PIRATES returned to the top of SGB Premiership following a convincing 48-42 success over league rivals Ipswich Witches.

No fewer than four home riders recorded double figures for the defending league champions, with Nicolai Klindt (10+2), Jack Holder (10+2), Nico Covatti (10+2) and Josh Grajczonek (10) all making important contributions.

The success earned Neil Middleditch’s men three league points and put them above previous leaders Belle Vue in the table.

Pirates tracked guest Ben Barker at number two in place of the injured Richie Worrall, while the hosts ran rider replacement in place of Aussie ace Brady Kurtz, who was still unable to feature.

The visitors were without former Pirate Chris Harris, who was travelling to Russia to represent Great Britain in the Speedway of Nations finals.

Scott Nicholls guested in the number one spot for the Witches.

And Nicholls played his part as he and race winner Cameron Heeps paired up for a 5-1 in the first heat.

Poole duo Barker and Holder were left trailing from the opening turn.

Three weeks since being taken to hospital with a painful rib injury, Covatti announced his return to the Wimborne Road crowd with a heat victory in the reserves’ contest.

He led from the gate ahead of Edward Kennett, new recruit Ricky Wells finished third to help pull back two points for the hosts.

As so often has been the case for Poole in recent weeks, the duo of Klindt and Grajczonek teamed up to turn things in their favour.

Star skipper Grajczonek took the chequered flag in heat three and was followed home by Outrup-born Klindt. The visiting pair of Richard Lawson and Danny King were left at the back, with Poole taking the overall lead for the first time on the night.

Ipswich reserve Kennett was drafted in for the restart of heat four after Krystian Pieszczek touched the tapes.

The visitors still managed to level up the meeting at 12-12 however, when Jake Allen beat Holder to first place and Kennett passed Wells to earn Ipswich a 4-2.

The golden pairing of Grajczonek and Klindt restored the Dorset club’s lead after recording another one-two in heat five.

Captain Grajczonek made it two race wins on the night, with Klindt holding off the challenge of Nicholls to ensure a 5-1.

But there was nothing the skipper could to do to stop the Ipswich duo of heat winner Kennett and Pieszczek team riding their way to a commanding one-two ahead of himself and Barker in the following race.

Holder threw everything at Ipswich’s Danny King in a bid to claim victory in heat seven but the Witches skipper did a fine job in holding off the New South Wales star. Covatti finished ahead of Lawson for third.

Pirates found a stroke of luck in heat eight to keep the contest level. While Allen stormed to victory, Heeps suffered a mechanical failure having been in second – that left Pirates reserves Wells and Covatti to pick up the minor placings.

Grajczonek was again the man to step up in heat nine – he beat the duo of Kennett and Pieszczek as the clash continued to be on a knife-edge, with the scores deadlocked 27-27.

Pirates guest Barker took his first race win of the night in heat 10 – and an heroic effort from Klindt almost reeled in King for second. The Dane had to settle for third, meaning Pirates still edged into a two-point advantage.

The hosts then had to hold their nerve in a pulsating heat 11.

Covatti was judged to have taken the chequered flag just ahead of Holder – who showed a ride of real maturity to hold off veteran Nicholls and earn his side a crucial 5-1.

Klindt got back to winning ways by claiming a shared heat 12 before Holder sealed the spoils in heat 13 – Barker had just missed out on second after an enthralling battle with Ipswich’s Pieszczek.

There was then disappointment for Grajczonek as his bike packed up in heat 14.

Tactical substitute King finished first ahead of Covatti – but the Argentinian’s second place was enough to put the meeting to bed for Pirates.

King was back out again to take the win ahead of Klindt and Holder in the finale, but it was not to matter as Poole sealed victory to return to the league summit.