BRILLIANT Ben Cook produced a rider-of-the-night performance as Poole Pirates claimed a hard-fought 49-41 victory over Edinburgh Monarchs.

The meeting was in the balance at the halfway stage, before Cook combined with Pirates’ top scorer on the night, Steve Worrall (13), for the pair’s second 5-1 of the evening.

The Aussie then ended his evening with a tally of 8+3 from his four rides, storming from third to win heat 14 and wow Wimborne Road.

Sam Masters (15) and guest Jason Edwards (10+1) led the charge for Edinburgh, while Richard Lawson (10) also made it to double figures for Pirates, who sit second in the Championship table.

Pirates again boasted their full one-to-seven, but Edinburgh arrived with just six, operating rider replacement for Lasse Fredriksen, who was ruled out with a broken shoulder. Edwards also filled in as a guest at reserve, with James Sarjeant injured.

Edwards was instantly called into action in heat one as Monarchs got off to a dream start. Masters shot out the traps, posting a quick winning time of 58.87 seconds ahead of Danny King, while Edwards held off Zach Cook as the visitors took a 4-2.

Pirates hit back in kind, down in part to Jacob Hook crashing out. As Nathan Ablitt looked to pass, the young Aussie lost control and went into the fence and was disqualified. The re-run was straightforward for Drew Kemp, with Edwards adding two more points to his own tally.

The hosts opened up a lead with a maximum in heat three. Worrall stormed out the gate and there was no catching him, while Ben Cook slotted into second. The result was awarded as Kye Thomson spun and fell on bend four of lap three.

The gap was cut to 13-11 as Josh Pickering showed his class in heat four, holding off Lawson, while Edwards finished ahead of Ablitt as the race split into two.

After the first track grading pause, the bumper crowd inside Wimborne Road were treated to the race of the night. Aussie Masters, himself a Pirate a decade ago, produced a masterful comeback win. Worrall and Ben Cook looked on course for another 5-1, only for Masters to first overtake Cook, before finally reeling in Worrall around the outside on the final lap.

King’s impressive ride then saw him ease to victory over Pickering, as Poole moved 20-16 ahead.

Pirates extended their lead further with their second maximum of the night. Lawson cruised to a tapes-to-flag win and, after a minor wobble, Kemp held off Thomson to take second.

Team manager Neil Middleditch opted for a reserve change in heat eight with Kemp replacing Ablitt, but the young Brit would not complete the race.

After a fine pass to move up into third, Kemp looked to reel in Paco Castagna and secure a 5-1 alongside leader Zach Cook. However, Kemp’s bike locked up, sending the 19-year-old flying over his handlebars and landing heavily on the shale. After some treatment, he hobbled back to the pits, as the result was awarded.

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The key point in the meeting then arrived after the second track grading pause. Monarchs boss John Campbell opted for a tactical sub, combining big hitters Masters and Pickering together for heat nine. However, Worrall shot to the front, with Ben Cook brilliantly holding off both his Aussie compatriots to clinch a Pirates maximum, putting them 33-21 ahead.

That lead looked set to be extended even further as Zach Cook moved up into second behind King in heat 10, before his bike packed up and the points were shared.

Edinburgh then reduced the arrears to 10 with Masters easing to victory over Lawson, while Kemp struggled at the back.

Worrall faced no issues in winning heat 12, but Poole’s hopes of a 4-2 were dashed with Ablitt pipped to third place on the final bend of lap four.

The hosts then essentially guaranteed victory on the night in a power-packed heat 13. Lawson came out on top for his second win of the evening, while Edinburgh’s star duo Masters and Pickering team rode well to leave King trailing at the back.

Ben Cook continued his impressive night with a crowd-pleasing double pass to win the penultimate heat. Sitting third, the diminutive Aussie snuck up past both Castagna and Edwards to take the win.

Needing a maximum to rescue a losing bonus point from the contest, Masters claimed the race win, but Pickering could only manage third as Pirates closed out a 49-41 victory.

Pirates 49: Danny King 8, Zach Cook 4, Steve Worrall 13, Ben Cook 8+3, Richard Lawson 10, Drew Kemp 5+1, Nathan Ablitt 1.

Edinburgh 41: Sam Masters 15, Kye Thomson 4+1, Paco Castagna 5+2, Josh Pickering 7+1, Jacob Hook 0, Jason Edwards 10+1.