Poole 'Wessex Marine' Pirates gave their 2024 season a huge kick-start by posting a sixty-plus score for the first time since July 5th 2023, as they sounded out a seismic warning to the rest of the league, beating Oxford 61-29 in their opening meeting in the BSN Series.

It was in the home leg final of last year's competition, against Glasgow, when Poole last racked up a plus sixty score, but this performance, in which official home debuts were being made by Max Perry, Sam Hagon, Tom Brennan and Tobias Thomsen., was hugely impressive.
The quartet all settled in superbly, with both Hagon and Brennan claiming two outright wins and a paid win each, whilst Thomsen scored in all four of his rides including a paid win in his final outing, whilst Perry made a decent start to his Pirate's career with a competitive paid three return.
Armed with a very solid triple performance from 2023 returnees - Richard Lawson, Ben Cook and Zach Cook - the Pirates made light work of their "neighbours", who only had Scott Nicholls and Luke Killeen able to win a heat.
Poole's number one Lawson couldn't muster up a full-house in all his Poole meetings last term but he immediately set the record straight with a perfect five ride maximum, admitting afterwards "it was a dream start. I still can't quite believe it. Just everything went, well apart from my start in heat one, kind of to plan. That was true for all the boys. We all just kind of clicked and you can't ask for much more. I didn't expect that score against Oxford. I had them tipped as one of the top teams so we definitely laid down a marker tonight. The track was well prepared. It's not massively different to last year and I thought it rode really well. You know, the track guys here do a real good job and they listen to what we want "

The Pirates claimed no fewer than five maximum heat advantages and in total outpointed Oxford in eleven of the fifteen races. Visiting number one Sam Masters arrived against a very impressive backdrop of performances around Wimborne Road but for once he couldn't celebrate a race win, returning a paid eight score from six outings.

In the 'engine room' for Poole, Tom Brennan and Zach Cook struck up a very positive combination with a brace of 5-1 advantages in their first two rides, Scott Nicholls splitting them in heat nine, a race that had Cook and Nicholls scrapping for the lead and Brennan and Masters battling for the minor place.

The race of the night, arguably, came in heat thirteen when Lawson managed to fend off the interests of Masters on the opening lap before Ben Cook stormed by his Australian compatriot to steal second place on the line for one of those 5-1's.

A heat earlier, Brennan had the packed grandstand on their feet when he timed his heat twelve move to absolute perfection, to steer by long-time leader Cameron Heeps on the final lap to take the win, one that was converted into a heat advantage with Perry ably seeing off Ashton Boughen.

The Pirates scheduled trip on Saturday to Plymouth, also part of the BSN Series, has been postponed due to the ongoing track work at the Coliseum which has been hampered by the heavy rainfall over recent weeks with the track described as "spongy" and needing "sunshine to bake the clay base and the shale." A new date for this meeting will be announced in due course.

POOLE 61 ,Richard Lawson 15 (3,3,3,3,3) ,Zach Cook 11+1 (2',3,3,3,0) ,Sam Hagon 10+1 (2,3,3,F,2') ,Ben Cook 9+2 (2,2',3,2') ,Tom Brennan 9+1 (3,2',1,3) ,Tobias Thomsen 5+1 (1,1,1,2') ,Max Perry 2+1 (1',0,RS,1)
OXFORD 29 ,Scott Nicholls 9 (3,2,2,0,2) ,Luke Killeen 8 (3,1,RS,2,TS,2,RS,0) ,Sam Masters 6+2 (2,1,0,1',1,1') ,Jordan Jenkins 3 (1,0,1,1) ,Cameron Heeps 3 (0,1,0,2) ,Ashton Boughen 0 (0,RS,0,RS,0,RS) ,Henry Atkins 0 (0,0,0,RS)

Match Report and full heat details

Photo credit: Tony Hartmann

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