RESULT: POOLE 48 WOLVERHAMPTON 42
Stand-in skipper Maciej Janowski produced a true captain's innings as the Pirates staged their own version of the "Great Escape" to claim a 48-42 win on the night against a gallant Wolverhampton side.
It took Poole 12 heats before they could edge ahead in this meeting on a night when the only home race winners were Janowski (4), reserve Kyle Newman (2) and the highly entertaining guest Lewis Bridger (2) whilst the visitors chose their cover riders most astutely with Chris Harris and Rory Schlein serving them well whilst Lasse Bjerre was supporting the scorers by making some jet-propelled starts to make things as difficult as possible for the Pirates who are still chasing that top spot in the league table.
Having evened up the scores after 5 heats with a 5-1 from Janowski and guest Bjarne Pedersen (covering for Darcy Ward) hopes of quickly seeing the Wolves off were soon thwarted when Harris and Schlein did all that was needed to keep the hard-fighting Bridger at bay. Such were Bridger's efforts that he ran out of track room on the final lap but thankfully the air barrier took all the impact, leaving the heat to be awarded as a 5-1 in favour of the Wolves to put the Pirates behind again.
A vital third place from Benji Compton in heat 9 allowed Poole to halve that deficit but an excellent pre-interval fourth bend move by Rory Schlein to overcome Pedersen at the end of heat 10 denied the Pirates the opportunity of levelling at the break.
Once racing resumed however Poole looked refreshed as Janowski tried desperately hard to try and nurse Milik home but Harris was making life difficult for them and eventually seized an opening to split the Poole pair. Then came the all important 5-1 from Newman and Grajczonek, marked by two tenacious rides to get by Bjerre and put the Pirates ahead for the first time at 37-35.
Harris ended Janowski's full-house in heat 13 and with Pedersen being shut out at the first turn the match was far from over as the scores squared up again. Bridger and Newman swung things in Poole's favour, veteran Peter Karlsson desperately unlucky to pirouette out of control on the third turn but most sportingly scurried clear of the track without the need for the race to be stopped.
That 5-1 gave the Pirates some breathing space as far as the win was concerned but if they could claim a similar score in the final heat then it would have been all three points banked.
Janowski - the only regular of the two sides called upon for the final heat - was fast away and secured the victory whilst behind him Bridger was working overtime in an enthralling three rider battle trying to force his way into second place. But Harris stood firm and it proved to be a narrow scrape home in third for Bridger as Schlein came back strongly as the chequered flag dropped.
B. Pedersen 0,2',2,0=4+1
J. Grajczonek 1,2,0,2'=5+1
V. Milik 0,1,2,1=4
L. Bridger 3,FD,1',3,1=8+1
M. Janowski 3,3,3,2,3=14
B. Compton 1',0,1=2+1
K. Newman 2,1',3,3,2'=11+2
C. Harris 2',3,2,3,2=12+1
L. Bjerre 3,2,3,1=9
J. Thorssell 2,R,R,1=3
P. Karlsson 1,3,0,F=4
R. Schlein 1',2',3,1,0=7+2
J. Jacobs 3,1',2,0,1=7+1
T. Perry FD,0,R=0
Ht 1 L. Bjerre C. Harris J. Grajczonek B. Pedersen 1-5 (1-5) (61.19)
Ht 2 J. Jacobs K. Newman B. Compton T. Perry (Fell d/q) 3-3 (4-8) (61.87)
Ht 3 M. Janowski J. Thorssell R. Schlein V. Milik 3-3 (7-11) (61.06)
Ht 4 L. Bridger L. Bjerre J. Jacobs B. Compton 3-3 (10-14) (61.19)
Ht 5 M. Janowski B. Pedersen P. Karlsson J. Thorssell (Rtd) 5-1 (15-15) (61.35)
Ht 6 C. Harris R. Schlein V. Milik L. Bridger (Fell d/q) 1-5 (16-20) (awd)
Ht 7 P. Karlsson J. Grajczonek K. Newman T. Perry 3-3 (19-23) (61.5)
Ht 8 L. Bjerre V. Milik L. Bridger J. Thorssell (Rtd) 3-3 (22-26) (61.35)
Ht 9 K. Newman J. Jacobs B. Compton T. Perry (Rtd) 4-2 (26-28) (61.75)
Ht 10 R. Schlein B. Pedersen J. Thorssell J. Grajczonek 2-4 (28-32) (61.04)
Ht 11 M. Janowski C. Harris V. Milik P. Karlsson 4-2 (32-34) (61.94)
Ht 12 K. Newman J. Grajczonek L. Bjerre J. Jacobs 5-1 (37-35) (61.81)
Ht 13 C. Harris M. Janowski R. Schlein B. Pedersen 2-4 (39-39) (60.75)
Ht 14 L. Bridger K. Newman J. Jacobs P. Karlsson (Fell) 5-1 (44-40) (61.28)
Ht 15 M. Janowski C. Harris L. Bridger R. Schlein 4-2 (48-42) (60.75)
Referee Mick Posselwhite
Gates: Wolverhampton win toss & deferred choice in heat 15 to 1&3. Poole take 1&3 in heat 1
up to and including 27th September