Friday’s draw leaves Bees in with chance of reaching play-off finals
Coventry Buildbase Bees left themselves with a chance of reaching the play-off finals after the last two races on Friday saw them come back from the dead to snatch a draw with Poole. It will take some effort to beat the Pirates on their own track but Bees have performed well there in the past so there is still hope.
Bees 45, Poole 45
Elite League play-off semi-final 1st leg
Bees were still without Joonas Kylmakorpi and brought in Fredrik Lindgren as a guest. Poole were at full strength.
Poole have won at Brandon twice already this season and again made the early running with Davey Watt and Chris Holder outgating Bees pair of Chris Harris and Kyle Howarth for an opening 5-1.
James Sarjeant led from the start in heat two with Jason Garrity joining him at the front at the end of lap one to level the scores.
Maciej Janowski appeared to jump the start of heat three but got away with it to win the heat. Bees’ pair of Danny King and Lindgren followed him home for a share of the points and keep the scores level.
Poole went ahead again in the next after Sarjeant was excluded for tape touching. His replacement Garrity could make no impression in the restart which was won by Kacper Gomolski. Hans Andersen traded places with Kyle Newman before taking second place.
Garrity had a better ride in the next using the outside line to win a shared heat and leave Bees just two behind.
Bees made the start to heat six but Janowski went by King for second place and keep the scores level.
Harris won heat seven with Lindgren battling hard for a well earned third place.
Andersen won heat eight with Sarjeant passing Paul Starke for third and leaving the score at 26-22 for Bees at the halfway stage.
The next two heats proved a disaster for Bees. A hectic turn two saw Newman and Gomolski muscle their way to the front and despite a good effort by Garrity took a maximum to bring the scores level.
Even worse came in the next. King made the start only to lift on the first turn and take a nasty fall. Fortunately the other riders avoided him so he was able to walk away uninjured. In the restart Holder and Watt outgated Lindgren to put Poole four ahead.
Garrity was the victim of first bend bunching in heat eleven and was sent flying into the fence. He was able to get up and came out to take his place in the rerun. Poole made the start but both Bees went by Dakota North on a good turn two for a share of the points.
Garrity was out again in the next which was again shared after Starke had fallen.
Harris and Lindgren were on the wrong end of a Poole 5-1 in the next and with two heats to go Poole led by eight and the tie looked beyond Bees.
Once again Bees fighting spirit came to the fore. King took another tumble at the start of heat thirteen but came back in the rerun which saw King and Andersen take the lead out of turn two and ride home for maximum points and give Bees a chance of a draw.
The same pair was nominated for the final race and did not disappoint. Andersen led from the start and good use of the outside line saw King take second place and the pair comfortably home to tie the scores at 45-45.
This still leaves Bees a monumental task in the second leg but a few heats earlier it could have been much worse. Bees’ stars were Andersen, in his best match for some weeks and King, who despite two falls, rode two terrific final heats. Howarth had an off night with three last places and it is hoped for a better performance in the second leg if Bees are to progress to the final.
Bees’ scorers: Andersen 13(1), Garrity 9(2), King 8(1), Harris 6(1), Sarjeant 6, Lindgren 3(1) Howarth 0.