Thursday June 29, 2017
DEPLETED Swindon edged out high-flying Wolverhampton 46-45 in a tense Abbey Stadium contest on Thursday.

Former club captain Troy Batchelor secured the vital second place in Heat 15 of his guest appearance for the Carpets4Less Robins, who had seen a ten-point lead gradually whittled away with a controversial penultimate race going against them.

Robins, without their regular top two, made a flying start with two 5-1s in the opening four heats to put them into an eight-point lead, Adam Ellis setting the tone by moving Grand Prix star Fredrik Lindgren aside to join Batchelor at the front in Heat 1.

And Ellis wasn’t the only Swindon youngster to take a major scalp as Zach Wajktnecht got the better of Sam Masters in Heat 4 as Brady Kurtz raced clear for the home side.

Wolves hit back and narrowed the gap to two points – but Swindon responded in admirable style with back-to-back 5-1s as Bradley Wilson-Dean surged around the field to take Heat 8 whilst Wajktnecht saw off former British Champion Danny King.

Wilson-Dean doubled up in Heat 9 as he and David Bellego surged past Masters in the early stages to leave Wolves ten-down and deploying a tactical ride in the next race.

But the move was only partially successful as although Rory Schlein won Heat 10 with Batchelor marooned at the back, Ellis crucially held second ahead of the double-points Jacob Thorssell, limiting Wolves to a 5-2.

Ellis so nearly upstaged Lindgren again in Heat 11 only for the Swede to go through at the start of the last lap, but Bellego’s third win of the night put Swindon into the final three races with a five-point lead.

Batchelor then crucially saw off Lindgren and Masters in Heat 13 to maintain the advantage, but Heat 14 required four starts after a succession of incidents, the most costly for the Robins seeing Wilson-Dean disqualified as he was judged to have caused Nathan Greaves to fall on turn three in a highly disputed decision.

Near-disaster was averted in the re-run when Ellis passed Greaves, who subsequently fell again before remounting for a point, and that meant a Wolves 5-1 in Heat 15 would have seen them snatch victory.

Batchelor made the start but was out-done by Thorssell in changing track conditions after late-meeting rain – but Lindgren was unable to follow his colleague through as Robins held on by the narrowest margin.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “I’m shocked to be honest, I never saw that coming with the team that Wolverhampton put out, and all I can say is full credit to our six boys.

“Everyone did their bit, Troy did a brilliant job and also a word for Zach who has been fantastic. He’s getting more and more confidence every week, he’s getting more aggressive and I’m really pleased with him.

“The two 5-1s in the middle were really important, and I’d also like to think Troy has paid a bit back to the people who have knocked him in the past.

“I was disappointed with the decision in Heat 14 because I find her (Christina Turnbull) one of the best referees around, but Bradley never even touched Nathan Greaves, he just scared him.”

Robins now have a two-week break due to the Speedway World Cup, but return to the Abbey on July 13 with the visit of Premiership leaders Belle Vue.

SWINDON 46: Troy Batchelor 11, Adam Ellis 10+1, David Bellego 10, Zach Wajtknecht 5+3, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Brady Kurtz 5, Dany Gappmaier r/r
WOLVERHAMPTON 45: Jacob Thorssell 12+1, Freddie Lindgren 10, Rory Schlein 8, Paul Starke 5+2, Sam Masters 5+1, Danny King 4+1, Nathan Greaves 1
Premiership points: Swindon 3 Wolverhampton 1

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