BEES were unable to repeat their Monmore Green heroics in their second last-heat decider of the week - but the signs are still positive ones after they took Swindon to the wire at Blunsdon.
The match being decided in Heat 15 looked rather unlikely when they trailed by ten points after six races, but some mid-meeting damage limitation was followed by a spirited late fightback, even if things finally went against them in the last heat.
Skipper Chris Harris again showed real pace with his early-season problems now seemingly behind him, and the remainder of the top five were generally solid throughout - whilst at reserve, although Stan Burza struggled to get to grips with the circuit, Ben Barker impressed hugely and this time was fully rewarded for his efforts with a good points haul.
The meeting itself was not in the same league as many of the clubs' battles in 2007, with overtaking at an absolute premium and several strung-out races, but at least the narrowing scoreline maintained interest through to the end in front of what appeared an extremely healthy crowd.
Heat 1 provided the first moment of frustration for the Bees, as a clear tapes malfunction left Burza virtually stationary on the inside. The outside gates, however, were unaffected and Harris had raced clear of Leigh Adams with the red lights only coming on when the riders were halfway around the third and fourth bends. Under the circumstances, Bees would have taken a 3-3 from that race, but the re-run saw Adams make no mistake to race away from Harris with James Wright completing a Swindon 4-2 in third.
The Robins reserves gated in Heat 2 and Sebastian Alden went clear, but Theo Pijper was clearly struggling and he was overtaken off turn four by the Bees reserves on successive laps. However, Barker and Burza went into the last lap on almost diametrically opposite lines and contrived to meet in the middle of the track, resulting in Burza taking an unscheduled trip towards the fence and the Robins therefore being awarded a 4-2.
In Heat 3, Rory Schlein made a good start from the inside but Mads Korneliussen received a knock from the outside and went into the fence, referee Dave Robinson ruling all four back - and the Dane took advantage of his second chance to head Schlein home, with Travis McGowan taking third ahead of a spluttering Billy Janniro.
Bees needed to arrest the run of advantages against them, and they did so in Heat 4 with a good ride from Simon Stead, who was initially passed by Troy Batchelor but battled back to re-pass him on the inside for a 3-3.
Then Harris positively launched himself away and rode four perfect laps to win Heat 5, and his time of 64.30 was just 0.09s off Adams' track record, indicating the speed the Coventry captain now has in his machines.
Heat 6 was a mirror image of what has been seen at Blunsdon so often in the past, with Adams' less experienced partner - Wright, in this case - making a good start from the outside and immediately being shepherded around for a 5-1, and at that point it was looking like being a long night for the Bees.
However, things did begin to improve, firstly in a processional Heat 7 which saw Batchelor lead home Schlein, Janniro and Pijper with the riders almost equidistant around the circuit - and then Heat 8 saw virtually the same story, another shared race, this time with Schlein taking the win.
There was more of a race in Heat 9, and it was provided by young Barker who chased Korneliussen all the way home - one error from the Dane and he would have been under serious threat - whilst Stead snatched third place on the last lap with a better exit from turn two taking him inside McGowan.
Heat 10 saw Adams untroubled from the start but on this occasion Wright was unable to link up with his captain and was sandwiched in the early stages by Schlein around the outside and Janniro on the inside to protect the 3-3 situation - and Schlein's improved confidence was also on display as he gained serious ground on Adams during the race.
That brought the black and white helmet out for Heat 11 with Harris - but it was Batchelor who made the start and then proceeded to defend for all he was worth as Harris gave it everything to pass. Harris almost made it down the inside going into turn three on the last lap, but Batchelor had closed the door just in time, and he held on to limit Bees to a 5-3 from the race to cut the gap to eight points.
Heat 12 was shared with a routine win from Korneliussen, Barker riding well again in second place and he and Schlein easily getting the better of Alden, and then in Heat 13 Bees edged another two points nearer as Harris defeated Adams by an impressive distance and Stead won the first-lap battle with Batchelor.
Bees then brought themselves right back into contention with maximum points in Heat 14, Barker surging off gate three and Janniro joining him at the front for four straightforward laps over McGowan and Alden to bring them back to within two points with one heat to go.
It was still going to be a tough ask, and it became tougher still when Swindon won the toss to go off the preferred gates two and four - and it became even tougher than that when Harris, going for the big start, touched the tapes.
Under those circumstances, the only option was for him to go back off 15 metres (reserve replacements are not permitted in that case) and that gave Adams the initiative which he was never likely to turn down.
The Australian led the way with team-mate Batchelor second as Harris gave chase, passing team-mate Schlein on lap two before cutting inside Batchelor on the back straight next time around - this time gaining a better exit from turn two than he had managed during his earlier tactical ride.
It brought him alongside Batchelor, who then chose to make his defensive move off the racing line - which merely sent him straight into Harris, who was riding as far to the inside as was possible. The two riders touched, Batchelor fell heavily, fortunately without serious injury, and Bees received another rough call with Harris's exclusion and the race being awarded as a 5-1.
In fairness to the referee, the view from above the starting line would have in no way given him the angle of the incident available from the entry to the third bend, and at least it was not a match-changing decision with Adams already safely in first place to see Swindon home.
So Bees ended up six points short of a second away win in four nights, but there has been enough in the last week to suggest that they can have a say in matters this season, especially with away wins in general now on the increase after a home-dominated start to the year right across the Elite League.