SWINDON ROBINS: Patchett poised for double play-off success
6:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
SWINDON co-promoter Gary Patchett has experienced nothing but success so far in 2012 as he prepares for a big week of play-off speedway.
As well as seeing his Robins make it to the last four in the Elite League, Patchett has also overseen Dudley Heathen's rise to the top of the National League at the end of the regular season.
Both sides begin their play-off campaigns this week, with the Robins taking on Belle Vue and the Heathens going up against Stoke, and Patchett is hoping for a double success to cap a remarkable season.
“It would be fantastic if I could be involved in two clubs winning their leagues, and that is just the way it has fallen for us,” he said.
“We have put together two good teams and we have both been blessed in that we have not been hit by any big injuries that have affected other clubs at critical times of the season.
“Both clubs have got to where they are through a lot of hard work both on and off the track, both from the riders and the management, but we have only done half the job so far and the real stuff starts now for us.”
First on the agenda for Patchett is the first leg of Swindon’s Elite League semi-final with Birmingham, and the co-promoter didn’t take long to decide to travel to Perry Barr for the first leg.
“Going back to Birmingham in the first leg was a no-brainer for us really, and Alun Rossiter and I had lengthy conversations where we talked about what the likely scenarios were once we were not in control of our own destiny.
“We may have taken a different strategy against Peterborough in that we would have staged the home leg first and then gone to the Showground with a lead under our belt, and then if they had come out strongly we would have two tactical rides to defend.
“We have already won twice at Birmingham this year and we can take massive pluses from the meeting on Wednesday night which will help us on Monday, but it won’t be easy.”
The following night Dudley host Stoke in their semi-final first leg at Monmore Green, and Patchett is hoping to cap a remarkable return for the club which rose from the ashes of the old Cradley Heath club in 2010.
“Everything at Dudley has gone a lot better than any of us have ever envisaged, we thought it would be a popular move to bring the club back and we have been proved right,” he said. “We have created a bit of a monster really, and we are getting crowds in the National League that other clubs in the league and number in the Premier League can only dream of.
“We are not without ambition, and ideally we wouldn’t want to step up to the Premier League without our own track to do it on, but our supporters are hungry for success and are anxious for us to pit ourselves against better opposition.
“You would have to say that if we can’t make it work in the Premier League with the increasing attendances we are getting, then there are not many who could.
“Some supporters in the area still see the use of the Heathens name as a bit of a gimmick because it is not Cradley, but there are equally as many who are very grateful for what we have done in giving them their club back.”