POOLE Pirates were left to count the cost of no fewer than eight spills as Eastbourne eventually battled their way to all three points in a tight finish at Arlington.
Last-minute Poole guest Edward Kennett, who had again scored well on his second booking for Pirates this season, hit the air fence in the 15th and final heat, handing the Eagles an opportunity to finally shake off their stubborn visitors.
After Kennett's early fall, Shamek Pawlicki suffered a nightmare evening with three crashes in four heats, while captain Darcy Ward, Josh Grajczonek and reserve Brendan Johnson all found themselves in the dirt at some point during proceedings.
Kennett became available to replace Vaclav Milik when Rye House’s Premier League fixture against Peterborough was postponed. That meant reserve Lewis Blackbird could also line up for the hosts.
Ward wasn’t hanging around to find out if he had jumped the gate en route to storming heat one but Eastbourne hit back with a maximum in the first reserve race in which Johnson fell and remounted.
Maciej Janowski just held off Joonas Kylmakorpi in the third but Cameron Woodward’s victory in a re-run handed Eagles a slender advantage with Kennett recovering from his brush with the fence to take second in race four.
The hosts’ margin was extended after Pawlicki fell in heat five with Scott Nicholls and Bjarne Pedersen gating for a comfortable maximum over Grajczonek in the re-run.
Ward and Janowski cruised round to return the favour before Grajczonek made the most of Timo Lahti’s slow start to ensure the contest remained tight with parity in heat seven.
Poole seemed set for a 5-1 in heat eight but Pawlicki suffered another wobble having been passed by Woodward and gifted Kylmakorpi a point. In-form Kennett took the chequered flag but Eastbourne were about to seize control.
With Pirates on the cusp of levelling matters with a 4-2, Blackbird fell and was excluded from the re-run of the second reserve heat in which Kyle Newman was professionally shut out by Eagles lone ranger Daniel Halsey.
Pawlicki’s night to forget continued in heat 10 as the Pole lost control in pursuit of Lahti on the second lap and with Janowski finishing in third, Poole were on the receiving end of another maximum.
Matters immediately got worse after the interval when Ward slipped to the back, then lifted and fell while trying to make up ground. The heat was awarded to Nicholls and Kylmakorpi to put Pirates 10 points behind with four heats to go.
The determined Kennett carried the fight by passing Blackbird and Lahti halfway round heat 12, with Newman providing support as Poole bounced back.
Ward pushed Pedersen all the way but couldn’t quite catch the former Pirates favourite to make further inroads in heat 13, though Janowski ensured a shared heat having held off Nicholls.
Team boss Neil Middleditch utilised Newman ahead of Johnson in his pursuit of a point but Grajczonek locked up on the second bend and was excluded for causing Halsey’s subsequent fall. Woodward won the re-run at a canter.
That meant Pirates needed some sort of advantage from the nominated final race to secure a point but Kennett was pushed wide and the visitors were denied by Pedersen's third win of the night.
- Poole's Czech ace Vaclav Milik came second behind Wolverhampton's Piotr Pawlicki in the world under-21 championship opener in Lonigo, Italy tonight.
Milik racked up 13 points and trails his Polish counterpart by two after the first of three legs. The next round takes place in Ostrow, Poland next month.
Eastbourne 50: 1 Bjarne Pedersen (2-2*-3-3-3) 13+1, 2 Timo Lahti (0-2-2*-0) 4+1, 3 Joonas Kylmakorpi (2-1-1*-2*) 6+2, 4 Cameron Woodward (3-r-2-3) 8, 5 Scott Nicholls (guest) (0-3-3-0-1) 7, 6 Lewis Blackbird (3-1-fx-1) 5, 7 Daniel Halsey (2*-1*-3-1) 7+2. Team manager: Trevor Geer
Pirates 40: 1 Darcy Ward (3-3-f-2-2) 10, 2 Edward Kennett (guest) (1-2-3-3-0) 9, 3 Shamek Pawlicki (1-fx-f-f) 1, 4 Josh Grajczonek (1-3-1-fx) 5, 5 Maciej Janowski (3-2*-1-1*) 7+2, 6 Brendan Johnson (0-0-1*) 1+1, 7 Kyle Newman (1-0-2-2*-2) 7+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
League points: Eastbourne 3 Poole 0.
Ht 1: Ward, Pedersen, Kennett, Lahti 55.8 (2-4)
Ht 2: Blackbird, Halsey, Newman, Johnson (fell, remounted) 58.5 (7-5)
Ht 3: Janowski, Kylmakorpi, Pawlicki, Nicholls 57.5 (9-9)
Ht 4: (re-run) Woodward, Kennett, Blackbird, Newman 56.6 (13-11)
Ht 5: (re-run) Nicholls, Pedersen, Grajczonek, Pawlicki (fell, excluded) 56.9 (18-12)
Ht 6: Ward, Janowski, Kylmakorpi, Woodward (ret.) 57.2 (19-17)
Ht 7: Grajczonek, Lahti, Halsey, Johnson 58.0 (22-20)
Ht 8: Kennett, Woodward, Kylmakorpi, Pawlicki (fell) 56.9 (25-23)
Ht 9: (re-run) Halsey, Newman, Johnson, Blackbird (fell, excluded) 58.7 (28-26)
Ht 10: Pedersen, Lahti, Janowski, Pawlicki (fell) 56.9 (33-27)
Ht 11: (awarded) Nicholls, Kylmakorpi, Grajczonek, Ward (fell) (38-28)
Ht 12: Kennett, Newman, Blackbird, Lahti 58.2 (39-33)
Ht 13: Pedersen, Ward, Janowski, Nicholls 57.2 (42-36)
Ht 14: (re-run) Woodward, Newman, Halsey, Grajczonek (fell, excluded) 58.7 (46-38)
Ht 15: Pedersen, Nicholls, Ward, Kennett (fell) 57.4 (50-40)