REPORT: Poole Pirates v Leicester Lions8/06/22
Poole promoter Dan Ford declared this meeting as the Pirates biggest test of the season, as league leaders Leicester rode into town boasting a five point lead at the top of the table. They left Wimborne Road having extended that advantage to eight points and also ended the Pirates impressive unbeaten home run that had dated back to 12th September 2019 when they began a twenty-three match run without defeat.
Leicester hit hard from the outset, Nick Morris having the race firmly under control well before Poole skipper Danny King packed up on the second lap, aboard a motor that had been backfiring loudly at the start. Dan Thompson and guest Ben Morley proved too quick for Drew Kemp in heat two before the decent sized-crowd were treated to some ruthless, no-love-lost riding between the Worrall brothers, Richie blocking Steve's line as they both attacked the back straight on the opening lap of heat three. Poole's wait for a winner was ended when Richard Lawson demonstrated great skills on the first turn of heat four to get by Howarth and Thompson (D) but it made no impact on the six point deficit.
Morris' second win with Connor Mountain holding out Ben Cook in heat five did however change the margin, Leicester moving into a 19-11 lead, although Zach Cook's determination to barge his way to the front in heat six and complete the four laps in a time matching his personal best, did set up a 4-2, with King scoring his first point of the night.
An early call for a tactical advantage came Poole's way, Steve Worrall relieving Drew Kemp of his outing. It was an astute move as he stormed away from the tapes. Behind him, Lawson cleverly made a change of lines to get by Richie Worrall and earn the Pirates a 5-1, dealing plenty of hope into the Poole fans hearts, with the deficit now reduced to two points (20-22).
Having missed a ride, Kemp was brought in to try and strengthen Poole's chances in heat eight, but it was the Lions that prevailed, Mountain holding off Zach Cook whilst Thompson (D) was out ahead enjoying his second winning ride of the night. Ben Cook did not have an all-too smooth entry to the first turn in heat nine and it cost him valuable yards but he was quick enough to pick off Morley to convert Steve Worrall's win into a Poole 4-2. Stewart Dickson invoked a switch of Thompson's in heat ten. That in itself had no effect on the outcome and a powerful charge down the backstraight saw King slip comfortably by Richie Worrall. Two turns later it looked as if Zach Cook might also promote himself but the move failed and Poole had to settle for the back-to-back 4-2 heat gain, and back to being just two points shy.
Heat eleven brought about another excellent piece of passing from Lawson as he shrugged off both rivals and inflict a first defeat of the night on Morris, but Kemp couldn't get into a point scoring position. Steve Worrall was firmly out-gated by his brother and reserve Thompson (D), the Lions picking up a crucial 5-1 from the twelfth heat, that left the Pirates staring defeat down the barrel.
Lawson produced hard fourth turn on Morris just for second place as Lions' skipper Howarth was out out front whilst King was chasing from the rear and too far off to make any impact. Thus, the Pirates slipped to eight points behind with just two heat to go, so unless anything hugely dramatic occurred, the draw was their best hope, needing a brace of 5-1's to even achieve that.
Heat 14 had a 4-2 outcome all over it when Thompson (J) fell at the back and couldn't get clear of the air fence. The stop lights came on as leader Ben Cook took the third lap marker flag and the expectation was an awarded heat, but the Pirates were offered up a lifeline when a re-run was ruled with three riders only. Could Kemp get away better in the re-start and partner Cook to the first of the two required maximums?
The answer was no. Dan Thompson remained steadfast in second place and Leicester were assured of the victory. The Pirates though knew they had to try and restrict them to just three league points, rather than the maximum four available to them and it fell on Lawson and Worrall to take on that task.
Just as he had done all meeting, Lawson was superb and got clear, whilst Worrall came close to catching Howarth, but it was academic in any case.
D.King R,1,3,0=4 (4)
Z.Cook 2,3,1,1=7 (4)
S.Worrall 2,2,3,3,1,1=12 (6)
B.Cook 1',0,1,3=5+1 (4)
R.Lawson 3,2',3,2,3=13+1 (5)
D.Kemp 1,TS,0,0,1=2 (4)
N.Ablitt 0,0,RS,0=0 (3)
N.Morris 3,3,2,1=9 (4)
C.Mountain 1,1,2',1'=5+2 (4)
R.Worrall 3,1,2,3,0=9 (5)
J.Thompson 0,0,RS,XD=0 (3)
K.Howarth 2,2,2,3,2=11 (5)
B.Morley 2',0,0,RS=2+1 (3)
D.Thompson 3,1',3,0,2',2=11+2 (6)
Ht 1: N.Morris, Z.Cook, C.Mountain, D.King [rtd] 2-4 2-4 [59.6]
Ht 2: D.Thompson, B.Morley, D.Kemp, N.Ablitt 1-5 3-9 [61.03]
Ht 3: R.Worrall, S.Worrall, B.Cook, J.Thompson 3-3 6-12 [60.28]
Ht 4: R.Lawson, K.Howarth, D.Thompson, N.Ablitt 3-3 9-15 [60.66]
Ht 5: N.Morris, S.Worrall, C.Mountain, B.Cook 2-4 11-19 [59.75]
Ht 6: Z.Cook, K.Howarth, D.King, B.Morley 4-2 15-21 [60.22]
Ht 7: S.Worrall, R.Lawson, R.Worrall, J.Thompson, D.Kemp [Tac Subbed] 5-1 20-22 [60.91]
Ht 8: D.Thompson, C.Mountain, Z.Cook, D.Kemp 1-5 21-27 [61.43]
Ht 9: S.Worrall, K.Howarth, B.Cook, B.Morley 4-2 25-29 [60.35]
Ht 10: D.King, R.Worrall, Z.Cook, D.Thompson 4-2 29-31 [60.25]
Ht 11: R.Lawson, N.Morris, C.Mountain, D.Kemp 3-3 32-34 [60.85]
Ht 12: R.Worrall, D.Thompson, S.Worrall, N.Ablitt 1-5 33-39 [61.44]
Ht 13: K.Howarth, R.Lawson, N.Morris, D.King 2-4 35-43 [60.97]
Ht 14: B.Cook, D.Thompson, D.Kemp, J.Thompson[exc] 4-2 39-45 [61.18]
Ht 15: R.Lawson, K.Howarth, S.Worrall, R.Worrall 4-2 43-47 [60.69]
REFEREE: Chris Gay
LEICESTER won toss and chose gates 1&3 | POOLE choose gates 1&3 in heat 15
League Points: POOLE 0 LEICESTER 3