SWINDON ROBINS 52 KING'S LYNN STARS 41
5:30am Friday 22nd August 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
DAKOTA North was the star of the show as the Robins dominated a dismal King’s Lynn Stars to take maximum points at Blunsdon.
World number three, Niels-Kristian Iversen, was on poor form, taking only four points at number one, with only Lewis Rose and Kenneth Bjerre scoring more than five for the Stars before bonus points.
That shouldn’t take any credit away from the Robins though, who rode excellently throughout. Aside from North, skipper Troy Batchelor and Nick Morris were particularly impressive.
Team boss Alun Rossiter was delighted with North’s performance and how his team responded to the King’s Lynn resurgence after the tactical ride.
“Dak (North) has been superb recently and I don’t want him to stop, he said he’s always wanted to ride for me and he’s starting to show why I wanted him for so long,” he said.
“It was a good all-round team performance, I’m really happy with all of the boys and they all gave it 100 per cent.
“The tactical got us as it always does but we dug deep and got all the points now.
“Troy and Hans were really good and you mustn’t forget Hans’ own team is going for the play-offs. I’m not saying they would do anything silly but there are always doubts because people start talking.
“The referee was fantastic, I’m not sure about a re-run in heat 15 but we pulled it off so it doesn’t matter.”
Swindon sprang out of the tapes against King’s Lynn with a maximum in heat one. Hans Andersen, guesting for the injured Peter Kildemand, made the gate but North came through to take the heat win with the King’s Lynn riders stranded nowhere.
The Robins maintained that advantage through the next four heats with three back-to-back 3-3 heats in a row. In the second it was Steve Worrall who sped home from the gate with Nathan Greaves bringing up the rear.
In heat three the pattern continued but it was not as simple for captain Batchelor. The Robins’ number five had to chase hard with Bjerre and eventually made his move in the penultimate lap before winning by 50 yards.
If Batchelor’s move was good then Morris’ in the next heat was even better. Having stayed the course with the Stars pair, Morris took Rose on the last bend to keep the King’s Lynn at arms length in the scores.
Robins extended their lead further in the fifth with Batchelor riding away and Andersen holding off Rory Schlein for another Swindon maximum.
In heat six the Stars finally managed their first heat win and first heat advantage. Morris had to fight hard with Iversen to restrict the Stars to a 4-2.
Having been called back for an unsatisfactory start in seven North ran around Sam Masters wide on the first corner and took the Stars’ guest on the back straight to take first spot. Worrall couldn’t live with Kerr and finished well off the back.
Simon Gustaffson joined the party in heat eight. After he made the first corner it initially appeared like another 3-3 but Morris nipped inside Schlein in lap three to give the Robins the heat advantage.
Nathan Greaves picked up his first point of the night, following Kerr’s exclusion for a fall in the second lap of the original running of heat nine. In the re-run Worrall took the front after a bold move on top bend. After a couple of laps of jousting on the turns Greaves eventually fell back to earn a 4-2.
A well-called tactical ride by Rob Lyon brought King’s Lynn back into the meet. In the original run North wiped out Andersen as the Robins trailed both Schlein and Bjerre. After the Aussies’ disqualification Andersen couldn’t prevent a maximum, as King’s Lynn drew back to a three-point deficit.
Swindon responded in the next heat with a maximum instigated by Batchelor who made a superb gate. Gustafsson came through for the heat win with his skipper holding off Iversen and Masters.
North came back from the fall and exclusion in his previous heat to take his third win of the night in heat 12. Though Greaves couldn’t latch on to any Stars as another heat ended all-square.
A hard move by Iversen did for Batchelor in the 13th , the Dane flicking underneath the Robins’ man. Initially the Robins’ number five had held a 5-1 with eventual heat winner Andersen but after Iversen’s pass Batchelor fell off the back.
Morris and Worrall held on for another share of points as Masters took the heat victory in the 14th.
It was dismal stuff from the visitors as they finished the night with only three heat advantages succumbing to another maximum in the last heat, which saw the Robins to a seven-point win.
North capped his excellent evening by taking the heat victory leading from Batchelor having made the gate.
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