Wolverhampton Wolves lose their grip on a play-off position
Wolverhampton blew a winning position in a last gasp 46-44 defeat at Swindon, writes Joe Appleton.
Going into the last-heat decider they still held a two-point lead – only for Swindon to pick their pocket in heat 15.
How key the two dropped points prove to be remain to be seen in their play play-off bid, but it was hard to swallow for the visitors.
It was a tense start to the night at the Abbey with two reruns of the opening heat after Adam Ellis and Jacob Thorsell jumped the start in the first two stagings.
Thorsell got the away side off to a steady start with an impressive opening heat win against 2017 world champion Jason Doyle.
It was Wolves who struck first with a second-heat maximum courtesy of Ryan Douglas and Kyle Howarth.
Former Robin Nick Morris then cruised to victory in heat three with Rasmus Jensen splitting the Wolves duo after Morris and Schlein had gated on a 5-1.
A fourth race win and third heat advantage in a row followed with Sam Masters getting the better of the hard-charging Troy Batchelor.
Swindon then hit back with a 5-1 of their own in heat five to halve the deficit to just four points.
Masters then took the chequered flag for back-to-back race wins with Howarth finding his way past Ellis for another heat advantage.
American sensation Luke Becker then produced a fine inside cutback to pass Claus Vissing for a Wolves 4-2.
Alun Rossiter’s side then hit back again with Ellis holding off Morris to partner Doyle for a 5-1 maximum.
A fifth 4-2 advantage in heat 11 followed with Thorsell and Douglas getting the better of Batchelor and Perks respectively.
Tactical substitute Doyle and Tobiasz Musielak then picked up the home side’s third maximum of the night to set up a nervy finish with the sides separated by just two points.
Back-to-back shared heats meant that the Monmore men headed into the final heat with a narrow lead after Masters got the better of Batchelor in a closely-fought battle.
Musielak, who started his British career with the Wolves, produced the match-winning moment, passing Masters to seal the victory that takes them above Wolves and into the play-off places. Angry Parrys International Wolves boss Peter Adams declined media interviews after the meeting.
Swindon 46: Jason Doyle 15+1, Tobiasz Musielak 9+3, Rasmus Jensen 8, Troy Batchelor 7, Adam Ellis 4+1, Ellis Perks 2, Claus Vissing 1.
Wolves 44: Sam Masters 11, Ryan Douglas 9+1, Jacob Thorsell 8+1, Nick Morris 7+1, Kyle Howarth 5+2, Rory Schlein 3, Luke Becker 1.