Elite League Grand Final: Poole Pirates beat Birmingham Brummies 57-36 in first leg
Poole Pirates thrashed the Birmingham Brummies 57-36 in the first leg of the Elite League Grand Final at Wimbourne Road.
Last Updated: 08/10/13 8:46am
Birmingham may have finished the season top of the standings, but they proved no match for an inspired Pirates outfit on their home patch with Greg Hancock (14 points) and Darcy Ward (13 points) leading the way.
Right from the off things went wrong for Birmingham; a keyed-up Jason Doyle got himself excluded from the first heat after touching the tape and Poole set the tone for the evening as Ward and Tomas H Jonasson promptly stormed to a 5-1.
Although Poole won the next two heats through Josh Grajczonek and Hancock, Birmingham did claim the minor places to stay in touch and Chris Harris then produced a superb ride to win heat four as the gap remained at just four points.
But Poole then pulled away and extended their lead to 10 points after Hancock led home a 4-2 in heat six, prompting the visitors to send out Daniel King as a tactical rider on double points in the next.
The move backfired, though, as King suffered a heavy fall at turn three of the first lap. He was up and moving to the relief of Birmingham fans, but was disqualified from the heat which Poole went on to win 5-1 courtesy of Grajczonek and Maciej Janowski, moving them into a 28-14 lead.
Doyle (11 points) did reduce the deficit after winning heat eight on double points, but Hancock and Ward - who did not drop any points to a Brummies rider all night - continued to dominate when called upon as Poole extended their lead.
King did manage to spoil Hancock's perfect record by getting the better of the American in heat 12, but it proved a rare moment of success on a tough night for Phil Morris and his men.
The Pirates brought up 50 points as Janowski and Ward combined for a 5-1 in heat 13 and the imperious Australian then partnered Hancock to an emphatic, and rather predictable, 5-1 in the final heat as Poole finished with a whopping 21-point lead.
It means Birmingham have a mountain to climb in the return leg at Perry Bar next Monday, while Poole will make the trip to the Midlands knowing they already have one hand on the Grand Final trophy.