PIRATES maintained their unbeaten home record this campaign, notching up a 13th straight victory at Wimborne Road by battling to a big win over Plymouth Gladiators.

Just eight points separated the sides mid-meeting with former Pirates hero Jason Crump leading the Plymouth charge.

But league leaders Poole pulled clear as the night wore on, clinching a 55-35 victory with Danny King (13+1) again top scoring for the hosts.

With Stefan Nielsen still out injured due to injuries suffered whilst riding against Birmingham last week, Ipswich Witches’s Anders Rowe stepped in as a guest at reserve.

Gary Havelock took charge of the team for the first time at Wimborne Road with Neil Middleditch absent. The pair have been sharing management duties this season, with Havelock previously looking after the side for some away meetings.

Plymouth also had a guest to complete their septet, with Ben Barker replacing Richard Lawson.

Pirates got off to a blistering start, recording maximums in each of the first two heats. Rory Schlein and Benjamin Basso led the charge in heat one, before Danyon Hume and Rowe quickly repeated the trick.

The visitors got their first race win of the night in a re-run heat three. Both Crump and Steve Worrall were warned for moving on the start line, and despite the Aussie legend appearing to go early again in the restart, the race was allowed to continue. Crump led from the tapes, but had to survive a strong challenge from Worrall.

The spoils were shared again in heat four, captain King dominating out in front, but Hume’s bike packed up after a fall, meaning the rising star failed to finish.

Poole reasserted their authority after the first track grading pause, Worrall and Ben Cook posting the hosts’ third 5-1 of the night.

Plymouth then secured their first heat win of the night. Guest Barker impressed out in front, holding off a challenge from Rory Schlein, who split the Gladiators pair with Basso struggling at the back.

King’s long unbeaten Wimborne Road record then finally came to an end. Having not lost a race in four home meetings, the Pirates skipper was beaten out the start by Crump and despite a strong challenge, could not quite reel him in.

Hume picked up his second race win of the night in heat eight, but with Basso’s bike packing up, the points were shared, leaving Pirates 28-20 ahead.

Ben Cook continued his good night with victory in heat nine, ahead of heat-leading duo Worrall and Barker, as well as brother Zach Cook.

And Pirates then pulled clear with back-to-back maximums. The first came in a re-run heat 10. After Crump was disqualified for an unsatisfactory start, Poole duo Schlein and Basso took their second 5-1 of the evening.

Weymouth-born youngster Rowe then showed his class, leading home Ipswich teammate King in the following heat, the Pirates skipper doing well to shut out newly-announced Poole hall of famer Pedersen into third again.

Worrall picked up his second race win of the night in the first heat after the interval, before the meeting victory was officially secured in the race of the night.

King produced a brilliant pass on both Gladiators Pedersen and Barker. Schlein almost pushed his way up to second, but settled for third.

Crump collected his third race win of the evening in heat 14, but Plymouth were denied their first maximum with Ben Cook fighting back to overtake Dillon Ruml.

And Pirates extended their winning margin to 55-35 as King won a star-studded heat 15, with Crump nipping ahead of Schlein to take third and leave Pedersen in fourth.

Pirates 55: Rory Schlein 10 (3, 2, 3, 1, 1), Benjamin Basso 4+2 (2+1, 0, R, 2+1), Steve Worrall 9 (2, 3, 1, 3), Ben Cook 8+2 (1+1, 2+1, 3, 2), Danny King 13+1 (3, 2, 2+1, 3, 3), Anders Rowe 5+1 (2+1, 0, 3, 0), Danyon Hume 6 (3, 0, 3, 0).

Plymouth 35: Bjarne Pedersen 5 (1, 1, 1, 2, 0), Zane Keleher 0 (0, 0, 0), Alfie Bowtell 2+1 (0, 1, 1+1), Jason Crump 11 (3, 3, X, 3, 2), Ben Barker 8 (2, 3, 2, 1, 0), Zach Cook 6 (1, 1, 2, 0, 0, 2), Dillon Ruml 3+1 (0, 1+1, 1, 1).