SWINDON Robins boss Alun Rossiter is convinced the race for top spot in the Elite League is not over despite his side’s 49-41 defeat at title rivals Poole last night.
A masterful ride from Piotr Pawlicki in heat 14 and a timely 5-1 for Pirates stars Chris Holder and Darcy Ward in the final race of the night made sure the home side secured maximum points from the battle of the league’s top two, while the Robins returned to Wiltshire with nothing.
The result sent Poole five points clear at the top of the table, meaning victory at Birmingham on Monday will be enough for the Dorset side to earn the right to pick their play-off semi-final opponents.
But the Robins still have two meetings left to ride, and Rossiter believes they could still finish the regular season on top of the pile ahead of their rivals.
“There is an awful long way to go yet, and there are two meetings to go and we just need to see what happens,” he said.
“The Poole meeting has gone now, and all our focus is on the Lakeside and Birmingham meetings because there is no need for us to keep dwelling on this one now. We are still looking for top spot of course and it is not all over, and even though the ball is in their court they can still make a mistake and we can get in.
“If they get in there of course they get the pick, and both teams still have to go to Birmingham and will be going there to try and get four points.
“It is a tough place to go so neither team can take anything for granted.”
Pawlicki produced the performance of the night as he sliced his way between Dawid Lampart and Jason Doyle to win heat 14 and set up his side’s victory, and Rossiter insisted there is nothing his riders could do to stop the teenage Pole. “We knew it would get tough at the end, but that is the frustrating thing because we were there and it was in our hands and it was taken away in heat 14,” he said.
“I can’t blame Doyley or Lampart at all because they rode their socks off, but that is racing and at the end of the day I am frustrated now but I can’t be frustrated with the riders because the conditions weren’t brilliant.
Last night’s meeting at Wimborne Road was interrupted by wet weather which forced racing to be suspended for 40minutes, and Rossiter believes conditions made things tough for his side.
“The track was very very slick and it was probably the worst I have see here, especially with the rain coming in which made things difficult,” he said.
“There was no material there to grade back and help at all, but there is no excuse at the end of the day because we knew it was going to be hard.”