RICHARD Lawson’s final-heat heroics ensured Pirates rescued a point in a 45-45 SGB Championship draw at home against Plymouth.

The former Plymouth rider went solo after Danny King’s exclusion in heat 15, sealing a race win ahead of Kyle Howarth and Hans Andersen in a final-heat decider.

Neil Middleditch’s side had not been ahead for the entirety of the meeting at Wimborne Road but Lawson (11+1), King (10) and Drew Kemp (10) all racked up double figures.

Plymouth went into the contest without the injured Edward Kennett and Ben Barker, meaning Howarth replaced the latter as a guest booking.

Utilising rider replacement for Kennett, Howarth got off to the perfect start for the visitors in heat one. The 28-year-old led from tapes to flag ahead of Poole’s King and Zach Cook.

Ben Morley then took the chequered flag for the Gladiators in a level race two. With Kemp comfortable in second, Nathan Ablitt saw off the challenge of his opposite number Harry McGurk.

It was then Plymouth who gained the first race advantage of the night. After getting the better of the opening two bends, Michael Palm Toft and Howarth left the Poole duo of Ben Cook and Steve Worrall trailing for a 5-1 to the away side.

Former Pirates star Andersen then utilised a clever manoeuvre to get the better of Lawson. Morley was third as Plymouth led 15-9 at the first track grade.

Palm Toft was at it again in heat five, blitzing away from Steve Worrall to take the victory. Alfie Bowtell overcame the challenge of a battling Ben Cook for third as Plymouth extended to eight points their lead.

Pirates finally had a heat winner and advantage in race six. King led from tapes to flag with Andersen splitting him and Zach Cook.

Drama then ensued in a frightful spill in heat seven. After battling with Lawson for the front, Palm Toft was sent flying and took out the air fence on his way down off bend four as his bike reared up.

After an ambulance was called, the Dane managed to walk to the pits of his own accord before being withdrawn from the meeting.

Lawson was excluded from the re-run, with Kemp splitting the Plymouth pair of Howarth and Morley. Plymouth led 25-17.

The Gladiators increased their advantage in heat eight in a ding-dong battle. With Bowtell taking the victory, Zach Cook lost control in bid to get past him and ended up at the back. Kemp managed to secure second but another 4-2 for Plymouth saw them go 10 points ahead.

Pirates needed a catalyst and team boss Middleditch delivered it in heat nine. Using Lawson as a tactical substitute in place of Ben Cook – he teamed up with Worrall to deliver a 5-1 ahead of Andersen and McGurk and cut to six points the gap.

Star guest Howarth continued to be a pain for Pirates as he took another race win, ahead of King and Zach Cook in a level heat 10.

Poole attempted to rally through Lawson. He managed to pass Andersen round the outside after squeezing out Alfie Bowtell. Kemp was third for a Poole 4-2, with Plymouth still leading 35-31.

But guest Howarth again came to the party and was untouchable in heat 12, surging away from Worrall to seal his fourth win of the evening. Morley was third ahead of Ablitt as Plymouth edged closer to victory.

King claimed his second race win of the evening ahead of Andersen in heat 13, with Lawson in third, to help Poole reduce to four points the deficit with two races remaining.

And the hosts gave themselves a lifeline in dramatic fashion after heat 14. With Bowtell leading going into the final bend, he was swallowed up by eventual winner Kemp and Ben Cook as the hosts recorded a dramatic 5-1. That left the scores deadlocked at 42-42 with one heat remaining.

But the drama did not stop there. Home captain King lost control on bend one of the finale and was excluded, leaving Lawson the task of seeing off Andersen and Howarth.

And, somehow, Lawson pulled it off. He led from the gate and fended off a fierce challenge from Andersen to ensure a pulsating draw.