PIRATES succumbed to their first loss of the campaign after a 48-42 defeat at Leicester that went right to final-heat drama.

Drew Kemp (12+2) and Richard Lawson (12) were again impressive, but Pirates were left to settle for one point in the SGB Championship after Danny King was excluded from heat 15.

Kyle Howarth (13+1) top-scored for the Lions on a night he was only beaten by Lawson on one occasion.

Poole went into the contest at Beaumont Park facing a Leicester side with two wins from their opening three league meetings.

After being warned after an unsatisfactory start in the opener, Pirates number one Steve Worrall led from the front with a race victory ahead of Nick Morris and Connor Mountain.

The Lions then stamped their authority on the meeting in the reserves’ race.

Weymouth-born Anders Rowe led home partner Joe Thompson for a 5-1 for the home side – with Drew Kemp in third ahead of Poole’s Nathan Ablitt.

Leicester’s Howarth then got the better of in-form Lawson in a level heat three – before drama ensued in race four.

Richie Worrall was excluded after bringing down Poole skipper King. The former British champion then picked himself up to win the re-run ahead of Joe Thompson. Leicester led 13-11 at the first track grading.

Howarth then recorded his second race victory of the night after a close battle with Steve Worrall in race five. Dan Thompson got the better of Zach Cook, as Leicester moved 17-13 in front.

A pair of level races with Morris and Lawson taking the chequered flag in races six and seven then ensued. Pirates had a stroke of luck after Mountain’s bike packed up with the Lions on a 5-1 in heat six.

Poole team boss Neil Middleditch then switched reserves in race eight and it paid dividends. Kemp came in in place of Ablitt to seal a race win ahead of Leicester’s Joe Thompson and Mountain.

Howarth made it a hat-trick of race triumphs after slipping past Kemp and King on the second bend of the opening lap – the Pirates duo held on to the minor placings.

Lawson got the better of Morris in a tense battle in a shared race 10. Richie Worrall overcame twin brother Steve in a level race 11. Leicester led 35-31.

Poole then attempted to rally through talisman Lawson, after he finally lowered the colours of Howarth in race 12. Kemp took third spot as Pirates closed to two points the gap.

Captain King then came to the fore ahead of Richie Worrall and Morris – as team boss Middleditch then opted for a change in heat 14.

Kemp was brought in, in place of out-of-sorts Ben Cook, alongside Ablitt. The Poole reserve rocket did the business with a heat win but, with Ablitt at the back, the visitors were two behind going into the finale.

And more drama took place in heat 15. With Pirates ahead, King was excluded after hitting the deck with Richie Worrall for the second time on the night.

That meant Poole could not prevail overall in the re-run.

And Richie Worrall and Howarth wrapped up the contest with a 5-1 in the finale, to seal victory by six points and inflict Pirates’ first loss of the campaign.