POOLE Pirates will have to produce a stellar performance if they are to progress to the Knockout Cup final.

Neil Middleditch's men were beaten 49-41 at Leicester Lions, in the first leg of the semis.

The two sides will go at it again at Wimborne Road on Wednesday, September 29.

Poole were missing three of their septet for the trip to Beaumont Park.

Rory Schlein was still unavailable following his positive COVID-19 test, while Stefan Nielsen continues to nurse his collarbone injury.

They were replaced by Charles Wright and Dillon Ruml as guests, while Pirates operated rider replacement for Benjamin Basso, who was a late withdrawal.

Leicester got off to a strong start, surging into an early 9-3 lead after two heats.

But back came Pirates to level at 12-12, with Steve Worrall and Danny King taking race wins.

The contest remained tight with Leicester edging ahead, before a maximum from Ben Cook and Danyon Hume in heat eight swung the contest in Poole's favour.

However, that proved to be the final time they led on the night.

Lions instantly tied things up and although the first leg was level at 36-36 after 12 heats, the home side pulled clear towards the end of the night.

Nick Morris did the damage, winning both heats 13 and 15 to end the night with a 15-point maximum.

He was ably supported by Hans Andersen (11+1), with Worrall (10) and Cook (9+3) top scoring for Pirates.

Pirates 41: Charles Wright 9, Steve Worrall 10, Ben Cook 9+3, Danny King 7, Dillon Ruml 3+1, Danyon Hume 3+1.

Leicester 49: Nick Morris 15, Dan Thompson 2, Ryan Douglas 8, Kyle Howarth 5, Hans Andersen 11+1, Joe Thompson 4+1, Zaine Kennedy 4.