A MUCH-IMPROVED performance at home saw the Buildbase Bees take a comfortable second leg win in the Elite Shield - but they had left themselves with too much to do to take the trophy.
Swindon therefore became the third club to win this particular piece of silverware, and even allowing for their changes in personnel over the winter they will feel some small consolation for the way in which the 2007 season finished.
Clearly the Robins did the hard work in the first leg at Blunsdon to run up a 22-point lead, a result which the Bees could have had no arguments about, and it was always likely to be an advantage that they would be able to defend.
With skipper Leigh Adams in his usual blistering form, the Robins were able to put an immediate end to Coventry's mid-meeting momentum by giving him a tactical ride, and that meant it was all virtually over with four heats to go.
Bees will still take something from the meeting because there were useful signs from a number of riders, although Andreas Messing endured a nightmare evening with two engine blow-ups.
Adams took the first race ahead of Rory Schlein with Olly Allen failing to get off the start-line with mechanical failure, and Messing's engine failure in Heat 2 allowed Theo Pijper a gift point, Sebastian Alden coming inside a fast-starting Stanislaw Burza at the start of the third lap to take the win.
Swindon had therefore extended their aggregate lead to a massive 26 points, an advantage the Bees began to chip into with a 4-2 in Heat 3, Billy Janniro switching inside Troy Batchelor on the second bend and Chris Harris doing likewise to Mads Korneliussen, although he was unable to catch the Australian.
Then Burza flew out of the start and was away in Heat 4 with Simon Stead using the inside to good effect to move past Travis McGowan on the fourth bend for the first 5-1 of the evening.
Adams made a sensational start from gate 4 to win a shared Heat 5 before McGowan was on the receiving end again, this time from Allen and Schlein who extended the lead on the night to six points.
Swindon came back with a 4-2 in Heat 7 thanks to a superb second corner from Korneliussen who found excellent drive, Stead re-passing Batchelor for second after the Robins riders had gone either side of him, and Bees responded with their own 4-2 in Heat 8 as Allen won convincingly ahead of a frantic battle for second place between Alden and Burza, which just went in favour of the Swindon man.
Harris and Janniro got the better of McGowan in the early stages of Heat 9 and the Robins rider eventually ran out of track and clipped the fence on turn two of the second lap, the referee waiting until lap three had been started so that he could award the race as a Coventry 5-1 - and the lead moved up to 12 in Heat 10 with Batchelor hitting trouble and Schlein fending off a lively challenge from Korneliussen.
Adams was the man for the double-pointer in Heat 11, although he was given a good race by Stead who almost managed to make it around the outside on the back straight, and with Messing a non-finisher, the Swindon 7-2 left Bees needing an improbable four 5-1s to win the Shield.
Harris, whose gating improved as the night went on, made a good start to take Heat 12 with Burza again putting in plenty of effort for third, before Heat 13 was re-started after Adams and Stead had touched on the first bend with the Bees man going down.
The re-run, though, saw Stead in impressive form with a decisive start and a confident first two bends to move clear of his opponent, who was initially headed by Schlein before slicing through on the inside going into the second lap.
Heat 14 produced a little drama as Burza and Alden appeared to collide going into the bend and then both fall further around - Burza mid-corner and Alden into the second-bend fence.
Both were re-mounting when the red lights came on but Burza was the man excluded by the referee, and it was double frustration for Janniro who had led at the time of the stoppage but was beaten by Alden in the re-run.
With some of the big guns rested for Heat 15, Janniro took the opportunity for his second win of the night with Batchelor showing good pace in second place, holding off the challenge of Schlein in the first half of the race.
The dreams of a 'quadruple' are therefore over, and the important factor again will be what Bees have learnt from their unpleasant experience at Blunsdon - because at home, the signs are highly encouraging.
BUILDBASE BEES 52 Rory Schlein 2 2* 3 1 1 = 9+1 Olly Allen R 3 3 1 = 7 Chris Harris 1 2 3 3 = 9 Billy Janniro 3 1* 2* 2 3 = 11+2 Simon Stead 2* 2 2 3 = 9+1 Andreas Messing R 0 R = 0 Stanislaw Burza 2 3 1 1 X = 7