POOLE Comets suffered a dramatic 88-87 defeat in an incident-packed clash against Newport at the Harbourside Racetrack.

With the South Wales outfit bolstered by the inclusion of international stars Ben Mould, Mark Carmichael and Jack Harrold, the chances of a home win looked slim.

Newport dominated the early races to lead 37-32 after seven races, but Comets then turned the contest around with Matty Ganczarek and Dean Hook racing home to win heat eight and Ben Tinsdale and Ben Donahue repeating the feat in heat nine to open a slender 46-42 lead in Poole’s favour at the interval.

Comets kept the pressure on early in the second half to extend their advantage to 11 points, but heat 13 was to prove unlucky for the Poole side with Wil Bristowe earning a hotly-contested exclusion to let Newport back into the match.

Two shared heats moved the score to 76-70 in favour of the hosts before the most controversial flashpoint of the incident packed afternoon.

Newport’s Adam Bennett came to grief in an all-out tussle with Fraser Garnett, and in a fit of displeasure, threw his crash helmet into the crowd and walked across the track in front of oncoming riders.

He failed to collect a point and was fortunate not to receive a red card from match referee Mike Legge.

With only two races remaining, Poole looked to be heading for a surprise victory, but the visitors were far from finished with Harrold holding off Comets skipper Dean Hook, to allow his partner Dan Bock through for a 7-3 win.

Ben Mould then pulled the same trick on Ganczarek on the final lap of the match to allow his partner Carmichael through for a maximum heat win, which sent the Welsh side into raptures.

POOLE 87: Jay Briggs 14, Fraser Garnett 13, Maciej Ganczarek 17, Dean Hook 12, Ben Tinsdale 12, Wil Bristow 9, Ben Donohue 7, Callum Smith 3.

NEWPORT 88: Chris Davies 10, Mark Carmichael 15, Jack Harrold 10, Adam Bennett 11, Ben Mould 18, Dan Bock 10, Joe Lewis 9, Dale Clark 5.

Long-time Poole Comets supporter Sue Bradford presented a cheque for £223 to the club of behalf of Community Matters - a fund-raising project at Waitrose in Parkstone.

Accepting the cheque, Colin Rowles said: “We would like to thank Sue for her help and support of the club. Without people like Sue and the staff at Waitrose, this club would not be the success it is.

“The money will be put towards clubroom and track circuit upgrading during the close season.”