A LAST-HEAT misfire for skipper Chris Harris saw the Buildbase Bees denied a sensational win at Poole - but their KO Cup defence lives on after a dramatic night at Wimborne Road.
Few would have given Bees much of a chance after Monday's 45-45 draw at Brandon made the Pirates clear favourites, but this revised Coventry team is already displaying promising signs and they will feel they can go one step further in the replay.
They were just over a lap away from glory in the second leg, Harris leading Chris Holder with Hans Andersen having worked his way into third place ahead of Davey Watt - but Harris lost power at the end of lap three and Holder saw his chance on the inside, with Bees in the end relieved that Harris did not stop completely.
And a defeat on the night would have been incredibly harsh as the home side never led at any stage of the meeting with the Bees well and truly fired up, and standing up to be counted.
Andersen and Olly Allen set the ball rolling with maximum points in Heat 1 over Holder and Magus Zetterstrom as the Bees got the better of the first bend battle on a circuit which was clearly not to the liking of some of the home riders, who were rather tentative.
Indeed, it was fortunate for the Pirates that Daniel Davidsson was in such good form, and it seemed somewhat surprising at the end of the night that he only took his programmed quota of four riders, having won the first three of them. Davidsson and Freddie Eriksson responded to their team's opening setback by making the start in Heat 2, with a chasing Filip Sitera sliding off on the second lap and remounting at the back.
A further trading of heat advantages followed as a hard-riding Billy Janniro accounted for Bjarne Pedersen on the first bend of Heat 3 and then passed Adam Skornicki for the lead, holding off the Pole's return challenge with Skornicki also having to be fully aware of Harris.
And Poole then took the 4-2 back in Heat 4 with Davidsson an impressive winner and Watt losing time initially as he cleared Sitera before he made up ground on, but could not pass, Simon Stead.
Andersen and Allen got the job done again in Heat 5 with a terrific 5-1, Allen leading from the start and Andersen superbly moving into second place at the start of the second lap, relegating Pedersen to the back for the second time in two outings as the Poole riders almost fell over one another.
Holder finally got a race win on the board as far as the Poole big guns were concerned when he took the flag in Heat 6, but the Bees were comfortable in second and third places with Robbie Kessler taking a point ahead of an unhappy Zetterstrom.
Heat 7 was also shared as Watt moved well clear, and with Harris in second place Janniro had his hands full in fending off a lively challenge from Eriksson for third place, the American just holding on over the finishing line.
The Pirates elected to replace Zetterstrom with Eriksson in Heat 8, and it was a move which paid dividends as Allen made an error at the start for the first time and the Pirates' reserve duo took advantage with a 5-1 to level the scores, Eriksson just finding a way past Sitera on the back straight to team up with Davidsson again.
And that, incredibly, was the last heat advantage to be recorded by either side as the meeting concluded with a run of seven straight 3-3s - although there were plenty of twists and turns along the way.
Stead rode a tremendous first lap in Heat 9 to get the better of Pedersen and Skornicki, making it stick coming off the fourth bend for his first win of the night, and Heat 10 was dominated by Holder with the Bees under no real threat from Zetterstrom.
Allen felt a problem with his machine just prior to Heat 11, as the green light went on, and he then found himself at the back as Andersen worked hard to hit the front in a well-contested first bend. Allen's problem was with his front forks, which collapsed on the third lap causing him to fall, fortunately without injury, and the referee awarded the race as a win for Andersen.
Poole looked set to edge in front in Heat 12 as Pedersen finally tasted fresh air in front - but it did not last as Harris picked up ground rapidly and made his move around the outside in trademark style on the third lap, leaving his opposing captain with an uncharacteristic total score of paid four.
The tension was mounting with both sides aware that any mistake could prove very costly, and the stalemate was maintained in Heat 13 with Andersen beaten for the first time in the meeting by the very rapid Holder - who would surely add much to the Grand Prix were he to get the call for next season.
However, the race for third place was equally as important and again Poole looked like they could be in for a 4-2 when Watt managed to pass Stead on the third lap - only for the Coventry man to fight back and snatch the place back on the last bend.
That left a fascinating situation with the Bees optimistic for their prospects in Heat 15, but they had to get through a tough looking Heat 14 first, even if they were a little surprised that the fast-starting Davidsson was not given a fifth ride.
Janniro, who enjoyed improved fortunes compared to Monday, rode a stormer to hold Eriksson and Skornicki at bay on the first lap, and that was effectively mission accomplished from the race as the teams went into Heat 15 locked at 42-42.
And it was a race which had virtually everything with the Pirates duo of Watt and Holder initially looking like they had the jump, only for Harris to get to the front as Holder concentrated on making sure Andersen was squeezed out.
Andersen, though, overtook Watt on the second lap to leave Bees within half a minute of yet another Cup Final - but there was more drama to come when Harris's bike stopped running cleanly and Holder seized his opportunity going into the last lap.
It was a huge get out of jail card for the Pirates and Bees were initially devastated at the win being snatched away in that fashion - but they have to reflect on a hugely positive performance overall, and one which augurs well for upcoming away matches. Including, of course, yet another return trip to Poole!