Thursday June 14, 2018
The “BP Mitchell” Rockets collected their second away match point of the season – and also their very first at Swindon in the top flight – in going down by an agonisingly close 48-42 score-line in Wiltshire on Thursday night.

That away point could actually have been much more, as the Rockets stunned the defending league champions with 5-1s in the first two races – with Krzysztof Kasprzak and guest Michael Palm Toft romping home against Nick Morris and Adam Ellis in the opening heat, and fellow cover man Ashley Morris and Max Clegg doing the same after the second placed Zach Wajtknecht had fallen on the final lap of Heat 2 – to lead 10-2.

Although the Wiltshire side hit back with a maximum of their own in Heat 6 – with Scott Nicholls hitting the deck on the fourth bend – Rye immediately retaliated with a third 5-1, this time from the returning Stuart Robson and Chris Harris, who kept Tobias Musielak at bay in the very next race, to lead 25-17.

The match took a major turn when Nicholls was seemingly forced to take evasive action – ending up on the centre green! – when shut down by the Tactically nominated Morris and Batchelor in Heat 9. The race continued, however, as the two Australians pulled four points back against remaining Rocket Clegg.

Morris re-appeared to partner Ellis to another 5-1 in the next race, as the Robins pulled level at 30-30.

The Rockets re-took the advantage with a 4-2 from Toft and Kasprzak over Musielak in Heat 11, only for the Robins to re-pay the favour with one of their own in Heat 13 – and then sting Rye with a 5-1 in the penultimate race.

Morris ended Hertfordshire hopes by gating alongside Musielak in the finale, and although Toft and Harris both worked their way past the Pole, the Dane’s tumble on the third lap led to an awarded 4-2, which at least gave the Rockets the consolation match points that their battling efforts deserved.

Team Manager Peter Schroeck was understandably upbeat afterwards. “No one gave us a chance of a point beforehand, but in the end I think its fair to say that we were unlucky today and Swindon were rather lucky. They know they’ve been in a really good match.

“As I said beforehand, it was so important that we made a good start in order to get ahead of the game, and we got it this time.

“KK (Krzysztof Kasprzak) looked like he could go through the card early on before he hit engine problems. Scott (Nicholls) was unlucky to fall in his first ride when he hit a rut and just took off, and we really expected the race to be stopped when he ended up on the centre green in Heat 9. He certainly felt he had nowhere to go except into Nick Morris or Troy Batchelor!

“Bomber had another better meeting tonight, and he changed his bike at the end. I was pleased for Robbo (Stuart Robson) as well. He was sore after an early fall, but he got back up and kept going. He fully deserved his race win.

“It was good to see Max (Clegg) amongst the points. A couple of them came his way, but he was battling hard as always, and sometimes you deserve your luck.

“MPT was outstanding tonight and fitted in with what we wanted to do. Our thanks, also, to Ashley Morris for his efforts as our other guest.

“But overall, it was a very encouraging performance, and one we can be proud of.”

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:
Chris Harris 10+1, Michael Palm Toft (guest) 9+1, Krzysztof Kasprzak 7, Max Clegg 4+2, Stuart Robson 4, Scott Nicholls 4, Ashley Morris 4 (guest)

Nick Morris 14, Tobiasz Musielak 10, Troy Batchelor 9+1, Adam Ellis 6+2, Zach Wajtknecht 4+3, David Bellego 4, Anders Rowe (guest) 1.

Match points: Swindon 3 Rye House 1

The Rockets are next in SGB Premiership action on Monday, when Aaron Summers and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen – who missed out on the Swindon trip due to SGB Championship commitments at Sheffield – will be back in the fold as the Rockets head up the A10 to tackle newly crowned British Champion Robert Lambert and King’s Lynn in the return fixture to Bank Holiday Monday’s televised victory over the Stars.

Says Schroeck ahead of the meeting: “Hopefully, our result at Swindon will set the tone for Monday. We still remember Bomber’s 5 ride maximum at Lynn last season, as well as our victory there at the end of the year. Yes, it’s a new season now, but all the boys know their way around that track, so it will be all about getting stuck in from the start and getting ahead of the game the way we did at Swindon. There is no reason why we can’t get the right result.

“We need to carry on from where we left off with a deserved point against the Robins, and if we can get a positive result in Norfolk, and then pick up three points at home against Belle Vue on Wednesday, everything will be working the way we want it to by pushing into the top four by the middle of next week. And we will still only be less than half way through the season, rather than chasing the Play-Offs the way we did last season.”

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:

Max Clegg, Chris Harris, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Scott Nicholls (captain), Stuart Robson, Aaron Summers