Battling away draw at King's Lynn for play-off chasing Swindon Robins
Sky Sports Elite League.
King's Lynn 45.
Swindon Robins 45.
A HUMDINGER of a match between two well-matched sides, writes Danny Hall.
Swindon were behind from the first heat until forcing a draw in the final race, but a share of spoils was the least they deserved.
Swindon coped with a strong King's Lynn side, potentially dangerous conditions - a low sun forced the riders to ride blind into one of the corners until the meeting was temporarily halted for more than half an hour, and a referee (Christina Turnbull) who favoured the home side on two of her big decisions on the night.
She excluded both Hans Andersen and Dawid Lampart in separate races after each had been involved in a race fall for former Robin 'Magic' Janowski.
The young Pole crashed spectacularly on three occasions, miraculously walking away almost unscathed each time. But he had taken one too many bruising falls and was not risked in the final-heat decider when Swindon were 43-41 down.
With brilliant reserve Mateusz Szczepaniak (paid 16 points) also unavailable having used up his seven rides, the hosts relied on recent World Cup winner Niels-Kristian Iversen and their captain Mads Korneliussen in the decider.
With Korneliussen out of form, Swindon sensed an opening and they took advantage. A fired-up Peter Kildemand emphatically beat Iversen and with Troy Batchelor locking the King's Lynn skipper in last place, the 4-2 was enough to give the Robins a battling two-point draw, which maintains their play-off push Given that Swindon No.1 Andersen and Lampart contributed only five points between them, it was a remarkable result for the visitors.
The other five riders all came to the party at different points, with rides that were both brave and exhilarating, and it was new signing Lasse Bjerre who top-scored with 11 points against a team he raced for last season.
Boss Alun Rossiter was fuming with referee Turnbull, saying: "There is no point me wasting my breath on the refereeing decisions, just to say I am very proud of my riders and the way they kept pushing hard in a very tough meeting."
KING'S LYNN: Mateusz Szczepaniak 14+2, Niels-Kristian Iversen 13, Maciej Janowski 8, Kevin Wolbert 4+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 4+1, Mads Korneliussen 2+1, Daniel Nermark 0.
SWINDON: Lasse Bjerre 11, Peter Kildemand 9+1, Troy Batchelor 9, Jason Doyle 6+2, Simon Stead 5+2, Hans Andersen 4, Dawid Lampart 1+1.