SIMON Stead has questioned the value of tactical rides in the Elite League play-offs after Swindon were pegged back by a double dose of black and white magic last night.
The Robins led 36-18 against Poole in the first leg of the grand final following a dominant display in the first half of the meeting, but tactical wins for Chris Holder and Darcy Ward allowed the Pirates to reduce the deficit from 18 points to 10 in the space of just two heats.
Those 6-3 and 7-2 heat advantages gave the Pirates significant momentum and helped them close the gap to just 51-44 following the final race.
And Stead hinted that he would like to see speedway's authorities consider rule changes in the winter to prevent tactical rides having such a significant effect on the play-offs.
"Poole are such a strong team with such strong heat leaders, it's always a danger when you go into tactical territory," said Stead, who scored eight paid 10 at Blunsdon.
"I don't know, maybe that needs a rethink. In league racing when it's not the be-all and end-all riding on it then it's OK, but this is a final, and it was a little bit unlucky that it caught us.
"It's a final and it's disappointing that it worked for them."
Stead accepts that there is little that Swindon can do about Poole's tactical brilliance now, stating that securing the Robins' first top-flight title in 45 years should be their only concern.
"They are the rules and we stick by them, and the result we have at the end of it is we're up by seven," he said.
"We got a win and we have to be confident going there and doing what we do best.
"We just have to go there on Wednesday knowing the job we have to do and try and make it happen.
"There's still 15 heats of racing left and that's a long way.
"It's about getting no last places, we can go there and get 3-3s all night and win the league."
Despite his focus on the task in hand, the Yorkshireman admitted it was a blow to let Poole back into last night's meeting after they were out of contention initially.
"Obviously we would have liked more (of an advantage), but fair play to them, they came back with two tacticals," he said.
"Both teams were what they were, we had to do without (Jason) Doyle and I'm reasonably pleased with the result."