BRUMMIES 52 SWINDON 44

Wednesday July 03, 2013
IF anyone still seriously doubted Birmingham’s potential as genuine Elite League title contenders, this performance must surely have answered the few remaining questions.

A home win over Perry Barr specialists Swindon was the one major item missing from the Brummies’ CV, the Robins having triumphed in every previous visit except in early 2011 when neither side were going to be close to a top-four challenge.

There was never any suggestion of an extension to that record on this occasion, though, and if anything the final eight-point margin flattered the Robins’ display as they gained the benefit of two winning tactical rides and a last-heat 5-1 when the result was already confirmed.

Whilst Hans Andersen and Troy Batchelor were excellent for the visitors, the usual threat of Peter Kildemand was neutralised and the other two members of their top five had off-nights.

The Brummies, meanwhile, looked a strong all-round force with Jason Doyle making a positive start to his month at No.1, Danny King having regained all of his speed and reserve Josh Auty unbeaten apart from a Heat 11 disqualification.

Swindon simply weren’t allowed to settle as home riders won four of the first five races, by which time the Brummies were 20-10 up with the Robins not helped by mechanical trouble for Batchelor in Heat 4.

The Australian returned to win a tactical ride in Heat 6 and a Robins comeback did look possible in the next race only for Chris Harris to split the Kildemand/Edward Kennett combination and prevent a 5-1.

Auty re-passed Nick Morris for a maximum advantage in Heat 8 and the Brummies did it again two races later with Smolinski and Kildemand trading paintwork before the German took the advantage on the second lap, the Dane perhaps guilty of not riding his own race.

Auty took Andersen down into turn three of Heat 11 to earn a disqualification, and the Swindon skipper took the re-run for double-points having walked away from a heavy impact.

But Auty was quickly back to deny Ashley Birks what would have been a fine win in Heat 12, and Doyle’s win over the Robins’ big guns moved Birmingham nearer their target.

Ben Barker supplied the finishing touch by holding off Kildemand’s wide outside attack in the penultimate race, and a Batchelor/Andersen 5-1 in the last came as little consolation to Swindon boss Alun Rossiter.

BIRMINGHAM 52
J.Doyle 1* 1* 3 3 0 - - 8+2
M.Smolinski 2 2 3 2* 1 - - 10+1
D.King 3 3 2 1- - - 9
B.Barker 1 1 1* 3 - - - 6+1
C.Harris 3 2 2 0 - - - 7
N.Covatti 1 0 1 - - - - 2
J.Auty 3 2* 2* X 3 - - 10+2
Team manager: Phil Morris

SWINDON 44
H.Andersen 3 2 6^ 2 2* - - 15+1
N.Morris R 0 1 1 - - - 2
E.Kennett 0 1 0 R - - - 1
P.Kildemand 2 3 1 2 - - - 8
T.Batchelor 1 6^ 3 1* 3 - - 14+1
A.Birks 2 0 0 2 - - - 4
C.Gathercole 0 F 0 0 - - - 0
Team manager: Alun Rossiter
Referee: Graham Flint

1 Andersen, Smolinski, Doyle, Morris (ret) 59.30 (3-3)
2 Auty, Birks, Covatti, Gathercole, 59.88 (7-5)
3 (re-run) King, Kildemand, Barker, Kennett, 58.37 (11-7)
4 Harris, Auty, Batchelor, Gathercole (f), 59.49 (16-8)
5 King, Andersen, Barker, Morris, 58.03 (20-10)
6 Batchelor^, Smolinski, Doyle, Birks, 58.11 (23-16)
7 Kildemand, Harris, Kennett, Covatti, 59.30 (25-20)
8 Smolinski, Auty, Morris, Gathercole, 59.33 (30-21)
9 Batchelor, King, Barker, Birks, 58.80 (33-24)
10 Doyle, Smolinski, Kildemand, Kennett, 59.46 (38-25)
11 Andersen^, Harris, Morris, Auty (exc), 59.33 (40-32)
12 Auty, Birks, King, Kennett (ret), 60.70 (44-34)
13 Doyle, Andersen, Batchelor, Harris, 60.03 (47-37)
14 Barker, Kildemand, Covatti, Gathercole, 59.89 (51-39)
15 Batchelor, Andersen, Smolinski, Doyle, 59.81 (52-44)

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