Coventry 45 Swindon 45
Coventry and Swindon raced to a 45-45 draw to leave the Play-Off semi-final finely balanced ahead of the return leg at the Abbey
Skipper Leigh Adams topped the scoring with a dozen points, while Matej Zagar notched 8+2 and Simon Stead tallied 8 in what was a solid team effort.
After sharing the opening heat, the Robins went ahead in the reserves? race and continued to build on their lead, as 4-2 advantages in heats four and five extended their advantage to 6 points.
A 5-1 from Stead and Travis McGowan took the score to 26-16 in heat seven, before the Bees reduced their deficit with a 4-2 in the next race.
And Coventry continued their comeback through another hard-earned 4-2 in heat ten, as Chris Harris remained unbeaten after brilliantly passing the faster-starting Swindon duo of Stead and McGowan. That left the score-line poised at 33-27 in the Robins' favour.
The Bees' mini-revival faltered in heat eleven, though, as Adams and Ryan Fisher carded a 4-2 in an awarded race after the last-placed Ricky Wells had taken a hefty fall on the first bend of lap four.
That necessitated treatment for the newly-crowned American Champion and he didn't appear thereafter for the homesters.
Coventry came back again in heat twelve, however, as Jordan Frampton and Ben Barker combined for a 5-1 over McGowan, while Robins' team-mate Cory Gathercole suffered a second successive engine failure.
That brought the Bees to within 4 points of Swindon and set-up a tense finale.
The home side continued to take the fight to Swindon in heat thirteen, as Rory Schlein and Harris claimed a 4-2, with Adams providing the sandwich filling after forging a route past the previously unbeaten 'Bomber' at the end of the initial lap. Meanwhile with Zagar at the rear, that reduced the Robins' lead to 40-38 as the tension cranked up another few notches.
Remarkably, Coventry could have gone ahead for the first time of the night in heat fourteen, as Edward Kennett and Frampton led for three laps. Stead had other ideas, though, and superbly swooped by Frampton to leave the scores locked together at 42 points apiece.
Swindon took the inside gates for the all-important nominated heat, but it was Schlein who produced a stunning outside blast to round the pack and join Harris out front.
However, both Adams and Zagar picked off Harris after the opening lap to leave a pulsating meeting tied.
Chris Harris (C) 3 3 3 1 R - - 10
Olly Allen 0 0 3 1 - - - 4
Ben Barker 2 0 2 2* - - - 6 (1)
Edward Kennett 1* 2 1* 3 - - 7 (2)
Rory Schlein 2 1 2 3 3 - - 11
Jordan Frampton 2 0 1 3 1 - - 7
Ricky Wells R 0 D - - - - 0
Team managers: Colin Pratt & Peter Oakes
Leigh Adams (C) 2 3 3 2 2 - - 12
Ryan Fisher 1* 1 2 1 - - - 5 (1)
Travis McGowan 0 2* 2 1 - - - 5 (1)
Simon Stead 3 3 0 2 - - - 8
Matej Zagar 3 1* 3 0 1* - - 8 (2)
Cory Gathercole 1 2 R R - - - 3
Morten Risager 3 1 0 0 - - - 4
Team manager: Alun Rossiter
Referee: Phil Griffin
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