THE ELITE League dream is over for Bees who were made to settle for runners-up position after Poole successfully defended their Championship.
The Pirates won the second leg of this year’s grand final 53-37 at Wimborne Road on Monday evening to secure a convincing 90-71 aggregate result.
But that did not paint a true picture of the story after two action packed meetings with riders from both teams showing full commitment.
The Bees were in contention right up until Heat 13 but ultimately it was the exploits of the Pirates’ Polish duo Maciej Janowski and Przemyslaw Pawlicki, along with high-scoring reserve Kyle Newman, which proved crucial as captain Janowski completed a paid maximum.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Bees boss Gary Havelock, who was gracious in defeat.
“We still had hope coming down here but in hindsight we probably lost it in the first leg at home.
“We needed to have a lead to come down here with really, and we didn’t manage to do that.
“But I can’t knock any of my boys, they’ve been fantastic this season and it’s been a pleasure working with each and every one of them.
“Over the two legs you have to hand it to Poole – they were the better side, it’s as simple as that, and we just didn’t quite make it.”
Bees headed into Monday’s second leg trailing by three points after Friday’s rain-shortened meeting at Brandon.
But they began in a determined mood by providing winners in four of the opening six races.
Unfortunately, the other two races saw them on the wrong end of 5-1s and with luck not exactly in good supply either, it meant they had dropped a further two points back on aggregate before Heat 7.
Kyle Howarth took the honours in Heat 1 and James Sarjeant then rode superbly in the re-start of Heat 2 to defeat Newman after Jason Garrity had crashed out.
The aggregate gap was down to one point, but in Heat 3 the fast-gating Max Fricke – in for Ben Barker, with an aggravation to his shoulder injury – was passed either side by Janowski and Pawlicki, and then collected by Bees captain Chris Harris going into turn three.
With Fricke down, the race was stopped and there was confusion over which Bees rider would be disqualified.
Eventually Harris was ejected from the race and the controversial decision was made to stop the race after the leader completed just two laps.
Sarjeant broke the tapes in Heat 4 but Garrity came in, only to be brought down by Vaclav Milik going into the first bend with all-four-back the verdict from the referee.
Howarth took the flag again in the re-run with Garrity third after an all-action first lap, as Bees levelled the scores on the night.
But Janowski and Troy Batchelor collected another 5-1 in Heat 5 and Bees couldn’t quite respond in full with Harris winning the next race but Andersen was pegged in third.
Garrity was involved in more spectacular action in Heat 7 as he eventually split Newman and Nick Morris, but with Kenneth Hansen at the back Poole were edging ahead.
And a 5-1 for the home side in Heat 8 saw Bees 11 points down on aggregate but they doggedly remained in contention throughout a succession of shared races.
Poole had a major scare in Heat 11 when Pawlicki and Janowski collided spectacularly. Pawlicki was disqualified but Janowski returned for the re-run to defeat Andersen, who had been the leader in the initial staging of the race.
Howarth’s third win on of the night in Heat 12 kept Bees in with a glimmer, but they needed major race advantages and it was Janowski who sealed the title for the Pirates with another spectacular effort to go past first Harris and then Andersen and take the honours in Heat 13.
The hosts completed 5-1s in each of the last two races to give the final score a more emphatic look, albeit not fully reflective of the competitive nature of the Final.