OXFORD Cheetahs’ hopes of reaching the Jubilee League final are all-but over after an entertaining 45-45 draw with Poole Pirates at Sandy Lane.

The hosts had to beat the southern section leaders to boost their chances of topping the group and they were always in contention on a dramatic night.

A 5-1 in heat 15 would have earned Cheetahs the victory and some vital points, but they could only manage a 4-2 and were forced to share the spoils.

Cheetahs go to Poole tonight for their final Jubilee League fixture (7.30pm) and only a four-point win will keep them in contention.

Coach Peter Schroeck said: “Any other day I’d probably be happy, but we wanted a win.

“There’s nothing I can do about it, the boys rode their hearts out.

"Everybody is really fired up because we were so close but so far away.

"We’re serious about it, so we’ve got to go down and give them a hard time.”

A dramatic start set the tone for the meeting as Scott Nicholls and Paul Starke were involved in a three-rider crash, with the pair gingerly getting to their feet and walking away.

Poole took a narrow lead but Cheetahs stayed with them and levelled when Dillon Ruml and Starke took a 5-1 in heat eight.

The home side edged ahead, only for Poole to claim some crucial 4-2s late in the meeting before the decisive final race.

Aaron Summers top-scored for Cheetahs with 12 points and echoed his coach's battle cry.

He said: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings, so hopefully by the end of heat 15 we’ll be in front.

“It’s going to be another tough one, but the track’s very similar to here and the boys will be up for it.

"All the boys will come back refreshed and we’ll have another crack."

Sandy Lane hosts its second meeting in 24 hours tonight as Oxford Chargers welcome National Development League basement boys Armadale Devils (7.30pm).

The hosts are aiming to strengthen their play-off push against a team who have lost their first eight fixtures of the season.


OXFORD 45: Aaron Summers 12, Troy Batchelor 9+1, Dillon Ruml 8+3, Scott Nicholls 7+2, Paul Starke 5+1, Cameron Heeps 4, Jack Thomas 0.

POOLE 45: Steve Worrall 12, Danny King 10+1, Zach Cook 10, Richard Lawson 5+1, Ben Cook 5, Drew Kemp 3, Nathan Ablitt 0.

Jubilee League points: Oxford 1, Poole 2.