Thursday May 17, 2018
SWINDON are back on top of the Premiership after a 51-39 win in their top-of-the-table clash with Wolverhampton at the Abbey.

The CFS Filtration Robins bounced back from their two away defeats this week with a controlled performance on their home track, in which the visitors were limited to just two 4-2 advantages throughout the meeting.

Troy Batchelor led the scoring with four wins out of five – his only blank coming when he hit mechanical trouble in Heat 5 – whilst skipper Nick Morris notched a welcome double-figure score, and reserve Zach Wajtknecht turned in a marvellous display to thwart the Wolves comeback efforts.

Three 4-2s in the first three races gave the Robins a perfect start, although Rory Schlein’s chase of Batchelor after clearing David Bellego in Heat 3 indicated that the Wolves captain would be a force to be reckoned with.

Indeed, the visitors pegged matters with four successive shared heats with Schlein pulling off a fine ride to reel in and pass Tobiasz Musielak on the last lap of Heat 7.

When Adam Ellis went through the tapes in Heat 8 it put the Robins under some pressure but Wajtknecht rode a mature race to see off former Swindon man Kyle Howarth for second place behind race winner Ashley Morris.

Robins re-built their lead with back-to-back 4-2s in Heats 9 and 10, the latter providing great entertainment as Morris held off a thrusting Schlein whilst Ellis snatched third place from Cameron Heeps on the last lap.

With the gap at eight points, Wolves brought in Schlein for a tactical substitute ride in Heat 12, but Wajtknecht brought the house down by flying from the start with Batchelor to inflict a 5-1 reverse on the visitors’ top man.

Although Jacob Thorssell headed Morris and Musielak in Heat 13, it wasn’t enough to prevent Swindon from clinching victory, and Wolves were left needing an unlikely 5-1 from Heat 15 to salvage a league point.

Batchelor ensured that wouldn’t be happening with another clear win, whilst Morris added the insurance of third place ahead of Thorssell.

Team boss Alun Rossiter said: “The key tonight was that we never fell behind. We were scoring 4-2s throughout, and then Zach beating Rory Schlein in Heat 12 finished them off.

“Troy had one race when something went wrong with his bike, but he jumped on his second bike and went through the card, so he could have had a 15-point maximum.

“I’m really pleased for Zach. He’s come back from a nasty injury and he’s doing really well. He’s getting more aggressive, and long may that continue.

“We had a bit of a blip earlier this week but I was always confident we would get back to winning ways at home.”
Robins take a break from league action next week as they contest their delayed KO Cup quarter-final with Rye House, with the first leg at the Abbey on Monday.

SWINDON 51: Troy Batchelor 12, Nick Morris 10+1, Zach Wajtknecht 9+3, Tobiasz Musielak 9, David Bellego 7, Adam Ellis 3+1, Jack Smith 1.
WOLVERHAMPTON 39: Rory Schlein 13, Jacob Thorssell 9+1, Sam Masters 7, Ashley Morris 5+1, Kyle Howarth 3, Nathan Greaves 2, Cameron Heeps 0.

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