB Premiership Supporters’ Cup (7.30pm).