Swindon Robins boss Alun Rossiter was unsurprised that Rye House Rockets gave his in-form side a run for their money on Thursday night.
Despite Rossiter’s side claiming a 48-42 success, the Robins boss remained unsatisfied with the performance and urged his riders to up their game in future meetings.
The Swindon team manager was also unhappy with the officiating on the night and called for more consistency from the referees.
Rye House flew out of the gate in the opening heat with Krzysztof Kasprzak and Michael Palm Toft quickly pulling clear of Nick Morris and Adam Ellis to raise a few Robins supporters eyebrows with a surprise 5-1.
Zach Wajtknecht led from bend one in heat two but after Ashley Morris squeezed past him on lap three, the young Somerset rider went too wide on the first bend of the final lap in his attempt to pick up more grip and collided with the air fence. That left Max Clegg to claim second place while 16-year-old schoolboy Anders Rowe did manage to grab his first ever point for the Robins but was way back in third.
Heat three began with a bang as Stuart Robson lost control of his bike coming out of the first bend and as he lay his bike down on the shale, Frenchman David Bellego piled into the back of him, with both riders eventually getting back up onto their feet after some medical attention.
The Robins secured their first win of the night in the re-run thanks to Troy Batchelor with former Grand Prix star Chris Harris a close second and Bellego recovering enough to finish third.
Tobiasz Musielak made it two wins in a row for the hosts, impressively powering around from the outside gate in heat four, with veteran Brit Scott Nicholls taking second, Clegg third and Rowe last. That left the score standing at 15-9 in favour of the Hertfordshire side.
Kasprzak left his opponents for dead from the start of heat five, Batchelor battled hard but couldn’t close the gap, whilst Bellego fended of Palm Toft all the way until the final bend when the Dane zoomed through to seal another 4-2 for the visitors.
Morris and Ellis, thanks to Nicholls crashing out on bend four of lap one, achieved the league leader’s first 5-1 of the meeting in heat six.
Rowe replaced Wajtknecht for heat seven but the Rockets continued to dominate the proceeding with Robson and Harris claiming another maximum, Musielak unable to pass Harris.
Robins boss Rossiter reintroduced Wajtknecht for Rowe in heat eight but Palm Toft dominated the race from start to finish to leave the visitors ahead by 28-20.
Rossiter threw the dice with skipper Morris coming in as a tactical substitute to partner Bachelor in heat nine, the gamble paying off as the duo bagged a much needed 5-1 to reduce the deficit.
The Swindon comeback continued in heat 10 with Morris producing a fantastic gate, ably supported by Ellis in second, fending off Harris to tie things up at 30-30.
Palm Toft grabbed the win in heat 11, overtaking Musielak on lap two with Kasprzak back in third to put the Rockets back in front by two points.
Heat 12e found Wajtknecht again replacing young debutant Rowe for his second race in a row. The heat ended a 3-3, Harris holding off a determined Batchelor whilst Wajtknecht kept Clegg at bay to claim third place.
With Musielak first past the chequered flag in heat 13, followed by Nicholls and Morris, the meeting was now back to a nail biting 39-39.
With the pressure on Bellego and Wajtknecht, the flying Frenchman produced the goods shooting ahead from the outside gate, with the Robins reserve Wajtknecht doing brilliantly to prevent Robson from passing, the hard earnt 5-1 meaning the Robins now couldn’t lose the meeting and would maintain their unbeaten home record at The Abbey.
Swindon completed a hard-fought comeback win with the final heat being awarded 4-2 in favour of the Robins after Palm Toft crashed out on lap three, Morris being given the win to conclude the final result 48-42 in favour of the Robins and maintain their lead at the top of the SGB Premiership.
Watch Nick Taylor’s post-meeting with Alun Rossiter below.