REPORT: Scunthorpe 40 Poole 50 - Pirates On The Brink of Grand Final Qualification


Knowing that a defeat at the hands of the Scorpions may well have ended any realistic chances of making it through to the Grand Final the Pirates' nerves were tested to the hilt when during the second staging of heat one they lost the services of Anders Rowe, a self-confessed lover of the Eddie Wright Raceway.

The opening heat had already been called back once after Connor Mountain went down at the entrance to the first turn, seemingly unaided but benevolently allowed back into the re-run. Then heading down the back straight he appeared to make contact with Rowe causing the Poole rider to fall, hitting his head hard in the process and needing a trip to hospital for a full check over. Remarkably the referee disqualified Rowe as the cause, even though stand-in team manager, covering for Gary Havelock, had conclusive evidence that there had been contact, which was refused consideration. The race was started for a third time and after Richard Lawson was a little sluggish away, he managed to battle back strongly enough to split the home pairing, as Ryan Douglas continued his free-scoring routing against the Pirates. Kyle Newman appeared to be distracted at the start of heat two and conceded valuable early ground, but fellow reserve Joe Thompson was much sharper, holding off a strong challenge from Ablitt who then tailed off as Newman battled into a match levelling position. Jake Allen made a solid early pass on Ben Cook in heat three to partner Simon Lambert on a potential 5-1 but then Allen packed up and Poole escaped slipping behind. But there was nothing fortuitous about heat four as Thompson again, crucially made a great gate only to find Michael Palm-Toft getting away even quicker . Thompson had to again deal with Ablitt's interest whilst at the back Steve Worrall had plenty of work to do. The skipper took an age to eventually get by and into a point scoring position, critically the scores still level. They remained so after heat five, Thompson again looking threatening and on an early 5-1 over Lambert and Allen, but as Lawson stretched his lead so Thompson came under more intense challenges and he had to ultimately concede position to both the Scorpions. A third of the night's action gone and scores still level. Tension of the highest order.

Steve Worrall must have had a quiet word with himself ahead of his second ride as he was quickly well clear of the pack. Newman, who had missed out early on from making an inside drive showed no mercy later in the heat to drill his way by Mountain, thus breaking the deadlock  in Poole's favour. Palm-Toft picked up a heat seven warning for early movement and in the restart a pair of good Cook passes on Drew Kemp, with Ben also putting Palm-Toft under pressure enabled that slender advantage to be retained, just as it was after Mountain led home the Poole reserves duo with Ablitt again frozen out of the points. Heat nine saw Newman make a good move on Lambert but couldn't make it stick, unlike Worrall who went that much wider to gain the lead for another drawn heat. Ben and Zach both tested Douglas in heat ten with Zach doing the holding work and Ben trying the attacking line, the home number one having to settle for a mitigating split of his compatriots as the Pirates doubled their advantage.

Poole were presented with a great opportunity when Palm-Toft failed to heed the effect of his earlier warning and for a second starting offence was disqualified. Amusingly it was announced that he was eligible for a fifteen minute handicap although team manager Rob Godfrey chose to call upon Ablitt as a reserve replacement. With Lawson making the running and Thompson again benefitting from his strong gating skills Poole claimed the one and, to be, the only 5-1 of the night to put some daylight between the scores. As expected Douglas was brought into heat twelve as a tactical substitute and he and Lambert made the early running. Ben Cook went in pursuit of them and in the latter stages of the race made a move that took him by Lambert. Down went the home skipper, on came the red lights, then the decision to award the race with Lambert ruled the cause of the stoppage, thus Poole's eight point lead was retained. 

Pole position for heat thirteen was traded between Lawson and Douglas over the first lap but then the race settled down with the Pirates content to share the spoils leaving them just three points short of a match victory.

Those three points were instantly delivered in heat fourteen through Zach Cook's fine win and had Joe Thompson been adequately rewarded for his effort then it would have been an even better winning margin. Nevertheless Thompson scored a valued paid ten across his six outings. The match had been won but the Pirates' passion burned on with Worrall  sending Douglas to his third defeat of the night whilst Lawson backed up in third place to take Poole's tally to 50, leaving them on the brink of a place in the Grand Final for a third successive season.

Ryan Douglas 3,2,2,3,3,2=15 (6)
Connor Mountain 1,0,3,0=4 (4)
Simon Lambert 3,2,1',FD,0=6+1 (5)
Jake Allen R,1',2,2=5+1 (4)
Michael Palm-Toft 3,3,XE,0=6 (4)
Drew Kemp 2,R,1,1'=4+1 (4)
Nathan Ablitt 0,0,0,0,TS=0 (4)
Richard Lawson 2,3,3,2,1=11 (5)
Anders Rowe FD,NS,NS,NS=0 (1)
Ben Cook 2,2,1,2=7 (4)
Zach Cook 1',1',3,3=8+2 (4)
Steve Worrall 2,3,3,1',3=12+1 (5)
Kyle Newman 1,1,2,0,1'=5+1 (5)
Joe Thompson 3,1',0,1',2',0=7+3 (6)
Ht 1:  R.Douglas, R.Lawson, C.Mountain, A.Rowe [fell exc] 4-2 4-2 [58.24]
Ht 2:  J.Thompson, D.Kemp, K.Newman, N.Ablitt 2-4 6-6 [61.27]
Ht 3:  S.Lambert, B.Cook, Z.Cook, J.Allen [rtd] 3-3 9-9 [59.13]
Ht 4:  M.Palm-Toft, S.Worrall, J.Thompson, N.Ablitt 3-3 12-12 [58.54]
Ht 5:  R.Lawson, S.Lambert, J.Allen, J.Thompson, A.Rowe [NS] 3-3 15-15 [58.59]
Ht 6:  S.Worrall, R.Douglas, K.Newman, C.Mountain 2-4 17-19 [58.56]
Ht 7:  M.Palm-Toft, B.Cook, Z.Cook, D.Kemp [rtd] 3-3 20-22 [59.08]
Ht 8:  C.Mountain, K.Newman, J.Thompson, N.Ablitt, A.Rowe [NS] 3-3 23-25 [59.73]
Ht 9:  S.Worrall, J.Allen, S.Lambert, K.Newman 3-3 26-28 [59.32]
Ht 10:  Z.Cook, R.Douglas, B.Cook, C.Mountain 2-4 28-32 [59.2]
Ht 11:  R.Lawson, J.Thompson, D.Kemp, N.Ablitt, M.Palm-Toft [tapes exc], A.Rowe [NS] 1-5 29-37 [59.68]
Ht 12:  R.Douglas, B.Cook, K.Newman, S.Lambert [fell exc], N.Ablitt [Tac Subbed] 3-3 32-40 [awd]
Ht 13:  R.Douglas, R.Lawson, S.Worrall, M.Palm-Toft 3-3 35-43 [59.24]
Ht 14:  Z.Cook, J.Allen, D.Kemp, J.Thompson 3-3 38-46 [59.44]
Ht 15:  S.Worrall, R.Douglas, R.Lawson, S.Lambert 2-4 40-50 [59.67]

SCB Referee Mr Mick Bates 
SCUNTHORPE won toss and chose gates 2&4 | POOLE choose gates 2&4 in heat 15  
Play Off Group Points: SCUNTHORPE 0 POOLE 3

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