SWINDON Robins gave their season the kick-start it so badly needed as they claimed a stunning 49-41 away victory at Coventry last night.
Reserve Steve Worrall was the star of the show as he scored 12+1 from six rides, recorded the fastest time of the season at Brandon and became the first draft rider to beat a heat leader across the entire Elite League this season, with victory over Ryan Fisher in heat eight.
He was ably backed up by the ever dependable Peter Kildemand and Troy Batchelor, with 12 and 10+2 respectively, while 19-year-old Nick Morris once again went under the radar to score 8+1 from a tough heat leader position.
Dan Greenwood’s return of only one point from his three rides proved the end of the road for the youngster, with Nathan Greaves brought in as a replacement ahead of Monday’s visit to Wolves.
The Robins almost threw away their haul of four league points as the Bees hit maximums in heats 13 and 14, before Batchelor and Kildemand steadied things in the last race of the night, but it was Worrall who stole the show.
“Steve was simply brilliant,” Robins boss Alun Rossiter said after the meeting.
“I was beginning to get a bit worried because he’s been scoring so many points for other teams and as a guest, so I thought it must have been my face which was putting him off for us, but he was superb tonight.
“Peter (Kildemand) and Batch (Troy Batchelor) rode well as they always do and for Nick Morris to score like that as a teenager is superb, it really is.
“We badly needed this win and it should really get our confidence up and get us looking up the table.”
For Worrall, it was the night he finally felt he had arrived in the Robins side.
“I’ve been scoring points for everyone else so it was really nice to do it for Swindon,” he said.
“I spent a bit of money on a new clutch after my last meeting for Swindon and it really paid off because I made some great starts.
“It was great to help the team win and to score so many points is a great feeling.”
After Batchelor won the toss and took gates one and three, Kildemand pushed former Swindon skipper Hans Andersen all the way to turn three but was out-muscled by his close friend, although Dakota North did settle in well for the Robins to secure parity at the end of the opening heat.
That soon disappeared in the first reserves outing of the evening as Jason Garrity and James Sarjeant held off the charging Worrall for a 5-1, with Greenwood lost out the back.
Batchelor made an electric gate to win his first outing and it looked as if Morris was going to join him for a maximum before Harris clipped past at the end of lap one, and the Robins were soon level as the chequered flag came down on heat four. Worrall made the gate of his season to lead Kenneth Hansen round, who in turn beat North by a whisker, in what turned out to be the fastest time of the season at Brandon.
Morris almost came to grief in turn one before hanging onto his bike to cruise home second behind Andersen in heat five, with the Bees taking a lead which lasted only four laps. Batchelor and Kildemand both gated well in heat six, with the Aussie going inside and the Dane going wide to beat Hansen and Fisher for an easy maximum.
Simon Gustafsson was quick to pass reserve Sarjeant after making a poor gate as heat seven ended 4-2 to the Bees to level the scores, before North’s eagerness to give the Robins an advantage again got the better of him as he touched the tapes. It mattered not, however, as reserve Worrall came in in his place and after making a lightning gate of his own he followed Morris round superbly to hold off Fisher for a Robins 5-1 and became the first draft rider to beat a heat leader this season.
Things got even better as Worrall made it back to back wins in heat nine following another great gate, with Sarjeant stranded behind Greenwood out the back after touching the tapes and going off 15 metres.
The Robins lead was stretched to 10 by the time the interval came around, thanks to a 5-1 from Batchelor and Morris over Andersen, with Bees boss Gary Havelock responding immediately by sending Harris out in black and white in heat 11.
The move looked doomed as early as the first corner as Bomber was boxed in by two good Robins starts and, although he did pass Gustafsson briefly, the Swede took his place back quickly to follow Kildemand home for victory.
North’s tough night continued as he hit the fence in turn two after being pushed wide, and was excluded, and in his absence Worrall did well to hold on to second place to limit the damage.
Andersen and Harris gated to a 5-1 in heat 13 to keep the pressure on, which looked to have eased as Gustafsson was heading for second in the penultimate race, but the Swede pushed too hard for victory and went wide which allowed Garrity through to set up a last-heat decider.
However, the Robins top duo came to the rescue in the last to ensure all the points went back to Wiltshire.