Leicester v Poole - Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg16/10/21
A superb performance from the Pirates sealed their place in the Grand Final of the play-offs and they only once had to dip into their first leg advantage of six points.
Poole came out fighting from the very outset of this second leg, with both Steve Worrall and Danyon Hume on the money as far as gating. Hume was riding well but couldn't quite deny Morris the opportunity to move into second, but opening with a heat advantage was a dream start, against the backdrop of uncertainty as to whether the first leg six points was enough.
After failing to score on Wednesday night, Joe Thompson showed great resolve for the Lions to battle by both Ben Basso and Zach Cook in heat two to turn the second leg advantage around to Leicester's favour and nibble away at those six points. Rory Schlein, was superb in heat three to work his way by Ryan Douglas to share the spoils and then Danny King and Ben Basso hit the Lions hard with a 5-1, the Dane assisted by Chris Harris getting out of shape.
There was nothing other than sheer determination in heat five as Poole further extended their lead, Worrall and Hume getting that 5-1 that they had richly deserved in the opener, doubling the aggregate advantage as they led by six on the night.
King had to dig deep as he missed the trap in heat six but his move out of turn four was strong enough to split Morris and Thompson, but were Leicester mounting a recovery? Not if Schlein had any say in the matter and he made the smoothest of starts to lead throughout heat seven, although Ben Cook was having one of those nights and could make no impact. Hume and Basso looked a class above the Lions pair of Zaine Kennedy and Dan Thompson, delivering a 5-1 that increased the advantage to eight on the night and fourteen overall.
Although the ironic cheers of 'never in doubt' began to ring out from the first bend gathering of Poole fans there was still an air of apprehension amongst them, given the form book from this season of the Pirates surrendering advantages and when Ryan Douglas and Kyle Howarth fired in a 5-1 it didn’t calm those nerves. Even more so when Ben Basso was disqualified from heat ten after he and Kennedy had a coming together, and then Schlein and Morris playing cat and mouse out front throughout the re-run. Schlein prevailed and the aggregate advantage remained in double figures, 80-70 the Pirates led, and needed to protect that for five more heats.
Hume was keeping Harris on his toes in heat eleven, a race that came to a premature end when backmarker Joe Thompson fell on lap three. Referee Barbara Horley ruled she had seen enough and awarded the heat, although to declare that Hume would not have caught Harris was a bold statement. It did however mean another race gone without Leicester making any impact on the overall scores.
Eyes were everywhere in heat twelve as Schlein and Douglas contested the lead whilst further back Basso and Joe Thompson were enduring their own battle. Whilst Douglas managed to edge out Schlein, the latter's first defeat of the night, Basso came out on top for the minor places, showing that he was now reading the track well. Again, no impact on the score-line and Poole now tantalisingly close to that 43 point mark they needed for another Scottish trip to plan.
Heat thirteen, although on paper looking strong from a Poole perspective has only twice yielded a Pirates advantage away from home, so what a time for King and Worrall to make it count. Gating superbly they had the 5-1 in the bag and the tie put to bed with Morris and Harris reduced to virtual onlookers.
Job done, perhaps is a phrase not known in Danish, at least it didn't appear to be by Basso as he battled back furiously against Kyle Howarth after the Lions' skipper had passed him on lap three. Taking the flag, Basso had just ensured Poole were the winners of both legs and although Douglas secured a race victory in the Lions' last race of the season, Worrall and Hume were more than content with a share of the spoils.
LEICESTER 40 (82)
Nick Morris 2,3,2,1 =8
Dan Thompson 0,1,R =1
Ryan Douglas 2,1,3,3,3 =12
Kyle Howarth 1',0,2',2,R =5+2
Chris Harris 1,1',3,0 =5+1
Joe Thompson 2',2,XD,0,0 =4+1
Zaine Kennedy 3,0,1,1' =5+1
POOLE 50 (98)
Steven Worrall 3,3,1',3,2 =12+1
Danyon Hume 1,2',3,2,1' =9+2
Rory Schlein 3,3,3,2 =11
Ben Cook 0,0,1 =1
Danny King 3,2,1,2' =8+1
Zach Cook 1,0,0 =1
Benjamin Basso 0,2',2',XD,1',3 =8+3
Ht.1 S.Worrall,N.Morris,D.Hume,D.Thompson,2-4 2-4 (61.16)
Ht.2 Z.Kennedy,J.Thompson,Z.Cook,B.Basso,5-1 7-5 (62.66)
Ht.3 R.Schlein,R.Douglas,K.Howarth,B.Cook,3-3 10-8 (60.94)
Ht.4 D.King,B.Basso,C.Harris,Z.Kennedy,1-5 11-13 (60.91)
Ht.5 S.Worrall,D.Hume,R.Douglas,K.Howarth,1-5 12-18 (60.6)
Ht.6 N.Morris,D.King,D.Thompson,Z.Cook,4-2 16-20 (60.41)
Ht.7 R.Schlein,J.Thompson,C.Harris,B.Cook,3-3 19-23 (60.53)
Ht.8 D.Hume,B.Basso,Z.Kennedy,D.Thompson (rtd),1-5 20-28 (61.28)
Ht.9 R.Douglas,K.Howarth,D.King,Z.Cook,5-1 25-29 (61.34)
Ht.10 R.Schlein,N.Morris,Z.Kennedy,B.Basso (Disqualified),3-3 28-32 (61.033)
Ht.11 C.Harris,D.Hume,S.Worrall,J.Thompson (Disqualified),3-3 31-35 (awd)
Ht.12 R.Douglas,R.Schlein,B.Basso,J.Thompson,3-3 34-38 (60.72)
Ht.13 S.Worrall,D.King,N.Morris,C.Harris,1-5 35-43 (61.06)
Ht.14 B.Basso,K.Howarth,B.Cook,J.Thompson,2-4 37-47 (62.34)
Ht.15 R.Douglas,S.Worrall,D.Hume,K.Howarth (rtd),3-3 40-50 (61.87)
SCB Referee: Barbara Horley
POOLE win toss and take gates 1&3 LEICESTER take gates 1&3 in heat 15
Rider of the Night: Danyon Hume