Thursday May 23, 2013
MARTIN Smolinski was yet again the hero as Birmingham pulled off a vital away victory at reigning Elite League Champions Swindon.

The Brummies were in danger of throwing away a ten-point lead after controlling the majority of the meeting – but the German star held off the Robins’ big guns in a re-started final race to secure a narrow win for his team.

It was a good night to be visiting Blunsdon with the home side shorn of their star Danish duo Hans Andersen and Peter Kildemand, but Swindon had still called up credible replacements.

It was all Birmingham early-on with Smolinski and Nico Covatti putting them ahead with a 5-1 in Heat 2, and crucially every time Smolinski was on-track, his side took race advantages.

There were important contributions from Jason Doyle in particular, and when the pair combined over Rory Schlein in Heat 9, the Brummies were ten points up.

Vitally Swindon did not deploy Davey Watt for double points in Heat 10, a race he won, and instead went with Troy Batchelor in the next – and he was beaten by that man Smolinski.

That appeared to win the match for the Brummies, but matters changed as Swindon’s own reserve Kacper Gomolski stepped up to the plate to share in 5-1s in Heats 12 and 14, making it all the more important that Doyle and Chris Harris shut-out Batchelor in Heat 13.

Doyle came to grief at the start of the deciding race when the Robins looked well-placed, but with the pressure entirely on his shoulders Smolinski shot clear from the gate and kept a fired-up Batchelor behind him throughout the four laps to start the Brummies’ celebrations.

SWINDON 45: Troy Batchelor 12, Davey Watt 10+1, Rory Schlein 8+1, Kacper Gomolski 8+1, Edward Kennett 6, Ashley Birks 1, Nick Morris r/r.

BIRMINGHAM 47: Martin Smolinski 18+1, Jason Doyle 7+1, Chris Harris 7, Danny King 6+1, Josh Auty 5+1, Ben Barker 2+1, Nico Covatti 2+1.

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