WITH four of their regular top five out before the start, and another one joining the casualty list during the meeting, the Buildbase Bees have had better nights!
Poole took full advantage with a thoroughly convincing performance as they were better than the Coventry side in every department - virtually from start to finish.
The reality of the Bees' position was that they could provide just four heat winners such was the gating prowess of their opponents, who rubbed it in with five 5-1s in the last six races.
With five heats still to go, Coventry had been reduced to two battling guests and two struggling reserves - Poole had an almost fully-firing unit with only Daniel Davidsson missing their party after suffering mechanical problems.
Two points (paid three) was the sum total of the gain from rider replacement for skipper Chris Harris - so in that respect it was possibly a surprise that Bees remained in touch for as long as they did.
And it should also be acknowledged that the Poole team of July is a much, much better one than the Poole team of March - primarily because the re-acquisition of Magnus Zetterstrom gives them so much more experience and reliability in the middle-order to back up a heat leader trio which is often the strongest in the Elite League.
Zetterstrom was one of a number of Pirates riders who clearly relished the Brandon conditions, and they wasted no time in showing it with a rapid start from the Swede in Heat 1, Chris Holder cutting back under Tai Woffinden on turn two to then fend off the youngster and start the Poole charge.
And it could so easily have been a double dose of 5-1s from the visitors in Heat 2 only for Davidsson to drop a chain on the second lap when holding a comfortable position with partner Freddie Eriksson.
Bees initially took advantage of Davidsson's misfortune with a good 5-1 of their own in Heat 3 as Olly Allen made a good start and Fredrik Lindgren cleverly switched back inside Adam Skornicki after being caught by the Pole on turn four.
Piotr Swiderski added a win of his own in Heat 4 after Bjarne Pedersen had gone wide on turn two, and Bees actually took the lead in the next race despite Poole holding a 5-1 position up the back straight. Both Pirates over-slid on the next two bends, Holder went to the back and Lindgren slipped inside Zetterstrom for the win.
Pedersen was ruthless on Lindgren in the early stages of Heat 6 with the sort of move normally reserved for a Grand Prix race, and that left Lindgren having to re-pass Davidsson on the back straight, and the Pirates then levelled with a 4-2 in Heat 7 which could again have been a 5-1 but for Skornicki locking up on turn four and allowing Swiderski through on the inside.
The eighth race was shared, Woffinden chasing Zetterstrom all the way but the veteran making a perfect defence of his position, and the meeting then went away from the Bees when Allen shot across turn two on one wheel and landed on his shoulder - luckily being missed by Eriksson on his way through.
Allen was out of the rest of the meeting, there was a Poole 4-2 in the re-run, and when Skornicki and Davey Watt took maximum points in Heat 10 the writing was well and truly on the wall.
Woffinden had chased the Pirates pairing all race before dropping to the back on the last bend, and he too could take no further part due to the shoulder he injured at Rye House a fortnight ago.
Four of the last five races could be bracketed in the same category away from the tapes - it was the Poole riders into the first bend first. The exception was Heat 12, when Lindgren was riding for double points and took the win, but one double-points (programmed) ride is of little use as a tactical option when a team is so decimated, and there was never really any suggestion that Bees would fashion a comeback.
So it proved with three more 5-1s wrapping up an unhappy night, although Heat 15 was a good race with Holder and Pedersen team-riding superbly against Lindgren, who gave it everything for all four laps.
But one thing to be sure of, despite the current problems, is that Coventry will do everything possible to change their fortunes. It might not be immediate - the injury list dictates that - but nobody enjoys losing matches.
That said, Bees have been in the winning habit for a number of years now, and in any sport there are times when it goes against you. Everyone will work to regain that - better times must surely lie ahead!
BUILDBASE BEES 37 Chris Harris Rider Replacement Tai Woffinden 1 2 2 0 = 5 Fredrik Lindgren 2* 3 1* 2 6^ 1 = 15+2 Olly Allen 0 3 1 X = 4 Piotr Swiderski 3 2 1 1 1 0 = 8 Stan Burza 2 0 0 0 0 = 2 Andreas Messing 1* 0 1* 0 1 = 3+2
POOLE 56 Chris Holder 2* 0 2* 2* 2* = 8+4 Magnus Zetterstrom 3 2 3 3 = 11 Davey Watt 1 3 3 1* = 8+1 Adam Skornicki 0 1 2* 2* = 5+2 Bjarne Pedersen 2 3 3 3 3 = 14 Freddie Eriksson 3 1* 1 2 3 = 10+1 Daniel Davidsson R 0 0 = 0