REPORT: Poole v Leicester (KOC Semi Final)


The Pirates sealed their place in the Knockout Cup with three heats to spare at Wimborne Road this evening, after a sequence of two 4-2's and four 5-1s spanned heats six to eleven

Danny King,3,1,3,2'=9+1 (4)
Ben Cook,2',3,2',2',2'=11+4 (5)
Steve Worrall,0,1,2',3=6+1 (4)
Drew Kemp,2,0,3,2'=7+1 (4)
Richard Lawson,3,3,2',3,3=14+1 (5)
Zach Cook,2,1,3,3,3=12 (5)
Nathan Ablitt,1',0,RS,0=1+1 (3)

Nick Morris,1,3,0,1,0EH=5 (5)
Connor Mountain,0,2',1,1=4+1 (4)
Richie Worrall,3,2,1,2,1=9 (5)
Dan Thompson,1,0,0,0=1 (4)
Kyle Howarth,2,2,1,0=5 (4)
Joe Thompson,R,0,0,RS=1+1 (3)
Max Clegg,3,1',0,1',1=5+1 (5)

Ht 1:  D.King, B.Cook, N.Morris, C.Mountain 5-1 5-1 [59.47]
Ht 2:  M.Clegg, Z.Cook, N.Ablitt, J.Thompson [rtd] 3-3 8-4 [60.81]
Ht 3:  R.Worrall, D.Kemp, D.Thompson, S.Worrall 2-4 10-8 [60.43]
Ht 4:  R.Lawson, K.Howarth, M.Clegg, N.Ablitt 3-3 13-11 [59.75]
Ht 5:  N.Morris, C.Mountain, S.Worrall, D.Kemp 1-5 14-16 [59.93]
Ht 6:  B.Cook, K.Howarth, D.King, J.Thompson 4-2 18-18 [59.97]
Ht 7:  R.Lawson, R.Worrall, Z.Cook, D.Thompson 4-2 22-20 [59.87]
Ht 8:  Z.Cook, B.Cook, C.Mountain, M.Clegg 5-1 27-21 [60.09]
Ht 9:  D.Kemp, S.Worrall, K.Howarth, J.Thompson 5-1 32-22 [60.62]
Ht 10:  D.King, B.Cook, R.Worrall, D.Thompson 5-1 37-23 [59.97]
Ht 11:  Z.Cook, R.Lawson, C.Mountain, N.Morris 5-1 42-24 [60.84]
Ht 12:  S.Worrall, R.Worrall, M.Clegg, N.Ablitt 3-3 45-27 [60.03]
Ht 13:  R.Lawson, D.King, N.Morris, K.Howarth 5-1 50-28 [60.53]
Ht 14:  Z.Cook, D.Kemp, M.Clegg, D.Thompson 5-1 55-29 [60.87]
Ht 15:  R.Lawson, B.Cook, R.Worrall, N.Morris[15m handicap] 5-1 60-30 [61.18]
REFEREE: Christine Turnbull 
LEICESTER won toss and chose gates 1&3 | POOLE choose gates 1&3 in heat 15 
Poole win 104-76 on aggregate 

Danny King and Ben Cook took the bull by the horns and immediately wiped out the aggregate deficit from the first leg with an opening 5-1, Cook doing well under early pressure from Nick Morris, the Lions' number one locking up on the third turn midway through the race to give Cook some extra breathing space. Nathan Ablitt gave the Pirates a bit more of that when his inside pass on Joe Thompson in heat two ensured Poole maintained their slender lead in the tie, but the Lions weren't quite ready to lay down as Richie Worrall stormed to a heat three victory. 

His brother, Steve, was pinned at the back and appeared to find a bit of extra drive on lap three but couldn't quite execute the pass on Dan Thompson that he was looking for, allowing Leicester to square the aggregate. Richard Lawson wasted no time in making a shared heat four his own, but then in heat five, Steve Worrall trying to shift a Mountain (Connor), left the outside unprotected and Morris exploited the opening and the visitors were not only ahead on the night, but had doubled their first leg advantage.

King and Ben Cook crossed lines at the first turn and Kyle Howarth saw daylight and escaped towards it leaving Cook to give chase. It looked a forlorn task until, on the final turn, Howarth moved out slightly, Cook hit some drive on the inside and sneaked up the inside, edging the verdict by a wheel rim. King's third place put the evening's scores level and this was a match that was looking at going down to the wire. But how wrong can looks be! 

Lawson, still on a mission, comfortably took the win in heat seven, points bolstered by a clever inside switch at the pit turn that allowed Poole to win the heat and level everything up at 66-66.  Neil Middleditch elected to stand Nathan Ablitt down in heat eight in favour of Zach Cook and with his brother they executed a perfect first turn plan as he drove the Lions out allowing Ben to find room on the inside for a 5-1. Drew Kemp held Howarth clamped on the fence down the straight in heat ten allowing Steve Worrall to nip in for a back-to-back 5-1, inspite of Howarth's revived efforts. 

It was a more comfortable third successive maximum heat score in race eleven, although Richie Worrall did his best to keep Cook honest. The rare achievement of four maximum heat scores, against a team that finished top of the league, looked an option and Zach Cook didn't disappoint, powering round the inside to partner up with Lawson in the eleventh. Poole were now leading by sixteen points on aggregate and with just four heats remaining, they just needed to  deny the Lions from a similar run of maximums of their own to avoid the super heats.

That became an impossibility when Steve Worrall enjoyed his best score of the evening but there would have been very few eyes on him out front as partner Nathan Ablitt was being encouraged from every corner of the stadium as he slipped into third place early on and tried desperately hard to stay there. At one stage he could feel Richie Worrall's roost but was eventually ground down by the concerted efforts of Max Clegg, resulting in a shared heat and a place in the cup final.
Job done, but you wouldn't have thought it as the Pirates returned to picking up maximum heat advantages for fun, Ben Cook and Richard Lawson completing their personal paid maximums in heat fifteen, with only three riders starting from the scratch point after Nick Morris has a fifteen metre penalty imposed on him for failing to meet the initial time allowance in the nominated heat.

Pictures: Anthony Burchell

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