The Meridian Lifts Reading Bulldogs season didn't get off to the best of starts as they slipped to a 55-37 Challenge match defeat against Swindon Robins on Thursday evening at the Abbey Stadium.

The Robins, who are the pre-season favourites with the bookies, were sharper out of the start most of the evening and with their home track advantage, the home side ran out comfortable winners in what was both club's first fixture of the season.

Leigh Adams was in good form for Swindon once again with 13 (paid 14) and he had good backing from Seba Ulamek 12 (paid 14) and a back to form Lee Richardson 10 (paid 11).

For the Bulldogs, skipper Greg Hancock was top man with 12 points, followed by Matej Zagar 7 (paid 9) and Janusz Kolodziej 7.

The meeting got off to an even start with the first three heats shared at 3-3, but the Robins got their noses in front with a 5-1 from Richardson and Mads Korneliussen in heat 4.

Hancock won a shared heat 5, but Swindon increased their lead with Tomasz Chrzanowski and Adams taking maximum points off Travis McGowan and Mark Lemon in heat 6.

Richardson and Andrew Moore then raced to a 4-2 over Zagar and Kolodziej in heat 7 which gave the Robins a 26-16 lead.

Sam Simota had a terrific ride to give Reading share of the points in heat 8, but five more from Ulamek and Charlie Gjedde in heat 9 increased Swindon's advantage to 34-20.

Heat 10 was a 3-3 and although Hancock went out for double points in heat 11, the American ran a second place behind Richardson and the heat was shared 4-4 as Simota fell whilst leading Andrew Moore for third place.

Ulamek and Korneliussen raced to a 4-2 in heat 12, but Hancock did manage to spoil the maximum hopes of both Adams and Richardson by winning a shared heat 13.

Kolodziej and Danny Bird picked up the Bulldogs only heat advantage of the night with a 4-2 in heat 14, but a last heat maximum from Ulamek and Adams over Zagar and Hancock saw the Robins finish the night on a high and a 55-37 victory.

Reading will have been disappointed to have lost to their local rivals, but they will have taken something from the meeting as the Challenge fixture will have enabled them to blow some of the winter cobwebs away before the serious stuff of Elite League action starts next week.



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