POOLE Pirates will have to produce a strong showing at Wimborne Road if they are to clinch the SGB Championship title.

Pirates were beaten 50-40 by Glasgow Tigers in the first leg of the play-off Grand Final at Ashfield, the visitors sealing just two heat advantages on a tough night north of the border.

Craig Cook (11+1) and Tom Brennan (10) led the way for the hosts, with Rory Schlein (9+1) and Danny King (9) the pick of the Pirates riders.

It means Poole will have to show another impressive home display, as they have all year, if they are to secure the league and cup double.

Glasgow Tigers boasted a full one-to-seven at Ashfield, while Poole were still without the injured Stefan Nielsen.

Birmingham Brummies ace Jack Thomas had been booked in to guest. However, with the updated list of averages kicking in at the start of this month, Thomas has moved up from 4.67 to 4.91, now exceeding Nielsen’s 4.79, meaning he was ineligible to guest in his place for the delayed final.

Instead, Zach Cook, who has starred in recent home meetings for Poole, took the vacant number six spot.

Poole got off to a nightmare start when number one Steve Worrall burst through the tapes in the opening heat.

But reserve Benjamin Basso quickly made amends, stepping in for Worrall and storming to victory on his Ashfield debut, as the heat was shared.

Poole got their noses in front in heat two. After Marcin Nowak was penalised for touching the tapes, he started with a 15-metre handicap, giving the visitors the advantage. Guest Zach Cook stormed out the gate, holding off the challenge of Connor Bailey to take the win, with Basso in third.

Sam Jensen’s bike locked up in heat three to ensure Pirates maintained their narrow advantage, finishing at the back with Brennan well out in front.

Heat four was again shared. Gate four was proving fruitful with King this time profiting, storming into an early lead which he would not squander. Basso’s third outing in quick succession took its toll as he trailed at the back.

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Tigers then levelled up the contest with their first heat advantage. Brennan took victory by a large margin ahead of Worrall, before Jensen nipped ahead of Danyon Hume to secure the 4-2, levelling the contest at 15-15.

That proved to be the first of three successive advantages for the hosts. Craig Cook held off King to put Glasgow ahead for the first time in the meeting, before Glasgow secured a maximum in heat seven.

Nowak stormed around the outside of Schlein on bend two of the opening lap, with former Pirate Ricky Wells then also getting ahead of the Aussie, with Ben Cook struggling at the back.

Hume then got off the mark for the night, but Poole squandered the chance for a maximum of their own. Basso out in front crashed into the fence, but Hume came through from second to hold on to the race win, to at least earn a share of the spoils.

There was another faller in heat nine, also on a similar spot around bend three, with Jensen hitting the deck as Brennan took the flag in another 3-3, the hosts still six points ahead.

Tigers had their eyes on extending that advantage to double figures in heat 10. After a poor start from Schlein and Ben Cook, Craig Cook and Broc Nicol got themselves out in front. However, Schlein battled back to nip ahead of Nicol on the final lap, in what could prove to be a crucial pass in the final reckoning.

The same hazardous spot on the track claimed its next victim in heat 11. With Pirates on a 5-1, Hume in second slipped down, with Worrall taking a vital race win to ensure the deficit did not extend, Poole trailing 37-29.

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That lead was cut after a super pass by Schlein in heat 12. Jensen got out in front out the gate, but Schlein dug in to get ahead of the Dane, while Zach Cook held off Connor Bailey.

But it was soon advantage Glasgow again. Wells made a strong start to get out in front, but with the heat looking like it would be shared, Tigers number one Craig Cook got ahead of Worrall, but King held firm to take second.

Brennan, seeking to continue his perfect night, was left upset after being excluded from heat 14. As he looked to get past Basso on the outside, Brennan went into the air fence, with the Dane not punished.

And Glasgow extended their advantage to 10 points with victory in the final heat. Schlein was out in front, but got caught by Craig Cook, with Brennan finishing ahead of King in third.

Tigers will bring their 50-40 lead to Wimborne Road for the second leg on Thursday night.

Pirates 40: Steve Worrall 5, Danyon Hume 3, Rory Schlein 9+1, Ben Cook 2, Danny King 9, Zach Cook 6+2, Benjamin Basso 6.

Glasgow 50: Craig Cook 11+1, Broc Nicol 6, Sam Jensen 3, Tom Brennan 10, Ricky Wells 9+1, Marcin Nowak 7+1, Connor Bailey 4+2.