REPORT: Poole Pirates 52 (96) Oxford Cheetahs 38 (84) KO Cup final Semi Final 2nd Leg


Poole ultimately held the trump cards in this semi-final tie, despite a visiting number one going through the card unbeaten, the second successive week that has happened. 

Sam Masters was as dominant as Ryan Douglas had been for Scunthorpe, but the headline makers were Poole's Australian Cook brothers.

Whilst Masters, with partner Cameron Heeps, had been able to double Oxford's aggregate lead with a 4-2 in heat one, it was an advantage that was totally wiped out through another battling ride from Kyle Newman to join fast-gating Adam Roynon for a heat two 5-1. So when the Cook boys came to the tapes for the first time, the tie had come down to a thirteen heat shoot-out. With little room round the first arc, Ben suffered a fall which caused the heat to be re-run with all four competitors. He picked himself off the shale and then produced a terrific demonstration of guts and determination to whistle by Lewis Kerr and join his brother on a 5-1. Both Richard Lawson and Newman were content to plug the heat four sharing spots after Scott Nicholls continued to show that age is no barrier. The sun however was and a lengthy break ensured between heats four and five, as the large crowd waited for it to lower behind the high-rise flats behind the pits. When racing resumed, Zach Cook was on Masters tail throughout, Ben fighting hard again to get the better of Heeps to protect the four point lead the Pirates held. 

Steve Worrall inadvertently offered up half a chance to Nicholls in heat six and the former British champion needed no second invitation and went on to win by a big distance but again the visitors were denied any chance of making a breakthrough. That wasn't the case in heat seven, though, when Lewis Kerr took the victory over Richard Lawson and Jordan Jenkins made easy work of passing Roynon to tighten the affair up a bit. Finding the response needed, Rowe took the initiative in heat eight and with Newman pulling away from Heeps, who was then passed by Atkins, Poole established a nervy six point cushion.
Wimborne Road erupted in heat nine when Ben Cook produced a scintillating move to squeeze by, of all people, Nicholls to move into second behind brother Zach. But Nicholls refused to give up without making his presence felt and whilst Ben admitted afterwards he felt he didn't have great speed, he managed to outfox the Silver Fox and the Pirates gained a twelve point lead on the night, ten overall. 

To their credit, Oxford kept things alive in heat ten with an unchallenged 4-2 as Kerr and Jenkins finished either side of Worrall, but a vital pass by Newman on Heeps to share heat eleven, whilst Masters was cruising to his third win from as many starts, kept Poole in the driving seat. Ben Cook needed no heroics in heat twelve, picking up a tapes to flag victory and with Roynon making third place his own the Pirates were closing in on the goal, as the Cheetahs couldn't afford to drop any points over the final three heats. 

Early on in heat thirteen, one of those maximums looked on the card but cruelly for Nicholls his throttle stuck open as he came out of the first turn for the second time, which caused him to hit the inner kerb and be thrown off his machine. A worrying looking fall, from which he did walk away, suffering with sore ribs, but disqualified from the re-start. Masters won the re-run but it was largely academic. Poole ensured absolute qualification to their third KO Cup final since rejoining second tier racing, when Zach Cook and Newman paired up for a 5-1, incredibly Newman picking up his fifth bonus point of the night. 

Clearly personal pride was on the line in heat fifteen as first Kerr was warned for anticipation and then Masters was ticked off second time around. At the third attempt Masters made it cleanly although he had to be mindful of Ben Cook buzzing round his back wheel in the early stages before completing his personal maximum, with Kerr ensuring that Oxford would sign off their 2023 KO Cup journey with a heat advantage, as Poole proceeded to another final.


Steve Worrall 2,2,2,1'=7+1 (4)
Anders Rowe 0,1',3,0=4+1 (4)
Ben Cook 2',1',2',3,2=10+3 (5)
Zach Cook 3,2,3,3,0=11 (5)
Richard Lawson 2,2,2,2=8 (4)
Kyle Newman 2',1',RS,2',1',2'=8+5 (5)
Adam Roynon 3,RS,0,RS,1=4 (3)
Sam Masters 3,3,3,3,3=15 (5)
Cameron Heeps 1,0,0,0=1 (4)
Lewis Kerr 1,3,3,2,1=10 (5)
Jordan Jenkins 0,1,1,1=3 (4)
Scott Nicholls 3,3,1,FD=7 (4)
Henry Atkins 1,0,RS,1,RS,0,0=2 (5)
Ryan Kinsley 0,RS,0,RS,0,RS=0 (3)
Ht 1:  S.Masters, S.Worrall, C.Heeps, A.Rowe 2-4 2-4 [60.03]
Ht 2:  A.Roynon, K.Newman, H.Atkins, R.Kinsley 5-1 7-5 [61.84]
Ht 3:  Z.Cook, B.Cook, L.Kerr, J.Jenkins 5-1 12-6 [59.69]
Ht 4:  S.Nicholls, R.Lawson, K.Newman, H.Atkins 3-3 15-9 [60.25]
Ht 5:  S.Masters, Z.Cook, B.Cook, C.Heeps 3-3 18-12 [60.41]
Ht 6:  S.Nicholls, S.Worrall, A.Rowe, R.Kinsley 3-3 21-15 [60.72]
Ht 7:  L.Kerr, R.Lawson, J.Jenkins, A.Roynon 2-4 23-19 [59.87]
Ht 8:  A.Rowe, K.Newman, H.Atkins, C.Heeps 5-1 28-20 [61.65]
Ht 9:  Z.Cook, B.Cook, S.Nicholls, R.Kinsley 5-1 33-21 [60.72]
Ht 10:  L.Kerr, S.Worrall, J.Jenkins, A.Rowe 2-4 35-25 [61.12]
Ht 11:  S.Masters, R.Lawson, K.Newman, C.Heeps 3-3 38-28 [61.25]
Ht 12:  B.Cook, L.Kerr, A.Roynon, H.Atkins 4-2 42-30 [61.56]
Ht 13:  S.Masters, R.Lawson, S.Worrall, S.Nicholls [fell exc] 3-3 45-33 [61.13]
Ht 14:  Z.Cook, K.Newman, J.Jenkins, H.Atkins 5-1 50-34 [61.18]
Ht 15:  S.Masters, B.Cook, L.Kerr, Z.Cook 2-4 52-38 [61.4]

POOLE won toss and chose gates 1&3 | OXFORD choose gates 1&3 in heat 15  
Poole win 96-84 on aggregate 


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