Thursday September 27, 2018
SWINDON crashed to a 34-56 home defeat to play-off qualifiers Belle Vue in the last Abbey Stadium action of the season.

The CFS Filtration Robins were out-gated throughout the evening and weren’t helped by a succession of tapes disqualifications as the Aces recorded a comfortable victory.

And with several of the visitors impressing greatly, the result will give them some encouragement that they could yet pull off the comeback of all comebacks in their semi-final at King’s Lynn on Monday.

Robins found themselves chasing right from the off as Max Fricke and Steve Worrall gated to an opening-race 5-1.

David Bellego was the first Swindon winner with a strong first-bend move to get the better of Worrall in Heat 3, to set up a 4-2 with Tobiasz Musielak – but skipper Nick Morris committed the first Robins tapes offence and was penalised 15 metres in Heat 4, allowing Josh Grajczonek and Dimitri Berge to secure another 5-1.

The same Aces combination recorded another maximum in Heat 6, getting the better of Troy Batchelor, leading to the Robins bringing in a tactical substitute in the next race.

But the visitors also had Fricke in Heat 7 as rider-replacement, and the impressive Australian ensured a share of the spoils despite the hosts pairing Musielak with Morris.

That was the first of a series of 3-3 results which kept the Aces in control, although it could have been worse for the Robins as both Bellego and Musielak fought their way past Berge in Heat 9 after the Pole had touched the tapes and gone off the handicap.

And a 4-2 in Heat 11 as Worrall came out on top in a competitive first turn with Morris and Fricke, which virtually ensured the visitors of an away win.

That was wrapped up in the next when Bellego became the third member of the Robins’ top five to transgress at the start, and the Aces took another 5-1 although not without a fine effort from youngster Tom Brennan who was pushing hard for the lead before Rohan Tungate came through, with Brennan unluckily falling on the last bend.

And if ever a race summed the night up it was Heat 14 where Musielak suffered engine failure at the end of the first lap when leading, and then Brennan slowed from second place on the last lap to hand the Aces yet another 5-1.

Fricke took the distinction as the last race-winner on the current Abbey circuit before the winter modifications, as the visitors secured an emphatic 22-point victory.

Swindon manager Alun Rossiter said: “It’s a bitterly disappointing way to finish. I know the boys don’t go out to do that deliberately, but it’s still frustrating.

“We were out-gated and out-muscled in the first corner, and we should have been able to do better. We also had clutch problems, brand new clutch plates falling apart, and it was one of those nights.

“Sometimes it goes like that. We were on such a high last year, and top of the league again with a month to go, and now we’re down and it’s very hard to take.

“But I’ll be going on holiday and then looking to come back stronger and build a team which can get us back to the play-offs next year.”

SWINDON 34: David Bellego 8, Tobiasz Musielak 7+1, Adam Ellis 6, Nick Morris 4+2, Troy Batchelor 4+1, Tom Brennan 3+1, James Sarjeant 2.
BELLE VUE 56: Max Fricke 14+1, Dimitri Berge 11+2, Steve Worrall 11+1, Josh Grajczonek 9, Rohan Tungate 8+1, Kyle Bickley 3+2, Craig Cook r/r.

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