THIS was not in the script.

Darcy Ward’s return to the Pirates line-up was intended to kick an already-healthy season on to the next level, but as it was, the Aussie’s first Elite League outing this year proved a mere sideshow to a sublime Coventry fightback.

The Bees, who did not secure a single heat advantage in the first 10 races, benefited from an inspired Kenneth Hansen as they clawed their way back from 12 points down to record a 48-47 triumph.

It was Pirates’ first home defeat since August last year and gave Neil Middedlitch’s men an almighty reality check ahead of their trip to league leaders King’s Lynn.

Defeat left the Dorset club third in the Elite League table, with seven victories from their opening 10 outings.

They are six points behind table-toppers Lynn.

Pirates: 1 Darcy Ward 10+1, 2 Josh Grajczonek 7, 3 Shamek Pawlicki 11, 4 Vaclav Milik 6+1, 5 Maciej Janowski 6+1, 6 Kyle Newman 5+1, 7 Ben Hopwood 2+2.