Despite a bitter easterly Easter day wind, the South Coast derby between Poole and Southampton served up some lively action to warm up the crowd, with the Saints in close contention until the closing heats.
Poole made four changes from the team that was victorious at Exeter last week while the Saints were missing a couple of their top end names in, what for them, was their season opener. This served to even up the procedings with just a point separating the sides after 6 races. The home side did not help their cause with two early exclusions but built up an eight point lead by the interval.
The same margin separated the teams after five more races with each side picking up a brace of 7 - 3s as the visitors brought in their top two scorers Hayden Chant and Dan Miller for additional tactical rides. The hosts found their feet in the closing races with three race wins on the bounce to give the scoreline a slightly flattering look.
Poole were solid from 1 to 8 with Steve Harris putting in another classy display while the Saints leaned on Chant, Miller and captain Gav Wheeler for the bulk of their points. Wheeler and Harris clashed twice and the verdict on the two Elite league team mates was one apiece as Gavin finished ahead in heat 3 and Steve turned the tables in an exciting heat 18 with a well executed pass on the final lap of a sportingly contested local derby.
POOLE 97 (Steve Harris 16+3, Chris Roberts 15+1, Aaron Smith 14, Wil Bristowe 13+2, Sam Hearn 12+1, Luke Armes 12, Chris Shylock 9+1, Niall Instone 6+1).
(Dan Miller 19+1, Hayden Chant 18, Gavin Wheeler 14+1, Josh Robertson 9+1, Pete Chant 7+2, Connor Wilson 6, James Colling 3, Lewis Wilson 3.)
Referee - Mike Legge
Callum Smith 11 Chris Blundell 10 Shane Hanmer 8 Niall Instone 7 Kristina Mines7 Frazer Garnett 4 Caris Glover 3. (+ 30p/pts).
Josh Robertson 16 Pete Chant 15 Connor Wilson 14 James Colling 13 Lewis Wilson 7 Ashley Wilson 5.