SPEEDWAY: Robins take charge of play-off semi final
10:14am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in Sport
SWINDON will take a ten-point lead to Poole next Monday after a 52-42 first leg win on a pulsating night of play-off speedway at the Abbey Stadium.
Excalibur Robins boss Alun Rossiter said before the meeting that he was looking for an advantage of double figures from their home clash with the Pirates, and that was exactly what his team delivered – thanks to a last-ditch pass by Troy Batchelor in Heat 15.
For much of the evening, the Robins appeared set for a wider margin as they reeled off a series of race advantages, including maximums 5-1s in Heats 3 and 6.
When visiting riders such as Darcy Ward won races, the home side packed in for the all-important second and third places, and after Heat 10 their lead was up to 14-points.
Successive 4-2s in Heats 9 and 10 saw them reach that level, with a re-pass from Nick Morris over Maciej Janowski in the first of those races being one of the highlights of the meeting.
Batchelor had already seen off the tactical ride threat of Greg Hancock when the American went for double in Heat 7, and he then superbly got the better of Ward in Heat 11 with the visiting captain delayed initially by Swindon guest Lewis Kerr – who had earlier notched two important points.
However, Poole hit back in a re-started Heat 13 when Ward and ex-Swindon man Maciej Janowski secured a 5-1 over Batchelor and Hans Andersen, and the Robins met with misfortune in the penultimate race.
Kyle Howarth ended his meeting with a win but an exciting chase by Nick Morris which saw him pass Rohan Tungate and then move in to challenge Josh Grajczonek saw him fall heavily at the start of the last lap and be taken away for hospital checks.
With their lead down to eight and facing Ward and Janowski again in Heat 15, the Robins were under pressure of the first time, but Andersen conjured a fast start from gate 4 and Batchelor superbly squeezed inside Janowski off the final bend to take third place to the delight of a bumper crowd.
Rossiter said: “It was a good performance, it was looking like it was going to get tight when they got the 5-1 in Heat 13 but Hans and Troy were magnificent in Heat 15 and we’ll take the ten points and go again at Poole next week.
“Nick has concussion and that will mean he’ll have to take a few days off and then get medical clearance before he can race again, but hopefully we’ll see him back next Monday.
“It was a great atmosphere and so good to hear the roar of the crowd when our riders were coming through, and hopefully we will get through and have that again for the Final.”
SWINDON 52: Hans Andersen 10+1, Troy Batchelor 10, Kyle Howarth 8+2, Edward Kennett 8+1, Peter Kildemand 8, Nick Morris 6+2, Lewis Kerr 2.
POOLE 42: Darcy Ward 14+1, Greg Hancock 9, Maciej Janowski 9, Tomas H Jonasson 3+1, Josh Grajczonek 3+1, Rohan Tungate 2+1, Micky Dyer 2.
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