Saturday June 21, 2014
SWINDON’S patched-up team came up trumps with a terrific all-round effort to secure a 47-45 away win at Leicester on Saturday.

Robins travelled to the East Midlands without star duo Peter Kildemand and Troy Batchelor due to the Grand Prix qualifiers, and a series of planned guest replacements were forced to withdraw due to injury.

Premier League regular Sam Masters took the booking for a meeting which few would have given Alun Rossiter’s side a chance of gaining a positive result from – but the six riders all played their part, building a healthy early advantage and then holding on as the home side finished strongly.

Simon Gustafsson and Dakota North gave the Robins the perfect start with a 5-1 in Heat 1, although there was a scare two races later when Nick Morris locked up on the last lap and was collected by Krzysztof Buczkowski, with both riders falling heavily but thankfully being able to walk away.

Swindon were far sharper from the starts early in the meeting, and back-to-back 5-1s in Heats 4 and 5 put them in complete control, North again involved in Heat 4 as he teamed up with Steve Worrall, and then Morris recovered from his spill to partner Gustafsson in Heat 5 and put the Robins ten points up.

Masters then superbly neutralised a tactical ride from Rory Schlein by winning Heat 6, and a 4-2 from reserves Worrall and Nathan Greaves in Heat 9 saw the lead extended to twelve points.

The home side then made the shock decision to nominate the point-less Kenneth Hansen for their second tactical ride in Heat 10, rather than Simon Stead who had previously scored four points. Stead duly won the race with Hansen at the back – and it was a decision which would come back to haunt the Lions.

Swindon led 37-25 going into the interval but with home debutant Buczkowski getting to grips with the circuit the Lions were much improved after the break and took 5-1s in Heats 11 and 13 to narrow the gap to four points, Morris coming to a halt after a second-bend clash in the latter race.

But Worrall was again the man to deliver under pressure as he held off a pressing Josh Bates in a competitive Heat 14 with Simon Gustafsson attempting every line imaginable and eventually taking third place to ensure the win on the night.

A Swindon advantage in Heat 15 would have made it four points rather than three, but in the event it was Buczkowski and Schlein who raced clear for the Lions to leave the final gap at two points – making the tactical ride events of Heat 10 so crucial, and this time in the Robins’ favour.

Boss Alun Rossiter said: “We wanted to come with our full side, we were really struggling with guests because there were 19 riders out of the Elite League tonight, and Leicester had the same problem in the end.

“But it was a last-minute stroke to bring in Sam Masters because I knew he’d done quite well around here, and I thought he could be my man. We got the boys fired up and full credit to them.

“I was a bit gutted we didn’t get the four points, but that’s being greedy because if you’d offered me three beforehand I would certainly have taken them. I’m happy to go away with three points on the board and it makes up for the loss at home last week.”

LEICESTER 45: Rory Schlein 14+2, Krzysztof Buczkowski 11, Simon Stead 10, Josh Bates 7, Kenneth Hansen 2+1, Ashley Birks 1, Max Clegg 0.
SWINDON 47: Steve Worrall 11+2, Dakota North 9+2, Simon Gustafsson 9, Sam Masters 8+1, Nick Morris 6+2, Nathan Greaves 4+1, Peter Kildemand r/r.

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