Monday July 30, 2018
SWINDON are back on top of the Premiership table after a hard-fought 50-40 win over Wolverhampton at the Abbey Stadium on Monday.

The CFS Filtration Robins had to dig deep to see off a strong Wolves challenge, and also importantly denied their opponents a league point.

And that could yet be crucial with just six points covering the top six teams, who are all in contention for the play-offs with previous leaders Somerset slipping up at in-form King’s Lynn.

It wasn’t plain sailing for the Robins, who faced a narrow deficit for much of the first half of the meeting – but once again at the Abbey, reserve Zach Wajtknecht proved a major trump card.

Wajtknecht, who missed the last two home matches due to concussion, was called upon to take extra rides as Tobiasz Musielak and Adam Ellis both fell foul of the referee when they broke the tapes.

But Wajtknecht replaced Jack Smith in Heat 8 and took victory in a match-levelling 4-2 after the powerful Kyle Howarth/Sam Masters combination had notched their second 5-1 to put the Wolves narrowly ahead.

Wajtknecht then teamed up with Ellis after Musielak had been disqualified from Heat 9 as they defeated Wolves skipper Rory Schlein for the Robins’ first 5-1 of the evening – and it proved to be a major turning point.

They doubled their advantage in Heat 12 and again Wajtknecht was involved as he secured the maximum with Ellis, this time after Wolves’ Kyle Howarth had touched the tapes and been penalised 15 metres.

That finally put Robins in control with an eight-point lead, and they secured victory on the night with a 4-2 in Heat 13 as Troy Batchelor defeated Jacob Thorssell, whilst skipper Nick Morris held third over Schlein.

Morris had earlier been involved in another frightening spill, this time on turn four in Heat 1 when he hooked up with his Wolves namesake Ashley and both riders fell heavily.

Fortunately both were able to continue and Morris gained a confidence-boosting win in Heat 10, but the effects of the crash means he is set to miss Wednesday’s trip to Somerset.

Morris’s early problems were at least negated by David Bellego, who won the re-run of Heat 1 over Thorssell, and then charged around Schlein on the first lap to take Heat 6 as well.

And there was also a worthy point for reserve Smith in Heat 2, as he defeated Cameron Heeps on merit and also chased hard in his remaining two rides.

It all left Wolves requiring an advantage from Heat 15 to salvage a league point, but Musielak nailed the start from gate two to defeat Thorssell, with Batchelor adding further insurance in third place.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “The talk before the meeting was to make sure we won, but also to stop Wolverhampton from leaving with any points.

“It’s very important because at the moment we’re struggling on the road and we’ve been making some silly mistakes, especially at King’s Lynn.

“But everybody is working hard and pulling together as a unit, and I must make a special mention for Zach because he is doing great.

“There’s also been a lot of hard work on the track since last week, it’s not perfect yet but we will endeavour over next few weeks to make sure it will be back to top tune.

“I do think we’ll be without Nick at Somerset, he’s going to take a few days off after his bump because he can barely walk at the moment, so we are looking at replacing him on Wednesday.”

SWINDON 50: Zach Wajtknecht 11+2, Troy Batchelor 11, Tobiasz Musielak 9, David Bellego 7, Adam Ellis 6, Nick Morris 5, Jack Smith 1.
WOLVERHAMPTON 40: Jacob Thorssell 13, Sam Masters 8+1, Kyle Howarth 6+2, Rory Schlein 5, Ashley Morris 4+2, Tom Bacon 4+1, Cameron Heeps 0.

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