REPORT: Plymouth Gladiators v Poole Pirates


The 'Wessex Marine' Pirate lost their unbeaten tag folllowing a controversial heat 15 disqualification for skipper Steve Worrall which denied the Pirates a chance of turning over a two point defict, after having at one time trailed by 16

Gladiators' manager Garry May claimed that the Pirates gave his side a gating lesson at Wimborne Road when the two sides met the previous week, but this corresponding fixture saw the pupils become tutors early doors the Pirates could barely buy a start.

Big hitters Ben Barker, taking a rider replacement outing with Richie Worrall away in Italy, paired up in heat one with Kyle Howarth to blitz Steve Worrall and Zach Cook, the latter also taking a rider replacement ride owing to Anders Rowe being sidelined with a shoulder injury. New Zealander Jake Turner stormed out of the tapes in heat two to secure his first British race win, keeping distance between him and the chasing Adam Roynon and Kyle Newman, before it was Paul Starke's turn to get quickly away in heat three, leading the Cook brothers although Ben piled on plenty of pressure throughout. There was a glimmer of hope in heat four when both Richard Lawson and Roynon were first to the opening turn but Barker made a good move off turn two to split them. Heat five though saw two dreadful starts by the Poole boys, Worrall even picking up a warning for not remaining stationary and for the second time found himself on the wrong end of a 5-1.

Lawson was out sharp again in heat six but coming off turn two backmarker Howarth pushed Newman as wide as he possibly could, resulting in the Poole reserve clipping the fence and taking an awkward looking tumble. He was soon to his feet but the decision had already been made, he would not be offered a place in the re-run, the referee's verdict being that he was the sole cause of the stoppage. In that re-start Howarth made a much better trap and Lawson couldn't reel him. Heat seven saw Turner fall at the end of the first lap with disqualification from the re-start, sole Gladiator Ben Barker making easy work of sharing the heat recording a sub-fifty seconds race time over the Cooks.

Howarth made all the running in heat eight, taking the rider replacement ride but Ben Cook fought his way by reserve switch Turner to retain an eight point deficit on the night (28-20). But things began to take on a sorry look for Poole as Lawson, in a blink of the eye at turn two, drifted from first to third at the expense of Starke and Dan Gilkes and then Starke teamed up with Howarth in heat ten for the home side's fourth maximum heat score and doubling that midway eight point lead for Plymouth to sixteen in the space of two races.

A slice of fortune fell Poole's way when Barker failed to leave the starting grid in heat eleven and Lawson and Worrall had a comfortable four laps clear of Ben Trigger and that result seemed to rejuvenate the Pirates' attack as Ben Cook and Kyle Newman combined to swiftly reduce the meeting deficit back to eight points and confirm the aggregate bonus point. The hat-trick of maximums was achieved by Lawson and Worrall and the meeting was fashioning up for a last heat decider. Indeed when Newman led Starke in heat fourteen there was a chance that the scores might even be level ahead of the final heat, but Zach Cook's efforts from third were in vain as Starke remained firm, Turner having fallen around the first turn of the opening lap. 

With heat fifteen featuring the same quartet as heat thirteen, the large gathering of Poole fans were hoping for a repeat outcome and Lawson did indeed get out the traps ahead with little between the other three. Howarth moved into second place but as Barker and Worrall battled for supremacy off that first turn they both went down and again the verdict went against the Pirates with Worrall given his marching orders, despite Poole's protestations. Victory therefore was now beyond Poole but Lawson ensured he picked up his eleventh Poole victory from his 21 rides so far to share the heat. 

Heat details

Plymouth 46 (76)
Kyle Howarth 2',3,3,3,0,2=13+1 (6)
Rider Replacement
Dan Gilkes 0,3,1,2',0=6+1 (5)
Paul Starke 3,2',3,2',2=12+2 (5)
Ben Barker 3,2,3,R,1,1'=10+1 (6)
Jake Turner 3,FD,0,RS,1,F=4 (5)
Ben Trigger 0,0,RS,1,RS=1 (3)
Poole 44 (103)
Steve Worrall 1,0,2',2',XD=5+2 (5)
Rider Replacement
Ben Cook 2,2,1',0,3=8+1 (5)
Zach Cook 0,1',1',1,1=4+2 (5)
Richard Lawson 3,2,1,3,3,3=15 (6)
Kyle Newman 1',1,FD,0,2',3=7+2 (6)
Adam Roynon 2,1,2,RS=5 (3)
Ht 1:  B.Barker, K.Howarth, S.Worrall, Z.Cook 5-1 5-1 [50.2]
Ht 2:  J.Turner, A.Roynon, K.Newman, B.Trigger 3-3 8-4 [51.78]
Ht 3:  P.Starke, B.Cook, Z.Cook, D.Gilkes 3-3 11-7 [51.6]
Ht 4:  R.Lawson, B.Barker, A.Roynon, B.Trigger 2-4 13-11 [50.56]
Ht 5:  D.Gilkes, P.Starke, K.Newman, S.Worrall 5-1 18-12 [52.9]
Ht 6:  K.Howarth, R.Lawson, D.Gilkes, K.Newman [fell exc] 4-2 22-14 [51.09]
Ht 7:  B.Barker, B.Cook, Z.Cook, J.Turner [fell exc] 3-3 25-17 [49.63]
Ht 8:  K.Howarth, A.Roynon, B.Cook, J.Turner 3-3 28-20 [50.78]
Ht 9:  P.Starke, D.Gilkes, R.Lawson, K.Newman 5-1 33-21 [51.9]
Ht 10:  K.Howarth, P.Starke, Z.Cook, B.Cook 5-1 38-22 [51.22]
Ht 11:  R.Lawson, S.Worrall, B.Trigger, B.Barker [rtd] 1-5 39-27 [51.06]
Ht 12:  B.Cook, K.Newman, J.Turner, D.Gilkes 1-5 40-32 [51.25]
Ht 13:  R.Lawson, S.Worrall, B.Barker, K.Howarth 1-5 41-37 [53]
Ht 14:  K.Newman, P.Starke, Z.Cook, J.Turner [fell] 2-4 43-41 [53.15]
Ht 15:  R.Lawson, K.Howarth, B.Barker, S.Worrall[exc] 3-3 46-44 [51.34]

REFEREE:  Christina Turnbull 
Plymouth won toss and chose gates 1&3 | Poole choose gates 1&3 in heat 15  
Points: Plymouth 2 Poole 1 Aggregate win 103-76

Picture Dan Westlake (Plymouth)

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