TOP performer Richard Lawson feels Poole Pirates “sent out a good marker” with victory in their league opener at Berwick Bandits, but admitted: “It was backs-against-the-wall time.”

Pirates trailed by 10 points early on at Shielfield Park, and were down a rider with Zach Cook forced out of the meeting after a crash in his opening ride.

But Poole dug in, eventually emerging 46-44 victors, Lawson playing a key role with 14+1 from six rides, including three race wins.

Reflecting on victory to begin the SGB Championship campaign, the 38-year-old said: “It was a bad start from pretty much all of us, but we pulled through.

“We lost Zach early and it was backs-against-the-wall time and we came through.

“Everyone dug deep and there were great times from everyone. A last-heat decider and it is nice when it goes that way, but it was tough.”

Bournemouth Echo: Poole Pirates came from behind to win at Berwick

Bandits needed a maximum to force a super heat, but Lawson managed to split the home pair of Josh Pickering and Rory Schlein, with his second place enough for Poole.

“There wasn’t much room there in heat 15 and there was really only one option and I took it and to be fair, Schleiny rode me very hard, but it was fair,” recalled Lawson.

“It takes two to make for a good race.

“This is a track you can ride hard on, for sure, but against the right opponent. It can be sketchy, but when there is good, fair racing, it is good.”

The Cumbrian added: “It’s fantastic to get off with a good opening league win.

“We all said that this would be a really difficult meeting. They are a really good side and especially here at their track, so we sent out a good marker there.

“Dan said it would be good to end the weekend still in the cup and with league points on the table, so job done.”

Poole return to action on Wednesday, away at Oxford Cheetahs in the BSN Series (7.30pm).