GARY Havelock failed to hide his disappointment after watching his Coventry Bees side lose 58-31 to Poole in the second leg of their Elite League play-off semi-final, which ended their hopes of winning the league title, writes Observer speedway reporter Robin Allen.
The scores were level at 45-45 heading into Monday’s meeting at Wimborne Road after a thrilling first leg at Brandon, which saw the Bees come from eight points behind with two races remaining.
Both Hans Anderson and Danny Kking came up with two memorable 5-1s to keep Havelock’s side in the leg.
But without Joonas Kylmakorpi and fast-track reserve Jason Garrity, who sustained an ankle injury in a crash at Brandon in the first leg, the Bees failed to make an impact on the south coast.
And with Poole at almost full strength after calling upon Edward Kennett to guest for Dakota North, with the Aussie given time away from the sport on doctor’s advice, the Bees failed to progress to the grand final.
“I’m very disappointed and gutted in fact but it is what it is, and there’s not a lot we can do about it – we just weren’t good enough.” said Havelock
“The majority of the season we were top of the league – everything was going good! But you can’t account for injuries in speedway unfortunately, if we had our full team for both legs it would of been a different story that’s for sure.”
There had been some controversy ahead of the meeting after the Bees approached the BSPA regarding Kennett’s inclusion, with North given leave on ‘compassionate grounds’ following as crash involving his father in Australia.
Bees promoter Mick Horton was not happy after finding out the accident happened before Friday’s meeting and he claimed the swap was used because of North’s poor performance at Brandon.
Despite that, the visitors never really got into the meeting after conceding seven heat advantages in the first eight heats. Guest reserve Adam Ellis was their only race winner in the opening heats with a great gate in heat two.
Havelock was forced to put captain Chris Harris on a tactical ride in heat six but Bees’ luck seemed to have run out completely as the Grand Prix star fell while chasing former teammate Kennett for the lead which handed Poole a 5-1.
The visitors could not seem to get a footing in the meeting with only four race wins and no heat advantages meant they could not make an impact on the scoreline despite being backed by a large away following, who Havelock paid tribute to.
He added: “They were sensational as always, they were there in big numbers and it’s a shame we couldn’t keep it a bit closer for them.
“I’ve enjoyed it – but it’s like last year it’s disappointing to lose, I don’t know whether it’s worse to lose in the semi-final or the final.
“I said to the lads you need to remember this pain because you can use it as motivation for next year and come back stronger.”