SWINDON ROBINS: A matter of priority
6:00am Friday 12th October 2012 in By Ned Payne
SWINDON’S hopes of parading the Elite League trophy on their own shale the day after winning it might be gone, but co-owner Gary Patchett insists there was no other way of avoiding the scenario that led to it.
The Robins take on Poole in the grand final at home on Monday and away on Wednesday, and had wished to secure the title and then show off the silverware to their supporters at Blunsdon on Thursday, when they were scheduled to meet Peterborough in the second leg of the Knockout Cup.
However, with the Abbey Stadium outfit now eliminated from the competition after Peterborough’s name was drawn out of a hat, Swindon are not scheduled to ride on Thursday.
“In an ideal world it would have been nice to think we could have paraded the trophy on Thursday, but we’re not talking about ideal worlds, we’re talking about ifs, buts and maybes,” said Patchett.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s not ideal but the Knockout Cup has to progress now.
“It’s not our fault the tie hasn’t been completed.
“It’s better to call the tie off having raced neither leg than having raced one or the other, because there are financial implications if a club is denied the opportunity to stage the home leg.
“We had three meetings next week already before we even consider the Knockout Cup - home and away to Poole and the Elite League Riders Championship.
“It’s absolutely right that the league takes priority, you can’t prioritise everything.”
Swindon team manager Alun Rossiter added: “It’s an impossible situation and sometimes you just have to sacrifice something.
“While we’re disappointed, we’ve got the biggest carrot of all waiting for us in the grand final.”
Explaining the decision to draw a team’s name out of a hat, British speedway management committee member David Hoggart revealed there were several reasons for going down that route.
He said: “The weather this year has placed the sport in uncharted territory and we have had to make unprecedented decisions to maintain some sort of continuity of racing.
“This is hardly the ideal way for Swindon to go out after such a good season, but to allow a delay would put them in the position of staging three home meetings next week, and place an unrealistic financial burden on their supporters.
“The competition has to reach a conclusion by October 31 and we could see a scenario where clubs could be running two fixtures in the last week of the month.
“That’s only palatable if we can guarantee the weather - but we can't, so we have had to act.
“I’d like to thank both promotions for agreeing to take this step, congratulations to Peterborough and of course our commiserations go to Swindon.”