Reading hold a slender advantage after the first leg of their Craven Shield fixture with Swindon and Poole, with the Bulldogs winning the round at Swindon on Thursday evening with 37 points ahead of the Robins on 36 and the Pirates 35.

Reading will now take the one-point lead into the second leg at Poole on Wednesday 4th October.

Charlie Gjedde was top man for the Bulldogs with an excellent 11 points and was well supported by guest Chris Harris 10 (paid 11) and Travis McGowan 9.

For the home side Sebastian Ulamek went through the card with a 12 point maximum and Lee Richardson and Tomasz Chrzanowski both chipped in with 6 (paid 7) apiece.

Craig Boyce headed the Pirates score chart with 11 and Greg Walasek was next best with 7.

When proceedings got underway Poole and Swindon shared a 3-3 in heat 1 and then heat 2 saw Reading's Mark Lemon and Harris race to a 5-1 over Pirates Krzysztof Kasprzak and Matt Wethers.

Heat 3 was a 5-1 to Swindon with Renat Gafurov and Chrzanowski defeating Travis McGowan and Sam Simota, and then Ulamek won a shared heat 4 between the Robins and Pirates. This made a progressive score of Swindon 10, Poole 8, Reading 6.

Reading then picked up a good 4-2 from Gjedde and Kauko Nieminen in heat 5, which levelled things up as all three teams were tied on 10 points.

McGowan then beat Richardson in heat 6 and with Simota defeating Mads Korneliussen for third place, the ensuing Bulldogs 4-2 put them in front for the first time in the meeting. (Score: Swindon 12, Poole 10, Reading 14).

After the mini-break the home went back in front with Ulamek and Krzystof Stojanowski romping to a 5-1 over Kasprzak and Wethers in heat 7, but the Bulldogs recaptured the lead when Gjedde and Nieminen raced to a 4-2 over Pirates duo Jason Doyle and Walasek in heat 8.

Heat 9 saw Reading increased their advantage with Harris passing Chrzanowski to take the chequered flag and Lemon beat Gafurov for the third place point. The resulting 4-2 to the Bulldogs over the Robins pair made the scores: Swindon 19, Poole 13, Reading 22.

After the interval Poole hit back with a maximum from Walasek and Doyle over Swindon's Richardson and Korneliussen.

Heat 11 brought a scare for Reading as Simota fell in front of McGowan, where his team mate was unable to avoid him and hit the fallen rider. Thankfully both were able to get to their feet but Simota was excluded from the re-run. In the re-start Craig Boyce and Jonas Davidsson raced to a 4-2, with McGowan splitting the Pirates pair.

Heat 12 saw Swindon pulled a couple of points back on Reading when Ulamek and Stojanowski picked up a 4-2 over Gjedde and Nieminen. This left the scoreboard reading: Swindon 24, Poole 22, Reading 26.

The Pirates raced to a 4-2 over the Robins in heat 13, and heat 14 was shared with Harris beating Walasek and Doyle.

Gjedde then won a drawn heat 15 ahead of Swindon's Korneliussen and Richardson, which made the progressive score: Swindon 29, Poole 29, Reading 32 with just three races remaining.

Heat 16 was a 3-3 with Boyce defeating Chrzanowski and Gafurov, and then McGowan took the chequered flag in a shared heat 17 over Poole duo Kasprzak and Wethers.

In the final race of the night Ulamek inflicted the first defeat of the evening on Harris and with Stojanowski third for Swindon, the Robins 4-2 made the final score Swindon 36, Poole and Reading 37.

Next up for the Reading Bulldogs is the big one on Monday night at Smallmead Stadium, when the Swindon Robins visit for the Elite League Championship play-off semi-final (7.30pm).

 

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