Swindon Robins beat Poole Pirates to Elite League title

Swindon Robins beat defending champions Poole Pirates 95-89 on aggregate to claim the Elite League title - their first league triumph in 45 years.

The Robins took a 51-44 lead in to Monday's decider at Wimborne Road and moved 10 up overall after two races.

Peter Kildemand and Nick Morris claimed a maximum score in heat 10 to extended Swindon's overall lead to 14 points.

The Pirates dropped just one point from the final three heats and won 45-44 on the night, but it was not enough.

Team boss Alun Rossiter told BBC Wiltshire: "It was amazing - I'm speechless. The ghost of 1967 has gone and 2012 is here.

"We've really worked hard this year and it's paid off. All the riders have been fantastic. They've put their life on the line and have been amazing."

Having finished bottom of the table last season, it has been an incredible turn around in fortunes for the Robins and many will credit Swindon-born Rossiter with their resurgence.

A former Poole rider, Rossiter spent spent six years as boss at Blunsdon before joining Coventry in 2009, where he won the title in 2010.

He returned to his hometown club in November 2011, taking over from Jan Staechmann, and they went on to win 22 of their 30 league meetings throughout the campaign.

"If anybody has got to take the credit for this it is Rosco," said co-owner and promoter Gary Patchett.

"It's been a team effort and we've had 10 great guys in the team who have all done their bit, but Rosco's enthusiasm is infectious.

"I was disappointed when he left the club in 2009 but he had good reasons for doing that, and it's great to have him back. He's a great guy to work with, he's a very close friend and we just bounce off each other."

It was Poole who finished top of the standings at the end of the regular season, two points above the Robins.

The Pirates cruised past Lakeside in the semi-final play-offs - securing a 108-73 victory - but the three-time winners failed to make it count in the title decider.

"It was a bridge too far in the end," team manager Neil Middleditch told BBC Radio Solent.

"We knew once we lost Darcy Ward it was going to be difficult but I think even with Darcy it would have been a very tough task.

"Swindon were fired up, wanted to keep that lead and kept it throughout. We just couldn't get our noses in front and the track played into their hands.

"This loss is easier to take than when Coventry beat a couple of years ago as they were over 28 point behind us, but Swindon have been nip and tuck with us this season and the two best teams were in the final and the best team came out on top."


POOLE 45: Krzysztof Kasprzak 16, Chris Holder 12+1, Chris Harris 8+1, Linus Eklof 5, Ricky Kling 3+2, Ludvig Lindgren 1, Piotr Pawlicki R/R.

SWINDON 44: Peter Kildemand 11, Hans Andersen 8, Simon Stead 8, Troy Batchelor 7, Sebastian Alden 5+2, Nick Morris 5+1, Dawid Lampart 0.