Coventry Buildbase Bees’ hopes of a good finish to the season ended last Friday when a woeful display saw them lose their home leg of the Knock Out Cup final by a fourteen point margin.
This left them on mission impossible in the second leg and although they turned in a slightly better performance they were never really going to trouble an injury hit Poole team.
Bees 38, Poole 52.
Knock Out Cup Final 1st leg
Bees were at near full strength with just Richard Hall guesting at reserve in place of the two unavailable doubling-up riders. For Poole it was a different matter for already without Darcy Ward, they had also lost new World Champion Chris Holder after a crash in the semi-final the previous night. They therefore recruited Niels Kristian Iversen and Rory Schlein to fill the heat leader positions. They also operated rider replacement for the also injured Piotr Pawlicki.
The track had needed a considerable amount of work during the day to make it raceable after the rain. Unfortunately it left it slick which gating all the more important.
Poole’s choice of guests soon proved beneficial with Iversen easily winning heat one with Ludvig Lindgren second and Aaron Summers third. Chris Harris retired on the first lap with machine problems.
Sam Masters won heat two with the Bees reserves holding out for the minor places despite Hall almost wiping out Michal Szczepaniak after lifting coming out of turn two.
Kenni Larsen won heat three from the gate with Scott Nicholls coming out of a tight and bumpy second turn holding second. The resulting maximum brought the scores back level.
It was Poole ahead again at the second attempt to run heat four. Problems for Linus Eklof on the first turn allowed Edward Kennett and Hall through but there was no way of catching Schlein.
In this particular competition pairings catch choose who goes off which of their allocated gate positions and the swift Iversen was an easy winner of heat five. Larsen fell entering turn one but the race was not stopped so despite Nicholls taking second Poole went back ahead.
Bees were again outgated by Schlein and Masters in heat six and hopes of taking a substantial lead to Poole for the second leg were quickly disappearing.
Kennett and Hall were on a 4-2 in heat seven before Hall fell on turn three.
Krzysztof Kasprzak was another rider to get his gating together and was an easy winner of a processional heat eight. With his partner Masters taking third, the visitors now led by 28-20.
Being eight points behind Bees called for a man on man race which saw Kennett beaten by Schlein. The three points on offer only go to the team who called for the race so no points were awarded.
Schlein won a shared heat nine before Summers, for the first time given the better gate, beat Kasprzak to take heat ten. Unfortunately Harris was still underpowered and trailed at the back.
Iversen won heat eleven before the visitors increased their lead in heat twelve with Harris, now on Kennett’s machine, getting the better of Schlein to salvage two points.
Another man on man was called for after heat twelve but once again no advantage was gained with Iversen defeating Nicholls.
The familiar sight of Poole leading into the first turn was again evident in heat thirteen with Iversen carrying on with his winning ways and although Nicholls went by Lindgren, Kennett could not follow suit.
Szczepaniak rode a good race in heat fourteen to pass both visitors on turns one and two for a share of the points.
Iversen and Schlein took a 4-2 in the final race to give Poole a 52-38 victory and almost certainly ensure that some silverware will be heading for Wimborne road to compensate for the earlier playoff defeat.
This was a night to forget for Bees. They went into the match against a patched up Poole side in an optimistic mood but it all went horribly wrong. Bees produced just four race winners and coupled with twelve zero scores a win was never on the cards.
Bees scorer’s; Nicholls 10, Szczepaniak 7, Summers 6, Kennett 5(2), Larsen 4(1), Hall 3(1), Harris 3.
Poole 50, Bees 40,
Knock Out Cup Final 2nd Leg
Poole win on aggregate 102-78.
Bees needed a miracle if they were to overcome the deficit from the first leg. Bees made one change with local rider Brendan Johnson drafted in after programmed guest Richard Hall was called up to ride elsewhere. Poole retained Iversen and Schlein and brought in Morten Risager and Kyle Howarth to replace Sam Masters and Linus Eklof.
Rain had affected the track and efforts to get the meeting on left it slick and once again it was a gaters paradise.
Schlein won the opening heat before Szczepaniak showed his liking for the circuit by winning the reserves race.
The points were shared in the opening heats but in heat three Risager took third place from a disappointing Larsen and with partner Kasprzak winning, Poole were ahead on the night. Two more shared heats followed with Iversen and Harris taking the flag.
Another 3-3 looked in prospect before Howarth came from the back to beat Johnson in heat six to increase the home lead to four.
Another home 4-2 in next put paid to any Bees fight back and it was now just waiting for the inevitable.
Kasprzak won the battle of the Poles in heat eight before combining with Risager for a heat nine 4-2.
Bees then called for a man on man race but Iversen beat Harris so no points were awarded.
Up until this point racing had been pretty processional but Nicholls and Schlein produced the first real race of the night in heat ten with Nicholls finally getting the advantage. Lindgren had fallen so with Larsen picking up his first point of the night, Bees had gained their first heat advantage.
Iversen and Howarth took maximum points over Harris in heat eleven to make sure of the cup.
Nicholls and Schlein were involved in another good race in heat twelve with Nicholls again having to come from behind for his win. No advantage was gained as Kennett went the other way in his battle for third with Risager.
Poole slammed in another 5-1 in heat thirteen before two Bees 4-2’s gave some respectability to the score.
Bee’s best riders were Sczepaniak and Nicholls with the former dropping just two points.
Bees scorers; Szczepaniak 13, Nicholls 11, Harris 6, Kennett 5(1), Summers 2(2), Larsen 2, Johnson 1.
The season that promised much and produced very little is now over and the new promotional team have some hard decisions to make over the winter.
At Saturday’s end of Season Dinner promoter Mick Horton said that he would build the team from the bottom upwards. To this end Aaron Summers, Michal Szczepaniak and Adam Roynon, who received the rider of the year award, will all figure in next year’s plans. Changes appear to be in the offing at the top end although despite several rumours nothing has been decided on that score yet.
The annual promoter’s conference is soon to take place and team changes will depend on the outcome of that.