REACTION: KING'S PASS PUTS UNBEATEN PIRATES ON BRINK OF QUALIFYING

3/08/22

A last gasp pass on Troy Batchelor by Poole skipper Danny King in heat fifteen of a tense encounter at Sandy Lane, Oxford on Tuesday night saved the Pirates unbeaten tag in the SGB Championship Jubilee League and left them on the threshold of qualifying for the final.
 

A 45-45 draw earned the Pirates two more points to add to their eleven previously attained through maximum wins at Plymouth and Birmingham and a home victory against the Brummies. Their total leaves them three points clear of Oxford who complete their fixtures at Wimborne Road on Wednesday in the return and the Cheethas would need to beat the Pirates by seven points or more and then still hope that the Pirates fail to yield any points against Plymouth next week, if they are to deny the Pirates progression in the competition

Twice the Cheetahs came from behind to level the scores, both times scoring maximums and reserve Dillon Ruml being involved in both. The Cheetahs then established a lead of their own when former Pirates Paul Starke and Scott Nicholls led home Ben Cook and Danny King in heat ten. The Pirates responsded positively with another fine win of Steve Worrall, his third of the night and arguably his most impressive as he superbly blocked off every move Troy Batchelor presented him with, whilst Drew Kemp slotted into third place to reduce the deficit to two. Newly installed reserve Zach Cook enjoyed his second victory of the night, coaxed home by skipper King to turn the tables back in Poole's favour with two point lead and two heats remaining.

Cook's brother Ben then proved resilient under pressure to win heat fourteen, leaving Poole needing to avoid a heat defeat to ensure mathematically that they would win the Southern Group. But Aaron Summers had a different agenda and made all the running, as Poole's top two, Worrall (unbeaten from his programmed rides) and King put Batchelor under all kinds of pressure, the Australian having to double his guard duties not knowing from where the assault would come. King progressively went wider each lap and Batchelor was caught slightly in two minds as to whether he needed to block any inside opening that Worrall might exploit. Off the fourth turn for the final time the Poole skipper had all the speed needed and he snatched over the line to split the two Cheetahs and earn Poole the draw.

Poole promoter Dan Ford said, "we couldn't quite guarantee our place alongside Glasgow but it will be a huge disappointment if we don't make it now, whilst it would have been nice to have left there with it all sewn up at least we now have the chance of securing our place in the final in front of our own fans."

Scorers:
OXFORD 45 - Aaron Summers 12 (2,2,3,2,3) ,Dillon Ruml 8+3 (1',2',0,3,1,1') ,Troy Batchelor 8+2 (3,1',2,1',1) ,Scott Nicholls 8+1 (2,2,2',2) ,Paul Starke 5+1 (0,0,2',3) ,Cameron Heeps 4 (2,2,0,0,NS) ,Jack Thomas 0 (0,RS,0,NS) ,
POOLE 45 - Steve Worrall 12 (3,3,3,3,0) ,Danny King 10+1 (3,3,0,2',2) ,Zach Cook 10 (3,1,1,2,3) ,Richard Lawson 5+1 (1,3,1',0) ,Ben Cook 5 (1,0,1,3) ,Drew Kemp 3 (1,1,0,1) ,Nathan Ablitt 0 (0,0,RS,0)
Heat Details and report 

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