Thursday September 14, 2017
SWINDON will take an 11-point lead to Belle Vue for the second leg of their KO Cup semi-final after a 50-39 win at the Abbey on Thursday.

The Carpets4Less Robins came out on top in a long-running meeting which saw the visitors reduced to five riders after an unfortunate incident in Heat 2.

Home man Bradley Wilson-Dean and the Aces’ Jack Smith both came to grief, and the visiting rider required a trip to hospital to attend to a serious-looking finger injury.

That caused a lengthy delay and numerous other re-starts led to a match with little momentum as the visitors – already without captain Craig Cook due to illness – battled to remain in touch.

The Robins had to contend with a fast-gating show from World Under-21 Champion Max Fricke, who piled up an impressive paid-17 and Danish star Kenneth Bjerre, with that pair keeping their side in the tie.

Swindon opened an early eight-point lead, helped by a Heat 1 5-1 from Jason Doyle and Adam Ellis over Bjerre – but Fricke and Rohan Tungate hit back by defeating Nick Morris in Heat 7.

Heat 9 proved long-running with the Aces’ Jye Etheridge and Swindon’s Tobiasz Musielak both being disqualified, completing a tough night for the Pole as he ran into the fence heavily on turn three.

David Bellego produced a neat switch-back to defeat Rohan Tungate in the re-run as the Robins collected a 3-2.
Fricke impressively got the better of Doyle in a tight third bend in Heat 10, although the Robins skipper surged around Bjerre in Heat 13 to extend the gap up to seven points.

Bellego and Wilson-Dean then out-gated Tungate in the next race for what could prove a vital 5-1, taking the margin into double-figures before Fricke prevented any further damage in the finale.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “Belle Vue had a lot of back luck, and the injury to Jack was quite gruesome with the bone sticking out of the finger, so it wasn’t good and we wish him well.

“Tobiasz had one of those nights, races were being stopped and then he got caught out by his own partner, but hopefully we can move on from it, and Bradley is a bit battered and bruised again but he should be okay.

“But fingers crossed, eleven points should be enough of a lead to defend up there, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be.

“I didn’t think the referee helped matters, I think when riders anticipated the starts but weren’t in scoring positions he should have let them go, so it was a stop-start meeting and I understand why supporters get fed up.”

Robins will defend their lead in the second leg in Manchester next Friday (September 22), before hosting Poole in their SGB Premiership play-off semi-final on September 25.

SWINDON 50: Jason Doyle 11+1, Nick Morris 10, David Bellego 9+1, Adam Ellis 7+3, Bradley Wilson-Dean 6+2, Liam Carr 5, Tobiasz Muslieak 2.
BELLE VUE 39: Max Fricke 16+1, Kenneth Bjerre 11, Rohan Tungate 7, Steve Worrall 3+1, Jye Etheridge 2, Jack Smith 0, Craig Cook r/r.

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