Swindon will take a seven-point lead into the second leg of the Elite League grand final after a 51-44 win over Poole
Last Updated: October 17, 2012 12:09pm
Poole Pirates staged a strong fightback to ensure that the Elite League grand final is still intriguingly poised after Monday's first leg at Swindon's Abbey Stadium.
The Pirates found themselves in deep trouble as they trailed by 18 points at one stage, but came roaring back in the second half of the meet to eventually lose 51-44 meaning that Swindon will take a seven-point lead into the rearranged second leg at Wimborne Road on Friday.
Things started badly for the visitors as Darcy Ward slipped in heat one to allow Robins captain Hans Andersen and Nick Morris to claim an easy 5-1 and reserves Sebastian Alden and Dawid Lampart then dominated the second to put Swindon into an early 10-2 lead.
There was more good news for Swindon in heat three as Simon Stead unexpectedly held off newly-crowned world champion Chris Holder to secure a 4-2 and it wasn't until the fourth race that a Poole rider crossed the line first with Krzysztof Kasprzak taking the chequered flag.
But Swindon were still very much in the ascendancy and when Troy Batchelor bounced back from a fall during his first ride to lead home a Robins 4-2 in heat seven, the home side had opened up a 10-point lead.
Just two heats later that advantage had been stretched to 18 as Morris and Alden and then Peter Kildemand and Stead both chipped in with resounding 5-1 wins to leave Poole shell-shocked and trailing 36-18.
But Holder turned the tide as he won heat ten on double points, before Ward did the same on a tactical ride in the next - Ricky Kling's third place earning the Pirates a 7-2 which saw the lead trimmed back to 10 points.
Ward then produced an outstanding ride in heat 13 to hold off Andersen and team up with Kasprzak for a 4-2 that further reduced the lead and the Australian capped off a fine night's work as he won the final race also.
Andersen and Kildemand managed to relegate Holder to fourth spot to ensure a share of the spoils leaving the contest delicately balanced ahead of the second leg.