PIRATES guaranteed top spot in the SGB Championship this season after a 52-38 victory over Redcar at Wimborne Road.

Skipper Danny King top-scored with 14 points for the home side with Steve Worrall (13) just missing out on a maximum in heat 15.

Finishing at the league summit means Pirates will progress to the play-off semi-finals and have the pick of the quarter-final winners in the last four.

Poole went into the contest knowing a draw or better against the Bears would earn them top spot in their first completed campaign back in the second tier.

The home side, who had both bosses Neil Middleditch and Gary Havelock in the pits on the night, were again without the injured Stefan Nielsen, meaning Anders Rowe stepped in to guest at reserve.

Redcar were able to name a full one-to-seven for the contest, knowing victory would strengthen their grip on a top-two place.

But it was a superb start for the home side as charismatic Dane Benjamin Basso took the chequered flag in heat one, showing superb speed to lead from tapes to flag.

He roared over the line ahead of former British champion Charles Wright, with Rory Schlein third to give Poole an early advantage.

Not to be outdone, Poole’s rising star Danyon Hume sealed the spoils in race two, in another 4-2 for the home side. Guest Rowe pushed Jordan Jenkins all the way for second but just failed to reel in the Redcar racer.

As has so often been the case in heat three this season, Worrall came to fore to triumph in a shared race between the sides – leading home Redcar duo Jake Allen and Lewis Kerr.

It was then the turn of King to lead from the gate in heat four, showing a clean pair of heels to Michael Palm Toft with Hume earning a point for third spot. Poole moved into a 15-9 lead at the first track grading.

Worrall then made it two out of two on the night with a dominant display in race five, getting to the first turn in front of Wright and looking comfortable out in front, with his team-mate Ben Cook back in third.

A brilliant move from Basso then helped Poole on their way to a 5-1 in heat six. The former world youth champion roared round the outside of bends one and two to emerge in front with Schlein in support to team ride ahead of Palm Toft.

Redcar sealed their first race win of the night in heat seven, with former Pirate Lewis Kerr getting the better of home skipper King in second - he had passed Allen round the outside to split the Bears duo.

Drama then ensued in heat eight as Basso, who had made the gate, appeared to straighten up around turn one and hit the air fence – he was excluded from the rerun and had to withdraw from the meeting.

That left Hume to go it alone against Bears duo Jenkins and James Sarjeant and he could not lay a glove on the pair, as Redcar recorded a 5-1 to reduce to six points the gap overall.

Lewis Kerr was then introduced as a tactical substitute for the visitors in heat nine, but Pirates squandered the chance to seal a 5-1 of their own.

Race winner Worrall led out in front with Cook on his tail in second, before losing control on bend four and being relegated to the back.

Schlein took the spoils in a shared heat 10 to keep Poole’s lead intact before some heroics from King in race 11 produced a stunning 5-1.

With Rowe out in front, the Poole skipper showed sublime speed to surge around the outside and take the chequered flag, sending the home crowd wild and taking Poole to a 38-28 lead.

Worrall then made it four out of four with ease in race 12, he headed Allen in second with Hume picking up a point for third to extend to 12 points the overall lead.

And top spot was confirmed for Pirates with King and Schlein teaming up for a 5-1 after Wright lost control on bend three.

The Bears answered back with a 5-1 advantage in the penultimate heat – with Kerr and Jenkins sealing a one-two ahead of Cook and Rowe.

Worrall then missed out on a maximum having been nominated for heat 15 and finishing third behind Kerr and race winner King, who completed a fine night’s work.

Pirates: Schlein 8+2, Basso 6, Worrall 13, Cook 2, King 14, Rowe 3+1, Hume 6.