Poole v Leicester Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg13/10/21
Poole clawed themselves back into this semi-final tie after recovering from a two-point deficit at the halfway stage, finishing with a six point lead to take into the second leg.
Frequently out-gated the Pirates had to dig deep to maintain their one hundred percent home record and they produced an enthralling meeting in the process.
They began by building an early lead of their own, assisted in the first heat by a retirement inflicted on Nick Morris whilst leading, as it allowed Steve Worrall an easier passage to the front to win his first ride as the Pirates', number one. New in at number two, Danyon Hume, had done a good holding job on Ryan Douglas, around the first turn that allowed Worrall the space to set about Morris. As the Lions' number one pulled up the Pirates found themselves in a 5-1 position but Douglas wasn't quite done and found his way by Hume to restrict Poole to a 4-2.
When Zach Cook and Ben Basso combined for a comfortable 5-1 in heat two, Poole fans could have been excused for thinking they were about to witness another big home win, but then matters went south. Lions captain Kyle Howarth turned the screw on Ben Cook to make the pass at the end of heat three's first lap, but to his credit Cook kept plugging away, albeit to no avail.
Whilst regular play-off performer Chris Harris stormed to a quick victory in heat four, all eyes were on the battle between Zaine Kennedy and Danny King, the Lion blocking every move that King mustered, and the visitors were back in the game with a 5-1. Morris got away and kept things going in heat five, he needed to as Schlein was always ready to pounce and any chance of saving the heat were spirited away when Ben Cook reared badly on the back straight of the final lap , in fairness he was out of touch at the time. The 2-4 score put the meeting level and when Harris put in another sub-sixty seconds time in heat seven he was setting up a third successive heat advantage for the Lions, incredible when in their previous two visits this term to Wimborne Road they had only managed a total of four in thirty heats!
Heat seven had King again on the prowl but Howarth was offering up no openings but Dan Thompson was struggling at the rear and so the heat was shared. It was a similar outcome in heat eight. Douglas getting away but the Poole boys – Zach Cook in for Hume – both managed to beat up Kennedy. Over half the meeting gone and the visitors led 25-23. Schlein superbly picked off Harris on the first lap and Ben Cook tried to follow suit as a super heat unfolded with Cook sniffing all round Bomber. He couldn't get by but at least the meeting was levelled up. Worrall found his gating gloves and inflicted Howarth's first defeat but the tension could be felt as Hume was holding third and Dan Thompson was closing in. Hume held on and Poole went back ahead by 2 points. That lead looked in jeopardy when King brought down Douglas as he tried to force his way through a non-existent gap coming out of bend four on the first lap of heat eleven. It left Zach Cook facing the might of Morris and Douglas in the re-start and he made a brilliant start from gate four and fought off all the attacks that came his way, thus protecting that slender advantage.
The lead was trebled as the Poole boys, Schlein and Basso, eventually nipped out of the gate together, so here we were, back with the same margin as had been accumulated over the first three heats, and just three heats left to try and build on it.
A massive opportunity was missed for the Pirates when Bomber failed to get off the start, Morris leading the charge and always at arms-length from any challenges that King tried to mount, so the six point advantage was maintained. Kyle Howarth got away in heat fourteen and it seemed Ben Cook's race was done when he locked up trying to pass Kennedy. Brother Zach though saw an opening and went into second, whilst Ben recovered well and made up all the ground he had lost and passed Kennedy to share the heat and ensure Poole would have a lead of some sort to defend. Worrall finished the night with a victory but Morris and Douglas stood firm against Schlein's assault which were so enthusiastic that he appeared to pull something as he quickly came to a halt in some discomfort and had to seek medical attention.
Steven Worrall 3,2,3,1',3 =12+1
Danyon Hume 1,0,1 =2
Rory Schlein 1',2,3,2',0 =8+2
Ben Cook 2,F,1,1' =4+1
Danny King 1,2,XD,2 =5
Zach Cook 3,1',1',3,2 =10+2
Benjamin Basso 2',0,2,3 =7+1
Nick Morris R,3,1',3,2 =9+1
Ryan Douglas 2,1,3,2 =8
Dan Thompson 0,0,0 =0
Kyle Howarth 3,3,2,3,1' =12+1
Chris Harris 3,3,2,R =8
Joe Thompson 0,0,0 =0
Zaine Kennedy 1,2',1,0,1,0 =5+1
Ht.1 S.Worrall,R.Douglas,D.Hume,N.Morris (rtd),4-2 4-2 (60.81)
Ht.2 Z.Cook,B.Basso,Z.Kennedy,J.Thompson,5-1 9-3 (60.19)
Ht.3 K.Howarth,B.Cook,R.Schlein,D.Thompson,3-3 12-6 (60.38)
Ht.4 C.Harris,Z.Kennedy,D.King,B.Basso,1-5 13-11 (59.88)
Ht.5 N.Morris,R.Schlein,R.Douglas,B.Cook (fell),2-4 15-15 (59.6)
Ht.6 C.Harris,S.Worrall,Z.Kennedy,D.Hume,2-4 17-19 (59.56)
Ht.7 K.Howarth,D.King,Z.Cook,D.Thompson,3-3 20-22 (60.25)
Ht.8 R.Douglas,B.Basso,Z.Cook,Z.Kennedy,3-3 23-25 (60.53)
Ht.9 R.Schlein,C.Harris,B.Cook,J.Thompson,4-2 27-27 (60.09)
Ht.10 S.Worrall,K.Howarth,D.Hume,D.Thompson,4-2 31-29 (60.43)
Ht.11 Z.Cook,R.Douglas,N.Morris,D.King (Disqualified),3-3 34-32 (61.04)
Ht.12 B.Basso,R.Schlein,Z.Kennedy,J.Thompson,5-1 39-33 (61.37)
Ht.13 N.Morris,D.King,S.Worrall,C.Harris (rtd),3-3 42-36 (60.53)
Ht.14 K.Howarth,Z.Cook,B.Cook,Z.Kennedy,3-3 45-39 (60.78)
Ht.15 S.Worrall,N.Morris,K.Howarth,R.Schlein,3-3 48-42 (60.88)
SCB Referee Simon Humphreys-Kennett
LEICESTER win toss and take gates 1&3. Poole took 1&3 in heat 15
Rider of the Night: Zach Cook