A WOUNDED beast can sometimes prove the most dangerous as Pirates found to their cost against lowly Birmingham tonight.
Brummies had previously lost five out of six Elite League meetings and suffered three heavy defeats on the road, shipping 189 points in those away fixtures.
But with riders’ jobs seemingly on the line, the visitors grabbed a losing point following a thrilling final heat, ensuring Poole took two rather than three winning points in their 48-42 victory.
A matter of inches separated Birmingham’s Daniel Nermark and home favourite Shamek Pawlicki at the finish line but that tiny margin proved critical in the final reckoning.
In a repeat of last year’s grand final, tricky conditions proved no barrier to yet another terrific night of racing at Wimborne Road in 2014.
The experienced Adam Skornicki gated off the inside to win the opener and after Edward Kennett relegated fellow number one Chris Holder to last, Poole’s stand-in number one hit back on lap two.
In his first heat in over a fortnight due to a ruptured thigh muscle, Kyle Newman was involved in a nasty spill with Simon Lambert in which the Brummies reserve came off worse.
Newman was thrown onto the top of the air fence after knocking the visiting rider off his machine on bend four and returning reserve Lee Smart split Simon Lambert and Paul Starke on the re-run.
Brummies captain Danny King clipped team-mate Ben Barker in heat three, sending both riders crashing to the deck and subsequently, Maciej Janowski used all his powers of balance to remain in his seat when shunted by Barker, tailing in countryman Pawlicki for a 5-1 maximum.
Skornicki won a re-run heat four despite constant pressure from Vaclav Milik and a second straight unsatisfactory start resulted in the fourth re-run in a row. Janowski was close to setting up a 5-1 behind Holder but fell with two bends left as he attempted to slip past Nermark following a rousing effort.
Kennett and Barker then stormed to a shock maximum to put the Brummies 20-16 up after heat six and the visitors forged further ahead thanks to a 4-2, with Nermark profiting from early leader Josh Grajczonek hitting a rut on bend two.
Milik showed iron mental toughness to shake off the attentions of King in heat eight as Pirates hit back with a 5-1 maximum.
Despite Newman’s later heat nine success, the gap was not reduced due to the lagging Smart, and Brummies increased their lead to four points as Barker held off Holder in heat 10.
The meeting turned on sensational heat 11 in which Pawlicki and Janowski passed early leader Nermark for a 5-1 maximum, with Janowski finding a seemingly impossible inside line on the final bend to force his way through.
Grajczonek then delivered a timely first race triumph on his last ride and reserve replacement Newman ensured a heat advantage by picking up a point.
Involved in his third 5-1 of the night in heat 13, Janowski delivered another second place behind Holder as Barker’s powers evaded him, handing the hosts a 42-36 advantage.
Honours were shared in the penultimate outing, setting up a heat 15 decider in which the third-placed Nermark kept out Pawlicki by a whisker to deny Pirates maximum points.
Neil Middleditch’s men are next in action on Bank Holiday Monday, when they travel to Monmore Green to take on Wolverhampton.
Pirates 48: 1 Chris Holder (1*-3-2-3-3) 12+1, 2 Josh Grajczonek (2-2-0-3) 7, 3 Shamek Pawlicki (3-0-3-3-0) 9, 4 Vaclav Milik (2-1-2*-2) 7+1, 5 Maciej Janowski (2*-f-2*-2*) 6+3, 6 Lee Smart (2-0-0) 2, 7 Kyle Newman (fx-0-3-1-1*) 5+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
Brummies 42: 1 Edward Kennett (0-2*-0-0) 2+1, 2 Adam Skornicki (3-3-0-2) 8, 3 Danny King (fx-1*-1-1) 3+1, 4 Daniel Nermark (2-3-1-3-1*) 10+1, 5 Ben Barker (1f/r-3-3-1-2) 10, 6 Simon Lambert (3-1-1*-0) 5+1, 7 Paul Starke (1-1-2-0) 4. Team manager: Jack Lee.
Ht 1: Skornicki, Grajczonek, Holder, Kennett, 59.40 (3-3)
Ht 2 (re-run): Lambert, Smart, Starke, Newman (fell/dsq), 62.53 (5-7)
Ht 3 (re-run): Pawlicki, Janowski, Barker (fell/remounted), King (fell/dsq), 61.78 (10-8)
Ht 4 (re-run): Skornicki, Milik, Starke, Smart, 61.32 (12-12)
Ht 5 (re-run): Holder, Nermark, King, Janowski (fell), 61.16 (15-15)
Ht 6: Barker, Kennett, Milik, Pawlicki, 61.71 (16-20)
Ht 7: Nermark, Grajczonek, Lambert, Newman, 62.66 (18-24)
Ht 8: Pawlicki, Milik, King, Skornicki, 60.84 (23-25)
Ht 9: Newman, Starke, Lambert, Smart, 64.65 (26-28)
Ht 10: Barker, Holder, King, Grajczonek, 62.46 (28-32)
Ht 11: Pawlicki, Janowski, Nermark, Kennett, 62.57 (33-33)
Ht 12: Grajczonek, Skornicki, Newman, Starke, 62.47 (37-35)
Ht 13: Holder, Janowski, Barker, Kennett, 61.94 (42-36)
Ht 14: Nermark, Milik, Newman, Lambert, 63.10 (45-39)
Ht 15: Holder, Barker, Nermark, Pawlicki, 61.75 (48-42)
Tonight’s other result, Elite League: Kings Lynn 53 Leicester 43.