REACTION: PIRATES BREAK DOWN STUBBORN BIRMINGHAM
Poole turned in a second half performance at Birmingham that converted a two-point lead into a 20 point winning margin as they banked another...
Defending league champions Poole have asked the big question of rivals King's Lynn in the quest for top spot in the league table by collecting their second maximum points haul of the week to move a point clear of the Stars.
The Pirates completed their regular league programme with a last heat 8 point win at bottom club Leicester Lions on Wednesday to see them finish on 70 points. The Norfolk side who have been the league's pacesetters for most of the campaign still have one fixture to ride but need at least a draw from their trip to Belle Vue on Monday to deny Poole the right to choose play-off semi-final opponents.
It was a result that delighted the Poole camp with Matt Ford acknowledging "Well we asked the lads to go out there and pick up 8 points this week if they could and the response was impeccable. Leicester pushed us hard tonight but we kept believing and I am so proud of the lads, especially Magic (Maciej Janowski) for doing it in heat 15. Doyley is a hard rider to beat round here and Magic did it twice tonight. Since stepping in as the leading rider in the side over the last month or see he has been absolutely superb and I can't praise him highly enough. But once again it was an all-round team effort and underwrites the fact that we aren't prepared to give up our league title without a fight."
For much of the Pirates' battle against the Lions the result was always in the balance, Poole only staying in touch with the home side when the Lions' were penalised for eagerness at the tapes. Twice in the first four heats their riders were sent back 15 metres - reserve Max Clegg the first to do so, and he almost caught Compton in the closing stages of heat 2 from that handicap. And then Nicolai Klindt infringed in heat 4 allowing Grajczonek and man-of-the-match Kyle Newman a chance to put Poole ahead.
The advantage was short-lived as Jason Doyle and Simon Stead hit straight back over Poole's guests from Swindon, Dakota North and the falling Nick Morris. But a win from Poole's third guest rider, Davey Watt in heat 6, supported by skipper Magic Janowski's first point of the meeting (after engine failure had left him stranded before the first turn in heat 3) levelled the scored at 18 each. A fine win from North with Compton holding off Clegg in heat 7 edged Poole ahead again, but the respose was instant from the Lions with Klindt and Manzares combining for a 4-2.
The second draft riders' heat looked to all intense and purposes heading for an unexpected Poole 5-1 as Compton was holding off the interests of Josh Bates for second place until the very last turn when he locked up and both opponents surged past him so still no major breakthrough in the score, 27 each at this stage.
Poole went into the break two points up after Nick Morris had cleverly manufactured an opening for Janowski to exploit, Morris ensuring that he was the centre of Jason Doyle's attentions around the first and second turn, giving Janowski time to make his escape into the distance. North and Watt piled on the pressure with a heat 11 5-1 and Poole looked set to perhaps but the result beyond all doubt in heat 12. Grajczonek was leading and Newman was working had to try and get round Tungate. Had he done so then he would surely have had the momentum to reel in Bates but Tungate kept him pushed wide on the third lap and at the pit turn Newman went down and was disqualified. The referee ruled a re-run and Grajczonek was unable to restore his pole position, Tungate's victory clawing two points of the deficit back.
Janowski worked hard in heat 13 but could only split Doyle and Stead whilst Watt was wasted at the rear and with two heats to go Poole looked to be well short of completing a victory by the full 7 or more points needed for those much needed four league points. But Newman and North breathed hope and belief back into the Poole camp with an emphatic heat 14 maximum score leaving the Pirates requiring a heat advantage from the final showdown.
Memories of their last visit to Leicester came flooding back as on that occasion a late rally from Doyle held Poole to a draw when he pipped Janowski on the line. But the fast trapping Poole captain was in no mood to allow lightning to strike twice and he stormed clear of the Lions' number one whilst North backed up in third as Stead packed up mid-race and Poole had achieved their goal and now need to wait until Monday to learn their play-off fate.
J. Doyle 3,3,2,3,2=13
R. Tungate 2',2,0,3=7+1
G. Manzares 1,2,1,1=5
N. Klindt 0,0,3,0=3
S. Stead 3,2',0,1,R=6+1
J. Bates F,1,1',1,1=4+1
M. Clegg 1,0,2=3
D. Watt 0,3,2',0=5+1
J. Grajczonek 1,3,0,2=6
N. Morris 2,FD,2,1=5
D. North 1,3,3,2',1=10+1
M. Janowski R,1,3,2,3=9
B. Compton 2',1,0=3+1
K. Newman 3,2',3,FD,3=11+1
Ht 1 J. Doyle R. Tungate J. Grajczonek D. Watt 5-1 (5-1) (62.03)
Ht 2 K. Newman B. Compton M. Clegg J. Bates (Fell) 1-5 (6-6) (63.75)
Ht 3 S. Stead N. Morris G. Manzares M. Janowski (Rtd) 4-2 (10-8) (62.5)
Ht 4 J. Grajczonek K. Newman J. Bates N. Klindt 1-5 (11-13) (62.59)
Ht 5 J. Doyle S. Stead D. North N. Morris (Fell d/q) 5-1 (16-14) (awd)
Ht 6 D. Watt G. Manzares M. Janowski N. Klindt 2-4 (18-18) (61.81)
Ht 7 D. North R. Tungate B. Compton M. Clegg 2-4 (20-22) (62.59)
Ht 8 N. Klindt N. Morris G. Manzares J. Grajczonek 4-2 (24-24) (62.31)
Ht 9 K. Newman M. Clegg J. Bates B. Compton 3-3 (27-27) (64.25)
Ht 10 M. Janowski J. Doyle N. Morris R. Tungate 2-4 (29-31) (61.91)
Ht 11 D. North D. Watt G. Manzares S. Stead 1-5 (30-36) (61.94)
Ht 12 R. Tungate J. Grajczonek J. Bates K. Newman (Fell d/q) 4-2 (34-38) (63.47)
Ht 13 J. Doyle M. Janowski S. Stead D. Watt 4-2 (38-40) (62.57)
Ht 14 K. Newman D. North J. Bates N. Klindt 1-5 (39-45) (63.72)
Ht 15 M. Janowski J. Doyle D. North S. Stead (Rtd) 2-4 (41-49) (62.19)
Referee Chris Gay
Gates: Leicester won the toss and take 1&3 in heat 1. Poole chose 2&4 in heat 15
LEICESTER 0 league points - POOLE 4 league points
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