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Elite League: Swindon Robins 50 Poole Pirates 43
The 50-43 reverse at Swindon, a carbon copy of the score at Lakeside six days before, seemingly ended Poole's quest for fourth spot 24 hours after the Hammers had scraped an Elite League point at Kings Lynn.
“That's basically it for us now,” said Middleditch. “It's getting further and further away and I think it is a bridge too far.
“Really, the danger team is going to be Peterborough now. With Lakeside losing Peter Karlsson to injury, you have to fancy them and whoever finishes top won't be picking them on that kind of form, that's for sure.”
Darcy Ward contributed 15 points from the top of the order while Josh Grajczonek built on his burgeoning reputation with 8+1 from seven races at reserve.
But inconsistent performances throughout the team came back to bite Pirates once more as the out-of-sorts Micky Dyer failed to score in consecutive away meetings while Tomas H Jonasson managed just four points from five races.
Ward made a stellar start by cruising to victory before Grajczonek made light work of the second heat to maintain parity after Dyer's wobble.
However, Swindon took a slender advantage from heat three as rider replacement Grajczonek brought up the rear with Greg Hancock second.
Maciej Janowski hit the ground running but Swindon grabbed their first 5-1 of the night when Ward and Jonasson started sluggishly in heat five.
Janowski set the pace throughout the next race as the gap was closed to four points, but when Dyer's nightmare evening continued in heat eight the meeting started to get away from the visitors.
Kildemand grabbed his third win and Swindon's second 5-1 before Andersen edged out Hancock to extend to 12 points Robins' advantage.
Pirates loosened Swindon's grip on the fixture when Ward, on a tactical ride, held off Batchelor before being allowed to pass leader Jonasson in a perfect performance which threw the meeting wide open.
Hancock's first chequered flag of the night dented Kildemand's perfect record, but just as Pirates were clawing their way back, an uncharacteristic tapes infringement from Janowski cost the Pole 15 metres.
He went on to finish the re-run last while Ward had to be at his best to pass Batchelor to prevent another 5-1.
Swindon had, in essence, won the meeting, but the possibility of Poole plundering a point was still on a knife edge going into the final two races.
Up stepped the man-of-the-moment Grajczonek with a timely victory as Pirates clung on to their morsel of hope.
But it was another frustrating finish as Ward's win was tempered by Hancock's inability to score and Poole's slender title hopes were essentially ended.
Swindon Robins 50:
1 Hans Andersen (2-2-3-3-2) 12
2 Edward Kennett (1*-0-3-1) 5+1
3 Peter Kildemand (3-3-3-2-1*) 12+1
4 Nick Morris (1-2*-2*-2) 7+2
5 Troy Batchelor (2-3-1-1) 7
6 Ashley Birks (1*-0-0-1*) 2+2
7 Kyle Howarth (2-1*-1-1*) 5+2
Poole Pirates 43:
1 Darcy Ward (3-1-6^-2-3) 15
2 Tomas H Jonasson (0-0-2-2*-0) 4+1
3 Greg Hancock (2-2-2-3-0) 9
4 Rider replacement for Rohan Tungate
5 Maciej Janowski (3-3-1-0) 7
6 Josh Grajczonek (3-0-1-1*-0-0-3) 8+1
7 Micky Dyer (0-0-0-0) 0
Ht 1: Ward, Andersen, Kennett, Jonasson, 66.15 (3-3)
Ht 2: Grajczonek, Howarth, Birks, Dyer, 67.77 (6-6)
Ht 3: Kildemand, Hancock, Morris, Grajczonek, 66.17 (10-8)
Ht 4: Janowski, Batchelor, Howarth, Dyer, 68.21 (13-11)
Ht 5: Kildemand, Morris, Ward, Jonasson, 65.80 (18-12)
Ht 6: Janowski, Andersen, Grajczonek, Kennett, 67.48 (20-16)
Ht 7: Batchelor, Hancock, Grajczonek, Birks, 66.70 (23-19)
Ht 8: Kennett, Jonasson, Howarth, Dyer, 67.15 (27-21)
Ht 9: Kildemand, Morris, Janowski, Grajczonek, 67.34 (32-22)
Ht 10: Andersen, Hancock, Kennett, Dyer, 67.24 (36-24)
Ht 11: Ward (tactical ride), Jonasson, Batchelor, Birks, 67.52 (37-32)
Ht 12: Hancock, Kildemand, Howarth, Grajczonek, 66.43 (40-35)
Ht 13: Andersen, Ward, Batchelor, Janowski, 67.20 (44-37)
Ht 14: Grajczonek, Morris, Birks, Jonasson, 67.58 (47-40)
Ht 15: Ward, Andersen, Kildemand, Hancock, (50-43)
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