Thursday April 03, 2014
SWINDON’S home season got off to a disappointing start with a 26-36 defeat against Coventry at a damp Abbey Stadium.

And the Excalibur Robins saw young reserve Darryl Ritchings taken to hospital after a frightening Heat 2 crash when he collided with Bees rider Jason Garrity and hit the fence at speed.

Rain threatened throughout much of the meeting and a halt was called after Heat 10 due to poor visibility for the riders, with Coventry collecting all four Elite League points on offer.

Ritchings and Garrity made contact as they entered the second lap of the first reserves’ race, and the Swindon rider was sent headlong into the fence. He received lengthy treatment on-track before being transferred to hospital via ambulance, the initial word being that he suffered a broken nose and concussion.

The Bees proved to be the faster-gating side, and the general pattern of the meeting was that when one of their riders hit the front, the other was there to join him for a 5-1.

Consequently the visitors raced into a 27-15 lead after Heat 7 with both of their reserves impressing, whilst the Robins were left to rue an engine failure for captain Peter Kildemand in Heat 5 when on a clear 5-1 with Nick Morris.

Manager Alun Rossiter handed the tactical ride responsibility to guest Bjarne Pedersen in Heat 8, and although he teamed up with Simon Gustafsson the duo failed to finish in the ideal order, Gustafsson heading home Pedersen for a 7-1.

Worrall was an excellent winner of the second reserves’ race, but after a track inspection from referee Dave Robinson from which the order was made to continue, Kildemand was squeezed out by Cameron Woodward and Kenneth Hansen in Heat 10 - and the Robins’ misery was complete as a halt was called shortly after.

Rossiter said: “It’s disappointing but we can take some positives, such as Simon getting going in his last ride.

“We know we’ve got to get Nicolai (Klindt) going too, but we’ll move on. It’s early days, and if we’re going to lose anything it’s better to have it now than later on in the season. We’ll take it on the chin, the gating is something we’ll look into but it was only our second meeting so I’m not too worried.

“By the end it was pouring with rain, the boys didn’t want to go out and I can’t make them do it. The frustrating thing is the result being called after Heat 10 when we were technically still in the meeting, so that was why I wasn’t happy with doing one more race just so they could win it.”

SWINDON 26: Bjarne Pedersen 9+1, Steve Worrall 5, Simon Gustafsson 4+1, Peter Kildemand 4, Nick Morris 3, Nicolai Klindt 1, Darryl Ritchings 0.
COVENTRY 36: Cameron Woodward 8, Jason Garrity 8, James Sarjeant 5+3, Kenneth Hansen 5+2, Ryan Fisher 5+1, Kyle Howarth 3+2, Hans Andersen 2.

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