POOLE Pirates’ grip on the Championship Knockout Cup was lost after defeat in the final to Scunthorpe Scorpions.

Pirates had won the trophy in each of the past two years, but were unable to overturn the four-point deficit from the first leg.

The meeting was drawn 45-45 on the night, Scorpions winning 92-88 on aggregate, lifting the trophy for the first time in their history.

It represents a disappointing final few weeks of the season for Pirates, who also lost the Championship grand final to Glasgow Tigers.

They end their 2023 campaign by welcoming Leicester Lions to Wimborne Road on Wednesday night, in the delayed Jubilee League final.

Poole were back up to full strength for the first time in almost a month, Anders Rowe passed fit to feature following a spell out with concussion and illness.

Pirates staff worked hard to get the track ready for action after rain in the days and hours ahead of the meeting, but the first heat took three attempts to complete.

Rowe’s return instantly saw him hit the shale, colliding with Scorpions number one Ryan Douglas. On the re-run, Rowe was then excluded after bringing down teammate Richard Lawson.

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Things went from bad to worse as Douglas combined with Simon Lambert for a maximum, putting Scorpions eight points up on aggregate.

Poole hit straight back in the reserves race. Drew Kemp did have the lead, but both Kyle Newman and Joe Thompson got ahead of the former Pirates man, before Nathan Ablitt went into the air fence whilst in third. The result was awarded.

The next two races were shared with both Zach Cook and Kemp claiming wins from the gate, the latter impressively seeing off Steve Worrall. Thompson claimed an important point ahead of heat leader Palm Toft.

Lambert then clinched his second win of the night, holding off the strong challenge of Ben Cook, before victory for Lawson kept the second leg scores level.

Pirates then edged to within two points on aggregate. Newman picked himself up from a fall to take the minor placings in the re-run, Worrall out in front as the hosts went 22-20 up.

After heat seven, it was announced Rowe had withdrawn from the meeting, feeling the effects of his earlier crashes.

Newman came in for him in the subsequent race, sitting second behind the irrepressible Lambert, only for Kemp to reel Poole’s reserve in to claim a vital maximum.

But Pirates hit back immediately, Cook brothers Zach and Ben linking up to overtake Palm Toft, who had led from the gate.

Poole were on for another maximum in heat 10, only for Lawson to suffer brief mechanical gremlins which ruined his race, the score standing at 31-29.

Scorpions then opened up a bigger lead again, Lambert and Douglas taking it to the max to hold off Worrall, moving 81-75 ahead overall.

Wins for Ben Cook and Lawson kept the contest alive, but the visitors sealed the trophy in heat 14. After Newman had crashed out, Zach Cook needed victory in the re-run to avoid Scunthorpe taking the title.

At the back, the Aussie got up to second and almost pipped Kemp, but could not quite do enough.

Pirates at least maintained their unbeaten home record with victory in heat 15, but that proved mere consolation.

Pirates 45 (88): Lawson 10, Rowe 1, B Cook 8+1, Z Cook 8, Worrall 7, Newman 8, Thompson 3+2.

Scunthorpe 45 (92): Douglas 9+2, Lambert 12, Mountain 8, Allen 3+2, Palm Toft 3, Kemp 10+2, Ablitt 0.