Poole Pirates v Swindon Robins
In a departure from their recent form the No.1 Carpet Cleaning Pirates put points on the board early in this Bank Holiday clash and had enough of a lead to sustain a late comeback from an injury-savaged Swindon side.
Already missing Dawid Lampart ahead of the meeting the Robins were further diminished in numbers when Tobiasz Musielak was forced to withdraw when crashing in heat three, the circuit proving testing for many.
Former world champion Jason Doyle however posted the fastest time of the season to claim the honours in heat one but then Poole rapidly got into their stride. A pass on Ellis Perks by Nicolakj Busk Jakobsen in heat two backed up Nico Covatti's winning ride before the heat three drama.
At the first time of asking, Adam Ellis and Josh Grajczonek were slugging out a battle for second and third, one that the Pirate looked to have sewn up when Ellis hit the thick dirt on the fourth turn causing him to slow. On the next lap Musielak found the same area crashing out. The re-run went Poole's way with a 5-1, the lead further extended when Richard Lawson steered a path from third to first as Troy Batchelor was struggling with conditions.
Doyle made it two from two in heat five before Richie Worrall began to show some of the form that has been lacking him this term. His pass on Batchelor was perfect and whilst Jack Holder tried to repeat the same the Swindon number five stood firm, as Poole entered into a 12 point lead.
Trying to juggle his riders around Alun Rossiter nominated Ellis Perks to cover Musielak's heat seven outing but the latest Robin recruit missed the time allowance and so fellow reserve Zach Wajtknecht had to hurry to tapes. Hurrying away from them though was Adam Ellis who sealed his win with a great piece of gambling. It wasn't to be the case though in the next one as he twitched early and despite being in third place round the first turn he was called back with the rest of the heat eight pack, but given a warning. Worrall made all the running in the re-start as Ellis ran into trouble on the pit turn, the Pirates earning a 4-2 outcome.
Jason Doyle was deployed as a tactical, helping Rossiter with his lower order rider allocations, but it went horribly wrong for Doyle as he lost control on the entry to turn four attempting to pass Nicolai Klindt who was holding second. Batchelor though convincingly won the re-run, thus 16 points remained the difference between the two sides.
More complications ahead of heat 10 as Perks was nominated as Musielak's cover but again the clock beat him. This time around he took the fifteen metre handicap, Holder and Worall combining for a 5-1advantage to virtually put the Pirates safe. Heat 11 was marred buy a heavy first turn fall between Pirates' guest Richard Lawson and the busy Perks, the Robin sitting out the re-run in favour of Wajtknecht. Covatti threw caution to the wind and whistled by Doyle on the opening lap but the Robins' number one eventually found a route back to claim the heat. Busk Jakobsen found himself in trouble on the opening lap of heat 12 and in the re-run, which went without his involvement, Klindt infringed at the tapes and was replaced by Covatti. Ellis went on to become the eventual winner setting up the Robins first heat advantage of the afternoon, and there were two more to follow.
The tapes broke on release in heat 13 as Doyle and Batchelor got away the smartest and the race was allowed to continue inspite of the derision from the Poole fans and with no changes in position the Robins pocketed a 5-1. Poole quickly extinguished any thoughts the visitors might have had of stealing the comeback kings title, Grajczonek hitting the front as he found a way by Ellis. It was a move he had to do twice as the first time preceded a fall from Perks that forced another three-man re-run.
Swindon concluded with a 4-2 from heat 15 through Batchelor and Ellis and many were left wondering what might have happened had they fielded a full-strength side.
N.Busk Jakobsen 2',1,1,FD=4+1
Ht 1: J.Doyle, J.Holder, R.Worrall, Z.Wajtknecht (RR) 3-3 3-3 |58.53]
Ht 2: N.Covatti, N.Busk Jakobsen, E.Perks, Z.Wajtknecht 5-1 8-4 [59.69]
Ht 3: N.Klindt, J.Grajczonek, A.Ellis, T.Musielak (Fell d/q) 5-1 13-5 [awd]
Ht 4: R.Lawson, E.Perks, N.Busk Jakobsen, T.Batchelor (Rtd) 4-2 17-7 [60.34]
Ht 5: J.Doyle, N.Klindt, J.Grajczonek, E.Perks (RR) 3-3 20-10 [59.82]
Ht 6: R.Worrall, T.Batchelor, J.Holder, Z.Wajtknecht 4-2 24-12 [60.78]
Ht 7: A.Ellis, N.Covatti, R.Lawson, Z.Wajtknecht 3-3 27-15 [60.25]
Ht 8: R.Worrall, E.Perks, N.Busk Jakobsen, A.Ellis 4-2 31-17 [60.57]
Ht 9: T.Batchelor, N.Klindt, J.Grajczonek, J.Doyle (Fell d/q) 3-3 34-20 [60.68]
Ht 10: J.Holder, R.Worrall, A.Ellis, E.Perks 5-1 39-21 [61.12]
Ht 11: J.Doyle, N.Covatti, R.Lawson, Z.Wajtknecht (Fell d/q) 3-3 42-24 [61.13]
Ht 12: A.Ellis, N.Covatti, Z.Wajtknecht, N.Busk Jakobsen (Fell d/q) 2-4 44-28 [61.78]
Ht 13: J.Doyle, T.Batchelor, J.Holder, R.Lawson 1-5 45-33 [60.91]
Ht 14: J.Grajczonek, A.Ellis, N.Covatti, E.Perks (Fell d/q) 4-2 49-35 [61.88]
Ht 15: T.Batchelor, J.Holder, A.Ellis, R.Worrall 2-4 51-39 [61.72]
Gates: SWINDON won toss and chose gates 1&3 | POOLE took gates 2&4 in heat 15
Referee Dave Robinson
League Points POOLE 3 SWINDON 0
Rider of the Night: R.Worrall