THERE was nothing good about Good Friday for the Swindon Robins who, following a heavy lunchtime defeat at reigning champions Poole, let a 10-point lead slip in part two of the Elite League double header back at the Abbey Stadium.
Sky Sports Elite League
Poole Pirates 56 Swindon Robins 34
Swindon Robins 45, Poole Pirates 47
(Poole win the Elite Shield 103-79 on aggregate)
Swindon required their big guns Troy Batchelor and Peter Kildemand to grab a 5-1 in the finale to snatch a draw, but the Dane was picked off by Pirates’ second heat-leader Przemyslaw Pawlicki as the hosts had to settle for a 4-2.
That meant they were pipped 47-45 in the evening having been slammed 56-34 in the earlier clash.
So, after it was agreed that the home and away meetings would double up as the Elite Shield, six precious league points headed to the South coast as well as the first silverware of the season.
In the lunchtime fixture, the Robins were unable to take advantage of Pawlicki crashing out of the meeting in his second outing as fast gating won the match for the home side on a dry, dusty circuit.
The Robins trailed by only six points at the halfway stage, but their sole victory came from skipper Batchelor who found a stunning ride in Heat 10 to catch and pass former world champion Chris Holder.
It was a much improved performance back on home shale, with reserve guest Benji Compton (replacing Steve Worrall) starring in two of the three early 5-1s as the Robins powered 26-16 ahead.
But that was as good as it got for Alun Rossiter’s side as a successful tactical ride paved the way for Poole to turn the contest around.
Josh Grajczonek was successful in his double-points mission in Heat 8 after partner Pawlicki, who had been declared fit to ride after his morning crash, led the way for much of a race which ended in an 8-1.
A retirement for Compton provided another setback as the Pirates plundered a 5-1 in the second reserves’ battle of the night in Heat 9 to edge ahead and Nicolai Klindt then failed to finish as the visitors pulled further clear with a 4-2 in Heat 10.
Aussie aces Batchelor and Nick Morris claimed a 5-1 over Holder in Heat 11 to sneak Swindon back into a single-point lead, but three successive race advantages put Poole in pole position.
The Robins return to action when they entertain Eastbourne on Thursday (April 24).
POOLE: Maciej Janowski 12+1, Josh Grajczonek 11+1, Chris Holder 11, Charles Wright 9+1, Vaclav Milik 8+1, Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, Lee Smart 2.
SWINDON 34: Troy Batchelor 10+1, Peter Kildemand 7+1, Nicolai Klindt 5+1, Steve Worrall 5+1, Simon Gustafsson 5, Nick Morris 1+1, Dan Greenwood 1+1.
SWINDON: Troy Batchelor 12, Peter Kildemand 10, Benji Compton 7+1, Nick Morris 6+3, Nicolai Klindt 5, Dan Greenwood 3+1, Simon Gustafsson 2.
POOLE: Josh Grajczonek 13, Przemyslaw Pawlicki 9+1, Chris Holder 8, Maciej Janowski 5, Stefan Nielsen 5, Lee Smart 4, Vaclav Milik 3.