PIRATES PROGRESS TO CUP FINAL AFTER TENSE BATTLE WITH LIONS

29/09/21

The Poole Pirates tested the nerve of their loyal fans to the max before securing a 96-84 aggregate victory over the Leicester Lions to secure their place in the SGB Championship Knockout cup final, which is guaranteed to involve a trip Scotland, as the second semi-final will be contested by Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Going into the meeting eight points adrift from the first leg, the Pirates took the tie effectively to a four-heat shoot-out, after levelling the aggregate scores with a heat 11 5-1 courtesy of skipper Danny King and guest Zach Cook.

Two of those crucial four heats featured the in-form Steve Worrall, who despite feeling under the weather, went through the card unbeaten for the third time this season for the Pirates. He admitted afterwards "its brilliant riding here with Poole. I have been with quite a lot of teams in my career, and I always think back to my time with Edinburgh in 2014 and they were winning everything. But that was literally because they were such a good time and I have never had that atmosphere since, but I feel like it's here now and everyone is just great. I have such a long drive to get here each week, but I don't think about it because I am excited to get here, see the lads and go and race our bikes and have some fun. I think that really helps. We are all having fun and we can go out there and score the points and we can win meetings like that one tonight."

In recent weeks, the King of Wimborne Road has been captain Danny, but his night began with an uncharacteristic starting offence that earned him a 15-metre handicap, a distance that even for him proved a step too far against former Pirate Hans Andersen and Lions' reserve Zaine Kennedy. That levelled the scores on the night and restored the visitors lead from the first leg and although the Pirates were able to fire in a couple more heat gains a massive 5-1 from Kyle Howarth and Ryan Douglas in heat seven, with King again on the wrong end of it, put the scores at 21-all and Leicester still eight up for the tie.

Ben Basso, fresh from his recent injury problems with damaged ribs produced a ride in heat eight that proved, in Worrall's eyes, to be the turning point of the meeting. Coming from nowhere Basso surged past Kennedy, picked off Howarth and shared the heat. "That was a key moment" said Worrall, "it brought inspiration and fire into the team, and we were able to kick on from there and in the end we did it comfortably. But it was tense in the pits at times, and we all had to dig in to get us over the line, but this is a team sport and that is what it is all about."

Whilst they know their cup final opponents will be a north of the border side, the double seeking Pirates have yet to learn their league play-off semi-final opponents, with the quarter finals due to be staged over the course of the weekend. Poole will have a pick of the winners from the two ties that involved Redcar v Edinburgh (Friday and Sunday) and Scunthorpe v Leicester (Friday and Saturday).

Scorers:
POOLE 55 (96)- R.Schlein 11+2 (2,3,2,2',2'), B.Basso 6+2(1',1,3,1'), S.Worrall 15 (3,3,3,3,3), B.Cook 5+1 (0,1,2',2), D.King 8 (1,1,3,3), Z.Cook 8+3 (3,0,2',2',1'), D.Hume 2+1 (2',0,0)

LEICESTER 35 (84) - N.Morris 8 (3,2,1,1,1), R.Douglas 4+1 (2,2',F,XD), K.Howarth 12+1 (1',3,2,3,3,0), H.Andersen 6 (3,2,1,R), J.Thompson 1 (0,0,0,1), Z.Kennedy 4+2 (0,1,2',0,1',0,R)
 

Match report and heat details here

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