BEES struggled to get anything together in the first leg of the Elite Shield and will therefore have a significant comeback to make in Monday's second leg at Brandon.
They went down to a 22-point defeat at Blunsdon, and it would be hard to argue that that was anything other than a fair result on a night when the Robins were significantly, and consistently, faster out of the starts.
With slick track conditions after the inclement Easter weather, the home side had frequently done enough to take 5-1 heat advantages by the time their riders had exited the second corner, all of which made for a painful night's viewing for the Coventry supporters.
The bright spot, once again, was Billy Janniro, whose terrific start to the season continues as he piled up 14 points on a track which he only began to get the hang of during last season's Finals, whilst captain Chris Harris could not hit his usual Blunsdon score but did at least pull off some overtaking moves along the way.
The rest of the scorechart, however, did not make pleasant reading in contrast to the Swindon display which included at least two paid wins for each of their riders, and an almost totally untroubled maximum for captain Leigh Adams.
Adams it was who took control of the first race as the Bees riders engaged in battle with James Wright, and with Olly Allen establishing himself in second place, Rory Schlein took advantage of a slip by Wright on the last bend to switch for the inside and salvage third place.
The Buildbase Bees, however, were quickly on the back foot with Seb Alden and Theo Pijper gating to a comfortable 5-1 in Heat 2, although the visitors did halve the early gap with a 4-2 in Heat 3 as Harris made it around Troy Batchelor at the end of the first lap and just failed to catch Mads Korneliussen for second place behind the flying Janniro.
Swindon then scored their own 4-2 in Heat 4 thanks to Travis McGowan holding off the four-lap attentions of Simon Stead, and the meeting then began to get away from the Bees with two consecutive home 5-1s - first from Korneliussen and Batchelor in Heat 5, then Wright and Adams in Heat 6 - Adams immediately letting his young partner around the outside to lead the way, at which point Stead's chances of coming through were substantially reduced.
Bees did manage a response in Heat 7 thanks to their strongest pairing, Janniro blasting around the boards on turn two to make it up the back straight ahead, and Harris following him through next time around as he came past McGowan.
But the respite was brief, and for once the move to introduce Harris as a 15-metre tactical substitute did not work in Heat 8, partly because the Robins made a good job of shuffling Allen out of the equation on the first couple of laps with Wright riding a particularly strong race. In the end, Harris had two laps to find a way through, but with Wright occupying the only realistic racing line and Alden up the road and gone, another 5-1 to Swindon was the outcome.
The lead was further extended in cruel circumstances in Heat 9 because Stead had done all the hard work for a race win ahead of Batchelor and Korneliussen - but coming off the final bend, his bike suffered fuel pickup problems and the Robins pair shot through to send their side into a 35-19 lead.
Adams became the first man to beat Janniro in Heat 10, although the Bees man gave good chase, and Harris rounded Wright for third place on the opening lap - but the visitors' night was summed up in Heat 11 when McGowan and Pijper somehow emerged from a crowded turn two in first and second places, and Allen and Schlein were unable to respond.
Harris broke the run of Swindon race winners by taking the flag in Heat 12 thanks to a good early move around Batchelor, but there was a sense of inevitability about the Robins' 5-1 in Heat 13, especially from the moment McGowan took up the running ahead of Adams, and the home side went into the last two heats with a 24-point lead.
Bees managed to trim that margin in an eventful Heat 14 with Janniro taking the tactical ride - but eventually sent back to the handicap usually reserved for a tactical substitute after being penalised for tape touching. That didn't deter him, however, and Bees were helped on this occasion by a much better start from Stan Burza, who managed to split the Robins enabling Janniro to give chase and pass Pijper. Burza then displayed good awareness on the last lap to knock off the throttle and allow his team-mate through for a doubled-up second place.
There was never too much doubt that Adams would complete his maximum in Heat 15, and he did so ahead of Janniro, but the main action was for third place with Korneliussen firmly shutting the door on Harris at the end of the first lap. The Bees skipper, however, battled back and mugged Korneliussen on the line by unexpectedly switching to the inside - a line which few had found to be of any great benefit during the evening.
And whilst Bees can take some consolation from knowing they defeated Wolverhampton by 26 points at home on Good Friday, they know exactly where they need to improve if they are to have any chance of regaining the Elite Shield when the Robins return to Brandon on Monday - the first 30 metres of the race!