STEFAN Nielsen was taken to hospital after crashing out of Poole Pirates' meeting at Birmingham Brummies this evening.

The Denmark-born Brit suffered the injury during the opening heat of the contest at Perry Barr Stadium.

After colliding Brummies' Valentin Grobauer, both men were treated on track.

A second ambulance was called, with Nielsen taken to hospital, complaining of rib and collarbone injuries.

After a delay of around an hour, the night's action got underway in earnest, but Pirates were severely hampered, already running rider replacement for the absent Benjamin Basso. The number two was unavailable due to a clash with his commitments in the Danish League play-offs.

That meant riding with just one rider for some heats throughout the night, and it eventually took its toll on the valiant visitors.

Danny King did his best with a 14-point haul, while Steve Worrall contributed 11, but it was not quite enough to take anything from the meeting as Birmingham surged to a late 49-41 victory.

With Nielsen, who had been taking the rider replacement slot for the opening heat, disqualified, Rory Schlein was Pirates' sole representative for the re-run opening heat, but he claimed victory ahead of the Birmingham pair.

Danyon Hume was given the sole Pirates duty in heat two, splitting the Brummies pair, before helping captain King to a 4-2 in heat three to give the visitors the lead on the night.

But Birmingham soon began to stretch open a lead, thanks to a maximum led by Ashley Morris in heat five and Erik Riss's race win. King did collect his second victory of the night, extending his streak following a maximum against the same opponents at Wimborne Road on Sunday. However, with no teammate to ride alongside, the heat was shared.

Shared heats eight and nine kept the scores tight, Birmingham ahead 28-26, before the meeting was levelled thanks to a Pirates 4-2 in heat 10.

Despite the best efforts of Chris Harris, Worrall held on for the win.

But Birmingham reasserted their authority with a maximum to get back in front. Schlein, who was enduring a tough night, was Pirates' only rider in the absence of Nielsen and could not challenge Riss or Paco Castagna.

Poole claimed victory in each of the next two heats, through Worrall and the imperious King, to reduce the arrears to 40-38.

But any hopes of a remarkable Pirates victory were dashed when Birmingham took a 5-1 in heat 14, led by Castagna.

Needing at least a shared heat to take a consolation point from the meeting, Poole suffered a 4-2 reverse with Harris the first man to beat King on the night.

Pirates will have to recuperate ahead of Friday's home meeting with Glasgow Tigers, as they look to maintain their top spot in the Championship.

Birmingham 49: Harris 9, Grobauer 2+2, Shanes 5+3, Morris 7+1, Riss 11, Castagna 11+1, Thomas 4.

Pirates 41: Schlein 5, Worrall 11, Cook 6+1, King 14, Nielsen 0, Hume 5+1.