SWINDON Robins took control of their SGB Premiership Supporters’ Cup group on Easter Monday with a comfortable 51-39 victory over Ipswich Witches.

The Robins, who are now five points clear at the top of the South group, flew out of the traps at the Abbey Stadium and put the visiors under serious pressure with an opening heat 5-1, courtesy of Jason Doyle and the rejuvenated Dawid Lampart.

Zach Wajtknecht and James Shanes were on the end of a 5-1 reverse in the following heat, though, as the Witches bit straight back, before a third-straight 5-1, this time from Tobiasz Musielak and Adam Ellis, restored the Robins’ four-point lead.

Alun Rossiter’s Robins extended their advantage to a dozen points through heat 12 thanks to some gutsy fightbacks from Musielak in heats five and eight, as well as captain Doyle in heat 12.

Race 12 was certainly the most exciting of the night as Doyle completely missed the start before using every inch of the new Abbey track to blast around the outside of former British champion Danny King.

With the Australian out in front and not for catching, it was left to Ellis to do his part.

Winding it on through lap three and four, the young Brit eventually turned back down the inside of King on bend four and sliced straight past to help Swindon record a thrilling 5-1.

And following a disaster of a heat 13 as Ipswich took a 5-1 of their own, Musielak and Lampart went for the Robins in the fan-voted heat 14 and held on for a 3-3 to wrap up the overall victory on the night.

Doyle and Troy Batchelor put the cherry on top of the cake as they recorded a maximum in the final race.

Doyle recorded 12 points from five rides on a night where he missed several starts amid fidgeting and jumping from both sets of riders.

Referee Ronnie Allan seemed content to allow scratchy starts from both teams and only pulled riders back on a couple of occasions.

Heat 10 was the messiest as it was pulled back once and should have been again as Ipswich’s Christian Pieszczek went early in the re-run.

The frustration in Swindon boss Rossiter’s post-meeting words were evident.

Rossiter said: “Ipswich came back at us well – you’ve got to give them credit – and we had to work hard for it in the end. We came from the back a lot, even though there were some dubious starts, in my opinion.

“I wasn’t at the startline, but from the pits, it looked very much like it from this angle.

“When people are jumping and they’re saying they’re not moving, but we’re getting pulled back, it’s very frustrating.”

Rossiter also made a point of highlighting the poor starts his side were making when the tapes were released fairly.

The Robins team manager asked for more dirt to be put down in the gating area pre-meeting, but felt his words fell on deaf ears as even the class Doyle and Musielak were struggling out of the gate.

He said: “We’ve got trouble with the starts, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve got to get more shale into it.

“They did put some down, but it didn’t help much. It is a bit disappointing. We specifically asked for it.”

An area of the meeting that did please Rossiter was the performance of his top five.

Each of the top-five riders were paid at least 10 points for the night, with Lampart responding to his team manager’s pre-meeting call to put in a higher standard of performance.

The Polish rider scored 10+3, while captain Doyle bagged 12, Batchelor scored 10+1, Ellis had a much-improved night to the previous home meeting as he scored 8+2 and Musielak also recorded an 8+2.

Reserves Wajtknecht and Shanes could only pick up two and a single point respectively, but put in a great deal of effort as they put pressure on the Witches riders in front on such occasions.

Rossiter heaped praise on the main body of his team before some encouraging words were shared towards his number six and seven.

He said: “Our top five were outstanding. They all got double figures, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

“If they can keep going like that then they will carry the reserves, but we need Zach and James to come to the party.

“It’s early days for them yet. Fingers crossed that they’ll get it together and perform a lot better in the future.”