MACIEJ Janowski celebrated his 23rd birthday in the finest possible style as Pirates added further momentum to their play-off drive with a rampant display against Swindon tonight.
Neil Middleditch’s men triumphed 56-35 and Janowski’s 15-point paid maximum against his former club proved the star turn of a very satisfying evening’s work at Wimborne Road.
Pirates now have a 12-point cushion in the play-offs with 10 meetings remaining of the regular Elite League season.
Displays like Janowski’s will give owner Matt Ford reason to believe that his side can beat anyone in the end-of-season showpiece, particularly given that the Pole was well backed up by all his team-mates.
Vaclav Milik was again impressive and Benji Compton scored three points at reserve on his debut, while Poole clearly benefited from lacklustre displays by Swindon’s Troy Batchelor and guest Richie Worrall, in for the unavailable Simon Gustafsson.
That said, Pirates made a less than ideal start to proceedings.
Captain Darcy Ward retired from heat one after receiving an almighty shove from opposing number one Peter Kildemand on the opening bend, enabling the visitors to record a 5-1 maximum.
Kyle Newman bossed the reserves’ opener backed up by debutant Benji Compton in third, before Janowski stormed from last to first as Poole notched the first home maximum of the night.
The close attentions of Milik were not enough to fray the nerves of Swindon second-stringer Dakota North, who repeatedly blocked the Czech’s path in heat three.
Janowski then pulled off one of the rides of the season at Wimborne Road when relegated to 15m back following a tapes offence, the former Swindon man overhauling first Richie Worrall and then Nick Morris on his way to second behind Ward.
Heat six was shared as Kildemand bagged an easy victory, before Nick Morris’s twitching seemed to set off Grajczonek to break the tapes in a near-carbon copy of heat five.
Grajczonek fought back for third place off 15 metres and that in tandem with Newman’s second straight win allowed the hosts to take a 24-18 advantage into the second track grading.
Milik scorched to three points following the resumption and Shamek Pawlicki had just about enough speed to keep out the tenacious North, while Richie Worrall was also in close attendance.
Serious injury was narrowly avoided in heat nine when Compton laid his bike down but collided with the fallen Nathan Greaves, who withdrew from the meeting soon after.
Pirates lost out 3-2 on the re-run following Newman’s retirement at the start line.
Ward and Grajczonek then blitzed the challenge of the out-of-sorts Batchelor in heat 10, before yet another aborted race saw Pawlicki and Morris hurled from their machines.
Janowski’s bend-two cutback denied Kildemand denied a tactical triumph on the re-run and heat 12 was shared after Grajczonek took the chequered flag in straightforward fashion.
An overtime effort was required from Ward to nick third from Batchelor on the final bend in the next outing, but again Janowski cruised to victory followed an untroubled four laps.
Pirates’ win was in the bag following a 5-1 maximum in the penultimate race, before Ward selflessly let Janowski through for his fourth win of the night in the final showdown.
Poole are due to make the trip to Lakeside on Friday for their third meeting in five days.
Pirates 56: 1 Darcy Ward (r-3-3-1-2*) 9+1, 2 Josh Grajczonek (1-1-2*-3) 7+1, 3 Shamek Pawlicki (2*-2-2*-fx) 6+2, 4 Vaclav Milik (2-1*-3-3) 9+1, 5 Maciej Janowski (3-2*-3-3-3) 14+1, 6 Benji Compton (1-0-2) 3, 7 Kyle Newman (3-3-r-0-2*) 8+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
Robins 38: 1 Peter Kildemand (2*-3-4^-2-1) 12+1, 2 Dakota North (3-3-1-2) 9, 3 Richie Worrall, guest (1-0-0-0) 1, 4 Nick Morris (1-2-1*-1) 5+1, 5 Troy Batchelor (r-0-1-0) 1, 6 Nathan Greaves (0-0-fx) 0, 7 Steve Worrall (2-1-3-1*-0) 7+1. Team manager: Alun Rossiter.
Ht 1: North, Kildemand, Grajczonek, Ward (retired), 60.66 (1-5)
Ht 2 (re-run): Newman, S Worrall, Compton, Greaves, 61.38 (5-7)
Ht 3: Janowski, Pawlicki, R Worrall, Batchelor (retired), 60.63 (10-8)
Ht 4: North, Milik, S Worrall, Compton, 60.88 (12-12)
Ht 5 (re-run): Ward, Janowski (tapes 15m), Morris, R Worrall, 60.62 (17-13)
Ht 6: Kildemand, Pawlicki, Milik, Batchelor, 60.03 (20-16)
Ht 7 (re-run): Newman, Morris, Grajczonek (tapes 15m), Greaves, 61.62 (24-18)
Ht 8: Milik, Pawlicki, North, R Worrall, 60.34 (29-19)
Ht 9 (re-run): S Worrall, Compton, Newman (retired), Greaves (fell/dsq), 61.56 (31-22)
Ht 10: Ward, Grajczonek, Batchelor, R Worrall, 60.31 (36-23)
Ht 11 (re-run): Janowski, Kildemand (tactical), Morris, Pawlicki (fell/dsq), 60.50 (39-28)
Ht 12: Grajczonek, North, S Worrall, Newman, 61.00 (42-31)
Ht 13: Janowski, Kildemand, Ward, Batchelor, 60.37 (46-33)
Ht 14: Milik, Newman, Morris, S Worrall, 61.72 (51-34)
Ht 15: Janowski, Ward, Kildemand, North (retired), 61.07 (56-35)
STAR RIDER - MACIEJ JANOWSKI
On his 23rd birthday, the Pole gave the complete performance in front of an adoring home support.
Ironically, his lowest-scoring ride was probably his best, as he came from 15 metres back to finish second in heat five.
A bend-two cutback on Robins number one Peter Kildemand in heat 11 was also a highlight, while the Pole also led well when he gated.
Janowski deserved his paid maximum, ultimately courtesy of a selfless act by skipper Darcy Ward.