SWINDON ROBINS: Batchelor seals Robins return
SWINDON Robins have completed their line-up for the defence of their Elite League title after finally securing a loan deal for Australian Troy Batchelor.
The Blunsdon side have been locked in a battle with parent club Peterborough all winter regarding Batchelor’s future, but have brought the saga to an end after agreeing terms following the passing of yesterday’s signing deadline, which made unsigned riders automatically available on loan.
The Panthers believe Batchelor should only have left the Showground on a full transfer, but the Robins have now declared their team with the Australian completing their 1-7.
“I have been told from the outset that riders who are not signed by another team by March 1 are regarded as free agents, and would be available to any club on loan,” co-owner Gary Patchett said.
“I have always maintained Troy shouldn’t have been made available on transfer only because he never featured in his parent club’s plans, and as far as I’m concerned he will ride for Swindon on loan unless we decide that situation has changed.
“We respected the right of his parent club to include him in their team if they so desired, but we are led to believe they made no contact at all with him and we are happy to have him back.
“As soon as the season finished we said we wanted as many of last season’s team back as possible, and we are delighted to bring back four.”
Patchett also believes the 25-year-old returns to Europe a more mature rider following is national title victory in January.
“The best is yet to come from Troy, and he showed great maturity last season when he stepped up on nights where we relied on him and him alone,” he said.
“He has built on that in the close season by winning the Australian title, which is very dear to him, and that is a fantastic achievement for him. Some will question the strength of the field, but you can only beat what’s put in front.”
Meanwhile, Davey Watt is the latest rider to be announced for the season-opening Bob Kilby Memorial Meeting on March 14 The Australian joins the likes of Nicki Pedersen, Hans Andersen and Freddie Lindgren in the field, and Patchett is pleased to see Watt included.
“Davey has always done well around Blunsdon, and he has a fond place in my heart after he stood in for Leigh Adams at very short notice after Leigh was injured at the end of the 2008 season,” he said.