Monday October 05, 2009
WITH Monmore Green Stadium packed to the rafters and a palpable nervousness on the terraces, it was Wolverhampton who emerged ahead from the first leg of the Play-Off Grand Final.

Despite Swindon’s dogged resistance, which restricted Wolves to an 8-point advantage in the early stages, the home riders turned up the heat to hit a brace of 5-1s in the latter third of the encounter and run out 54-38 victors.

Fredrik Lindgren 3 3 2* 3 3 - - 14 (1)
Nicolai Klindt 1 1 0 3 - - - 5
Adam Skornicki 3 3 1* 3 - - - 10 (1)
Tai Woffinden F 2* 2 3 - - - 7 (1)
Peter Karlsson (C) 2 3 3 2* 0 - - 10 (1)
Chris Kerr 3 0 0 - - - - 3
Ty Proctor 1 D 1 2* 1 - - 5 (1)
Team manager: Peter Adams

Leigh Adams (C) 2 1 2 1 2 - - 8
Ryan Fisher 0 0 3 1* - - - 4 (1)
Travis McGowan 1* 1* 0 0 - - - 2 (2)
Simon Stead 2 2 1 4 - - - 9
Matej Zagar 3 2 3 0 1* - - 9 (1)
Paul Hurry 0 0 0 - - - - 0
Morten Risager 2 1 2* 1 0 - - 6 (1)
Team manager: Alun Rossiter
Referee: Peter Clarke

Ht 1: Lindgren, Adams, Klindt, Fisher, 55.06 (4-2)
Ht 2: Kerr, Risager, Proctor, Hurry, 56.49 (8-4)
Ht 3: Skornicki, Stead, McGowan, Woffinden (fell), 56.36 (11-7)
Ht 4: (Re-Run) Zagar, Karlsson, Risager, Proctor (f, disq), 55.47 (13-11)
Ht 5: Skornicki, Woffinden, Adams, Fisher, 55.59 (18-12)
Ht 6: Lindgren, Zagar, Klindt, Hurry, 55.49 (22-14)
Ht 7: Karlsson, Stead, McGowan, Kerr, 56.10 (25-17)
Ht 8: Fisher, Risager, Proctor, Klindt, 56.49 (26-22)
Ht 9: Zagar, Woffinden, Skornicki, Hurry, 55.80 (29-25)
Ht 10: Klindt, Lindgren, Stead, McGowan, 56.08 (34-26)
Ht 11: Karlsson, Adams, Fisher, Kerr, 56.11 (37-29)
Ht 12: Skornicki, Proctor, Risager, McGowan, 56.80 (42-30)
Ht 13: Lindgren, Karlsson, Adams, Zagar (TR), 56.00 (47-31)
Ht 14: Woffinden, Stead (TR), Proctor, Risager, 56.68 (51-35)
Ht 15: (Nominated) Lindgren (r), Adams (y), Zagar (g), Karlsson (b), 56.09 (54-38)

Programme changes:
Ht 12: Risager replaced Hurry; Ht 13: TR Zagar; Ht 14: Proctor replaced Kerr; TR Stead (Double points).

It was the home side who jumped into the ascendancy through 4-2 advantages in each of the first two heats. Wolves’ No. 1 Fredrik Lindgren rode very well to repel Leigh Adams in the opening race, whilst Chris Kerr produced a superb effort to win the reserves’ heat after passing Morten Risager on lap two. Nicolai Klindt, in the opener, and Ty Proctor, in heat two, scooped the vital odd-point on each occasion, as the homesters moved 4 points clear.

Wolverhampton looked odds-on to extend their lead in heat three, as Adam Skornicki and Tai Woffinden sailed away, but the British No. 3 lost control and spun on the last lap, before hitting the deck and allowing Swindon to register a points-share.

Drama in heat four saw Proctor tumble down to earn an exclusion from the meeting official. In the re-start, Matej Zagar and Risager pulled clear from the tapes, but the latter was overhauled spectacularly by the returning Peter Karlsson at the end of the first lap. However, with no further positional changes, the 4-2 brought the Robins back to within 2 points as the tension ratcheted-up another notch.

A telling body-blow in heat five saw Skornicki and Woffinden combine beautifully and team-ride to a 5-1 over Adams, giving Wolves a 6-point cushion. Then, with Lindgren surging to a heat six success from Zagar – and Klindt in third spot – the home side moved 8 points clear.

Following an even split of the points in heat seven, Ryan Fisher – having previously run two last paces – linked with Risagar for a brilliant ‘fiver’, after both had passed the faster-starting Proctor on the back straight of the initial lap. That brought Swindon back to within 4 points of the home team.

An explosive getaway from Zagar took the Robins’ No. 5 clear of the key Wolves duo of Woffinden and Skornicki in heat nine, and the Slovenian ace pulled away thereafter to win with aplomb as the Wiltshire side registered a second race victory on the spin.

Wolverhampton hit back in heat ten, though, as Klindt and Lindgren joined forces for a 5-1, thereby restoring their side’s 8-point lead. McGowan had surged from the gate to head the pack, but was picked off by the home pairing inside the first lap and eventually came home last.

Robins’ boss Alun Rossiter called a team meeting during the interval and, upon the resumption of racing, Karlsson got the better of Adams in heat eleven, whilst the ever-tenacious Fisher won his private scrap with Kerr.

With Skornicki making a jet-propelled start and Proctor superbly rounding the pack, Wolverhampton scorched to a 5-1 in heat twelve and extended their advantage to a dozen points.

And the Monmore men further enhanced their position in heat thirteen, despite Swindon giving Zagar a tactical ride. Lindgren fairly shot from the gate, whilst the vastly experienced Karlsson cleverly blocked Zagar’s forward thrust. The maximum that followed gave the flying Wolves a 16-point advantage.

Stead took a tactical ride in the penultimate race but, although he gated in front, Woffinden forged a route to the front at the end of the first lap. Still, with ‘Steady’ retaining second place throughout, a 4-4 ensued as his efforts prevented Wolverhampton from extending their lead.

Lindgren completed a sublime paid maximum in the nominated heat, whilst Adams and Zagar team rode ahead of Karlsson to leave the gap at 16 points ahead of the return leg at the Abbey.

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