SWINDON seemed to have one foot in the SGB Premiership final when taking a 10-point lead over Poole with two races remaining of the play-off semi-final first leg at Wimborne Road on Monday.

But two 5-1s for the rallying Pirates in the final races left the tie wide open ahead of the return leg at Blunsdon on September 25, with the Robins nursing just a two-point lead (46-44).

In the early stages of the opening race it looked as if Poole would open with a maximum until captain Jason Doyle and Adam Ellis had other ideas and the heat was shared.

In the next, Pirate Paul Starke and James Shanes led the two Swindon reserves until Starke came to a halt on the last lap – again the points were shared.

The Robins took a two-point lead in heat three through a Tobiasz Musielak and David Bellego 4-2 but Poole replied with their own 4-2 immediately.

The breakthrough came in race seven with Bellego taking the flag and Musielak following him to make it 23-19 to the visitors.

Alun Rossiter’s side gradually increased their lead to 10 before the home team claimed two successive 4-2s to reduce the deficit to six.

The heat 13 maximum win for Doyle and Morris – the Swindon skipper's only victory of the night – again extended the lead to double figures and assured the visitors of victory on the night.

The Robins had suffered a blow early on the morning of the meeting with Bradley Wilson-Dean having to withdraw after he had pulled out of his last race for Championship side Peterborough the day before.

Swindon brought in long-time former Pirate Kyle Newman who had been controversially dropped earlier in the season. Newman’s inclusion was criticised by the home management with suggestions of conspiracy but it proved a key move with the rider's paid nine points a major part of an overall solid Swindon display.

Swindon return to the Abbey on Thursday (September 14) for the first leg of their Knockout Cup semi-final against fellow play-off side Belle Vue.

On Saturday at Belle Vue, Doyle and Morris will be competing in the Premiership Riders Championship.

SGB Premiership play-off semi-final, 1st leg.

POOLE: Brady Kurtz 10+1, Hans Andersen 10, Paul Starke 8, Edward Kennett 7+1, James Shanes 5, Jack Holder 3, Timo Lahti 1.

SWINDON: Tobiasz Musielak 10+1, Jason Doyle 10, Kyle Newman 8+1, Nick Morris 7+3, David Bellego 6, Adam Ellis 4+2, Mitchell Davey 1+1