TONGUES were poised to wag and fingers were hovering over keyboards, but Poole Pirates gave their critics no ammunition to unleash following a thunderous win over Leicester tonight.
Having suffered defeats in their last two home meetings, Poole were desperate to avoid the ignominy of a third and their worst run at Wimborne Road in nine years.
That they did in emphatic fashion, clocking up no less than eight 5-1s on their way to a 59-34 success over the basement battlers, who managed just four heat victories all evening.
The result gave Pirates their first win in five weeks and every home rider had their moment, with paid maximum men Darcy Ward and Maciej Janowski particularly impressive.
Guest Edward Kennett – in for the injured Josh Grajczonek – rode superbly with 10 paid 11 and Vaclav Milik had terrific speed on his way to eight paid nine.
It was the first league clash between the teams in 31 years and from a Poole point of view, it was worth the wait – they ended it back in the play-off spots and back in form. For the Lions, it was a shocker.
Kennett jumped off the inside in the opener and after Ward rounded the Rye House number one on bend three, Pirates racked up a comfortable 5-1.
The first reserves’ contest was shared after Josh Bates kept his head under pressure from Kyle Newman, who looked at every line but could not find a way through.
Janowski and Shamek Pawlicki’s opening sortie was a carbon copy of heat one as the former rider triumphed, in-creasing the hosts’ lead to eight points.
After Ben Hopwood missed the two minutes due to carburettor woes, Newman replaced him before promptly retiring with ignition problems. However, the rapid Milik ensured Simon Stead got nowhere near top spot.
A flagging error meant a five-lap heat five, but by that point the home septet had already recorded their third 5-1 thanks in part to Ward, who blasted through the middle of Janowski and Mads Korneliussen on the back straight.
Twelve points down, Leicester needed their number one to fire and former Poole favourite Jason Doyle duly produced his only performance of note. Donning the black-and-white helmet, the Aussie led in debutant Krzysztof Buczkowski for an 8-1 maximum, reducing the deficit to five.
An early interval was taken following heat six due to the unusual problem of visibility problems caused by the sunset, but that break did not solve Newman’s mechanical gremlins and he could only run a last when matters resumed, the Lions securing a 4-2 heat advantage.
Next Milik recovered superbly after being bumped wide on bend one by Korneliussen, streaking through into second to back up Pawlicki and ensure a fourth maximum in eight heats for the home outfit.
Missing the two minutes for race nine due to ongoing bike problems, Newman then hopped on Pawlicki’s machine and from 15 metres down, helped Pirates to a 3-3 behind the improved Hopwood.
Kennett and Ward then dovetailed effectively for a second maximum in as many outings together and even after Pawlicki hit a bump and nearly lost con-trol, Pirates’ momentum could not be halted. The Pole had within a lap fought his way past Doyle and debutant Nicolai Klindt, resulting in a sixth 5-1 for Poole.
Kennett completed his top-drawer evening with a second race win and Ward and Janowski then kept the maximum momentum ticking over.
Milik had looked quick all night and he stormed past Klindt in the penultimate contest to underline Poole’s dominance, before Janowski and Ward rounded off their flawless displays with yet another 5-1.
STAR RIDER: DARCY WARD
WHAT more is there to say about the mercurial Australian?
Supposedly not one of speedway’s gaters, the Pirates number one steamed out of pretty well every start.
Ward would have had a full maximum instead of a paid maximum had he not generously allowed the highly-impressive Edward Kennett through in heat 10.
A captain’s performance from the man still nursing a serious knee injury.
Pirates 59: 1 Darcy Ward (3-3-2*-3-3) 14+1, 2 Edward Kennett, guest (2*-2-3-3) 10+1, 3 Shamek Pawlicki (2*-1-3-2*) 8+2, 4 Vaclav Milik (3-0-2*-3) 8+1, 5 Maciej Janowski (3-2*-3-2*-2*) 12+3, 6 Ben Hopwood (1*-m-2-0) 3+1, 7 Kyle Newman (2-r-r-m1*-1) 4+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
Lions 34: 1 Jason Doyle (1-6^-0-0) 7, 2 Simon Stead (r-2-0-2) 4, 3 Mads Korneliussen (1-1-1-1) 4, 4 Nicolai Klindt (0-3-1-2-1) 7, 5 Krzysztof Buczkowski (0-2*-0-1-0) 3+1, 6 Josh Bates (3-1-3-1*-0) 8+1, 7 Max Clegg (0-1*-0) 1+1. Team manager: Norrie Allan.
Ht 1: Ward, Kennett, Doyle, Stead (retired), 59.25 (5-1)
Ht 2: Bates, Newman, Hopwood, Clegg, 62.56 (8-4)
Ht 3: Janowski, Pawlicki, Korneli-ussen, Buczkowski, 60.59 (13-5)
Ht 4: Milik, Stead, Clegg, Newman (retired), 60.50 (16-8)
Ht 5: Ward, Janowski, Korneliussen, Klindt, 59.50 (21-9)
Ht 6: Doyle (tactical), Buczkowski, Pawlicki, Milik, 60.04 (22-17)
Ht 7: Klindt, Kennett, Bates, Newman (retired), 61.09 (24-21)
Ht 8: Pawlicki, Milik, Korneliussen, Stead, 60.37 (29-22)
Ht 9: Bates, Hopwood, Newman (15m/two mins), Clegg, 63.06 (32-25)
Ht 10: Kennett, Ward, Kornelius-sen, Buczkowski, 60.75 (37-26)
Ht 11: Janowski, Pawlicki, Klindt, Doyle, 61.13 (42-27)
Ht 12: Kennett, Stead, Bates, Hopwood, 60.88 (45-30)
Ht 13: Ward, Janowski, Buczkowski, Doyle, 61.25 (50-31)
Ht 14: Milik, Klindt, Newman, Bates, 60.25 (54-33)
Ht 15: Ward, Janowski, Klindt, Buczkowski, 61.00 (59-34)