Key man Kildemand inspires brilliant Robins win over Poole
Sky Sports Elite League Grand Final 2nd leg.
Poole Pirates 45 Swindon Robins 44.
The Robins won 95-89 on aggregate.
AN INSPIRED Swindon Robins side dethroned the Poole Pirates to end 45 years of hurt by winning the Elite League speedway title at Wimborne Road on Monday night It was only the second national league title for the club in its 60 years – the only previous championship coming the season after England’s football side won the World Cup in 1966.
They out-thought, outbattled and outraced the Pirates on a night when the treacherous wet conditions demanded bravery tempered with common sense.
The record books may show that Poole edged the second leg of this title decider 45-44 but that does Swindon a disservice.
They were by far the best team on the night and had wrapped up the title with three races to go.
With the celebrations well under way, they rather went through the motions in the three ‘dead’ races – and allowed Poole to retain a modicum of pride.
The transformation in Swindon from the side which propped up the division last year has been extraordinary. And the man who deserves the greatest credit is not a rider but team boss Alun Rossiter, a true son of Swindon.
Rosco previously took his home town club to two Grand Finals without lifting the ultimate prize and had to leave Swindon (for Coventry Bees) before collecting his first championship as a boss in 2010.
Lured back to Swindon at the start of 2012, he could not have found the team at a lower ebb.
But he patiently put together a new team which, though it may have lacked some star quality, had in spades what their main rivals lacked – strength in depth.
It seems invidious to single out one rider after such a magnificent season-long team effort, but Rosco’s masterstroke was surely the signing of Peter Kildemand.
The Dane was a consistent match winner from the reserve berth at the start of the season and kept up his free-scoring record when promoted to the body of the team.
And with Swindon nursing what looked a vulnerable seven-point lead from the home first leg, it was again Kildemand who delivered a scintillating set of rides as he and his Swindon colleagues left the recently-crowned world champion Chris Holder playing second fiddle around his home circuit.
Swindon were already 28-25 ahead when Kildemand and the up-and-coming Nick Morris gave a masterclass in team riding to keep Poole guest Chris Harris at bay and provide Swindon with their only 5-1 advantage of the night in Heat 10. It was also Kildemand’s third win in as many rides as Swindon’s momentum continued to build.
The visitors then grasped the trophy with one hand when the Robins’ inspirational captain Hans Anderson, in his first season with the club, proved far too good for Krzysztof Kasprzak in Heat 11. With a rejuvenated Simon Stead doing all that was necessary to claim a point in third, Poole were left needing 5-1s in the last four races to turn things around.
When Kildemand and Seb Alden rode the Robins to a sensible 3-3 in Heat 12 behind Holder, it was all over A tearful Rosco said: “We have buried the ghost. I was proud of the ’67 boys, but I am proud of these boys now.
“Swindon – we’ve finally done it!
“Winning with my home town team, for my home supporters, I am just overwhelmed.”
Captain Andersen added: “This is the second time I’ve won the league title but this is awesome – we wanted it so bad.”
Meanwhile, Gary Patchett, Swindon’s co-owner and promoter, reflected on how it had all come right for Swindon this year after their previous near-misses.
“Three finals in six years – we hit the post, we hit the bar, now we’ve hit the back of the net,” he said.
“There have been ten great guys in the team this season and everyone has put in a shift. But if anyone deserves the credit it is Rosco. His enthusiasm is infectious.”
Poole were understandably weakened by the loss of one of their key riders, Darcy Ward, who was savagely mugged over the weekend, but the generous Poole team admitted they would have been second best even with the help of their young Aussie star.
Holder said: Swindon were on fire the whole season and they deserved it.”
While an equally gracious Poole boss Neil Middleditch said: “The best team won. They have been the consistent team throughout the season and were a very good team tonight.”
An emotional Rossiter received a text from Australia during the celebrations from former Swindon legend Leigh Adams, who for all his brilliance could never quite help the side to a championship victory.
Adams is still recovering Down Under from the horrific off-road bike crash that has left him in a wheelchair.
A tearful Rosco said: “This is dedicated to Leigh and also to Malcolm Holloway (one of the winning team in 1967) who passed away this year.” POOLE PIRATES: Chris Harris (2-3-1-2') 8+1, Ricky Kling (0-1'-1-1'-0) 3+2, Chris Holder (2-2-3-3-2') 12+1, rr, Krzysztof Kasprzak (3-2-2-3-3-3) 16, Ludvig Lindgren (F-0-R-0-1) 1, Linus Eklof (2-0-2-1-0) 5.
SWINDON ROBINS: Hans Andersen (1-3-3-X-1) 8, Simon Stead (3-1-3-1) 8, Peter Kildemand (3-3-3-2-0) 11, Nick Morris(0-1-2'-2) 5+1, Troy Batchelor (2-2-2-1) 7, Dawid Lampart (F-FX-0) 0, Seb Alden (3-1'-0-1'-0) 5+2.