POOLE PIRATES 49 SWINDON ROBINS 41: Rosco rues Kildemand absence
SWINDON boss Alun Rossiter admitted the absence of Peter Kildemand played a major part as his spirited Robins lost 49-41 away at rivals Poole yesterday afternoon.
The Dane was missing at Wimborne Road after crashing out of Thursday’s loss to Belle Vue and then hitting the deck twice in Saturday’s Grand Prix Challenge, and in his absence rider replacement only managed 3+1 at a track where Kildemand would be expected to contribute double figures.
The Elite League champions stayed with their hosts with much of the meeting thanks to a spirited performance from every rider, but with Edward Kennett and Nick Morris unable to keep up their good early form through all five rides, the Pirates came on strong and took all the points.
Kyle Howarth managed 9+1 from reserve on a busy afternoon while Troy Batchelor added 10+1, but with Greg Hancock not dropping a point to an opponent until heat 15 and Darcy Ward recovering from a heat one retirement to score 10+1, the Pirates were able to keep their play-off charge alive.
Rossiter was happy with his team’s performance, but felt at least a point was within their reach.
“It’s one of those things really, this is a tough place to come and Darcy’s (Ward) a class act round here who’s very hard to beat, and then when you chuck in Greg Hancock too it’s always going to be difficult,” he said.
“Everyone chipped in and I couldn’t fault their effort at all, although I could maybe expect more from Nick because he’s been riding so well, but he just wasn’t himself.
“Every time we lose we seem to be missing Peter and that’s just because of the sort of rider he is.
“It’s not because of the way the team’s built because we’re solid all the way through.
“Kyle Howarth scored nine points and he’s really looking good now, and nobody can say we have four reserves down there. He’s going well at all the tracks, and that’s a real plus for us.
“I expected at least a point, but I knew if it went down to heat 15 it would be pretty tough because Darcy and Greg are really strong.”
Kennett got the Robins off to the perfect start as he made the gate and held his line for four laps to keep a charging Tomas H Jonasson at bay, with GP star Ward retiring out the back as the Robins took the advantage in the opener.
The reserves race was shared, before Morris gave former world champion Hancock a torrid time for all four laps as the American was forced to hang on to save a second consecutive 3-3.
Maciej Janowski was backed up by Micky Dyer in third as the Pirates secured their first heat advantage as Batchelor toiled out the back of heat four, before Hans Andersen and Kennett packed in behind Hancock as the Pirates star took his second heat win.
Batchelor made up for the disappointment of his first ride by comfortably beating Ward out the gate to win heat six, but when taking the rider replacement ride in the next heat he almost wiped out teammate Morris as the two Robins failed to make any impression on winner Janowski.
Howarth produced a superb move to sweep round both Dyer and Jonasson after the latter looked to go underneath him, but when the Robins reserve and the Swede did battle it was the Pirates man who came out on top on the run to the line before hitting the fence after the flag.
Hancock produced his third win before Morris touched the tapes at the start of heat 10 and that gave Jonasson and Ward the chance to earn the meeting’s first 5-1, to give the Pirates the lead for the first time.
Andersen passed Janowski on the first back straight of a shared heat 11, before the meeting swung hugely in the Pirates’ favour as Hancock guided the impressive Grajczonek round for all four laps to earn a 5-1 which gave them a six-point lead.
In the battle of the big guns Hancock found a way through Batchelor at the same time as Andersen passed Janowski in a heat which ended all square, but when Grajczonek passed Morris on the line of heat 14 all the points looked destined to go Pirates’ way.
Batchelor made the gate in the deciding race as the Robins battled to save a point, but even though Andersen was able to bully his way round Hancock, Ward got the better of Batchelor for a shared heat which ensured Poole took all three points.
The two teams do battle again at Wimborne Road on Thursday, where the Pirates will be looking for at least a point to keep their outside hopes of a play-off place alive.
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