POOLE snatched victory from the jaws of second place to go to the top of the Dorset Novice League following a second round thriller at Weymouth.

They now go into next month’s final at Littledown as the only unbeaten team, making them favourites to take the title for the first time.

Poole’s victory was achieved despite scoring zero points in 12 of the 44 events due to three disqualifications and nine so-called “speeding tickets” in which swimmers are penalised for swimming faster than the designated cut-off time.

Speeding tickets are almost invariably personal best times and Poole recorded 23 of those in 32 individual events.

But the loss of league points also left them in fourth place overall at the halfway stage.

After 33 events Poole had pulled themselves up to joint second place but Clayesmore were still 18 points ahead.

By the final event they had reduced the gap to two points but Clayesmore still needed only to finish within two places of Poole in the mixed cannon relay to secure an overall victory.

In the event, Poole finished first to Clayesmore’s fourth in this final race, giving them the gala win by a single point.

Poole’s assistant coach Jan Hutchings said: “Our head coach Robin Armayan is always telling the swimmers never to give up and this is why. By racing hard to the very end, we pulled off a brilliant win – just!”

Poole’s individual winners were: 10/u Edward Burden 50m free, Owen Stockley 25m fly, Olivia Kemp 50m breast. 11/u Lauren Purchase 50m free, Jon Donnelly 50m fly. 12/u Elizabeth Brednya 50m breast, Isabelle Taylor 50m free, Byron Booker 50m free, Charlotte Smith 50m back, Oliver Weston 50m back. 14/u Rafael McCreath 50m back, Amelia Thomas 50m breast, Lawrence Scott 50m breast, Grace Parish 50m free.

• In the other round two gala at Bridport, Seagulls achieved a six-point victory margin to dislodge West Dorset Warriors from the top of the table.

Both go into the final on 11 league points, one less than Poole.

Round two results (league positions in brackets) – Gala 1 (at Bridport): 1 (3) Christchurch Seagulls 182, 2 (2) West Dorset Warriors 176, 3 (6) Tornadoes of South Dorset 160, 4 (8) Bridport Barracudas 128, 5 (9) Blandford Flyers 115, 6 (10) North Dorset Turboes 102.

Gala 2 (at Weymouth): 1 (1) Poole 142, 2 (5) Clayesmore 141, 3 (4) Wareham Water-Rats 132, 4 (7) Swim Bournemouth 120, 5 (11) Bere Regis 69. DNS (12) Bournemouth SC.