COVENTRY 40 POOLE 50
Don't write the defending league champions off quite yet! That was the message that rung out loudly from the Pirates' 50-40 win at Coventry which elevated them back to top spot in the league table and determined to make a bid for choice of play-off opponents.
Sandwiched between two 5-1's for the home side a splendid stand-in captain-led performance from Maciej Janowski saw Poole secure victory after twice levelling proceedings in the space of the first six heats, before going on to win at a canter.
Whilst the meeting was marred by the early loss of Kyle Howarth, victim of a face first fall at the first turn of heat 1 which ruled him out of the rest of the match with a suspected broken cheekbone, the Pirates showed their intent with some excellent gating and solid first turns.
In the re-start of that heat the Bees fired in a 5-1 as reserve Jason Garritty came in to support Hans Andersen. And Garritty led home Newman in heat 2 leading to Poole fears that he could well become a thorn in their side.
An excellent beating of Chris Harris by Magic Janowski served to avoid Poole slipping any further behind, guest Richard Lawson pulling up on the last lap some distance behind Bees' guest Max Fricke, but the Pirates moved level when Grajczonek and Newman combined for a 5-1 over Hansen and the retiring Garritty in heat 4.
A brave ride from Dakota North prevented a likely looking Bees' 5-1, on paper at least, when he split Harris and Andersen in heat 5. Poole looked set early on in heat 6 to move ahead when Janowski made a superb start and was quickly joined by Grajczonek, but Hansen fought back and got by the Poole skipper as the scores squared up again (18-18).
A win from Dakota North evidenced that he was getting to grips with the Brandon circuit and it kept the meeting all even before Poole broke clear through a Grajczonek/Lawson maximum, the Poole guest keeping the power wound on as he went a wide route through the first turn to see off Fricke in the eighth.
Newman took the honours in the second Fast Track heat and Poole were set fair in heat 10 to double their lead as Janowski and Lawson had done all the hard work to hit the front. But Sarjeant took a fall at the back and whilst he scurried across to his stray machine he couldn't clear the track quick enough and a re-run, without him, was necessary. Andersen this time managed to be more competitive but with Lawson glued to him round the first curve he couldn't prevent Janowski hitting the front from the much tighter line.
Another 5-1 was developing in heat 11 but Harris managed to work a way by Lawson for second place, Janowski relishing the clear way ahead for a second win on the bounce, his third of the night.
Some league points were assured when Newman and Grajczonek triumphed in a thrice-started heat 12 to give Poole a 12 point lead before Janowski and Lawson both made decent gates in heat 13 - Harris quickly splitting - to ensure the Pirates would win this meeting.
Could it be all four points? Well a second place was all that was required from either of the last two heats and it looked to be elusive in heat 14 until the last lap when both North and Newman muscled their way by to split Sarjeant and Hansen off the final turn, the slow down lap turning somewhat feisty as Hansen was less than impressed by the manner in which the Pirates took their chance. So with all league points wrapped up the final heat was a formality and Coventry gained the consolation heat win but it was the table-topping Pirates who had the biggest smiles.
H. Andersen 3,1,2,0,2'=8+1
K. Howarth =0
M. Fricke 1',0,1,0=2+1
K. Hansen 1,2,0,0=3
C. Harris 2,3,2,2,3=12
J. Garritty 2',3,R,2,2,0=9+1
J. Sarjeant 0,1',1',FD,1,3=6+2
R. Replacement =0
J. Grajczonek 1,3,3,3,2',0=12+1
R. Lawson R,0,2',1,1,1=5+1
D. North 0,2,3,1,2=8
M. Janowski 3,1,3,3,3=13
B. Compton 1',0,0=1+1
K. Newman 2,2',3,3,1'=11+2
Ht 1 H. Andersen J. Garritty J. Grajczonek D. North 5-1 (5-1) (60.7)
Ht 2 J. Garritty K. Newman B. Compton J. Sarjeant 3-3 (8-4) (62.3)
Ht 3 M. Janowski C. Harris M. Fricke R. Lawson (Rtd) 3-3 (11-7) (59.9)
Ht 4 J. Grajczonek K. Newman K. Hansen J. Garritty (Rtd) 1-5 (12-12) (60.8)
Ht 5 C. Harris D. North H. Andersen R. Lawson 4-2 (16-14) (59.7q)
Ht 6 J. Grajczonek K. Hansen M. Janowski M. Fricke 2-4 (18-18) (61.1)
Ht 7 D. North J. Garritty J. Sarjeant B. Compton 3-3 (21-21) (61.3)
Ht 8 J. Grajczonek R. Lawson M. Fricke K. Hansen 1-5 (22-26) (60.5)
Ht 9 K. Newman J. Garritty J. Sarjeant B. Compton 3-3 (25-29) (62.1)
Ht 10 M. Janowski H. Andersen R. Lawson J. Sarjeant (Fell d/q) 2-4 (27-33) (61.3)
Ht 11 M. Janowski C. Harris D. North M. Fricke 2-4 (29-37) (61.1)
Ht 12 K. Newman J. Grajczonek J. Sarjeant J. Garritty 1-5 (30-42) ()
Ht 13 M. Janowski C. Harris R. Lawson H. Andersen 2-4 (32-46) ()
Ht 14 J. Sarjeant D. North K. Newman K. Hansen 3-3 (35-49) (63.1)
Ht 15 C. Harris H. Andersen R. Lawson J. Grajczonek 5-1 (40-50) (61.2)
Referee Peter Clarke
Gates: Poole won the toss and take 1&3 in heat 1. Coventry chose 2&4 in heat 15
COVENTRY 0 league points - POOLE 4 league points
up to and including 27th September