Harris survives horror crash to lead Bees to title

COVENTRY won one of the most dramatic title races in Elite League history with a sensational victory at pre-season favourites Poole.

COVENTRY won one of the most dramatic title races in Elite League history with a sensational victory at pre-season favourites Poole.

The Bees led 51-39 from their home leg of the Grand Final having come into form at just the right time of the season, and then took a 50-40 win at Wimborne Road for a 22-point aggregate win.

Polish youngster Przemyslaw Pawlicki scored a stunning 16+1 for the visitors, who also had big guns Krzysztof Kasprzak and Chris Harris - after a heavy crash - in top form.

Bees boss Alun Rossiter said: “The turning point was when Chris Harris got run over. He’s been an amazing captain and to see him run back to the pits after that, it made everyone strong, and we marched on from there.

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“I’m pleased for him, pleased for the whole team, pleased for the supporters and for the rest of the management for bringing me to Coventry - and I’m pleased to be here!”

Bees skipper Chris Harris spoke of his pride in captaining Coventry to the Elite League title after bouncing back from a heavy crash in the second leg of the Grand Final.

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Harris was advised to pull out of the meeting after the Heat 6 accident, but he took his place in the re-run and was unbeaten over his remaining five rides.

It was his third league championship with Coventry, the Bees also having won the title in 2005 and 2007, but his first as captain.

Harris said: “People said we couldn’t come down here and beat them, but we should never be under-estimated. I’ve been in a lot of Coventry teams over the years who have won meetings like this, and again we’ve come from the bottom of the table to win the league.

“It’s been a fantastic run towards the end of the season, and it’s been a privilege and honour to captain this team. They are a great bunch of lads.”

Meanwhile Poole manager Neil Middleditch offered generous congratulations to new Elite League Champions Coventry after seeing his side beaten in the Grand Final.

The Pirates had topped the regular table in finishing 26 points clear of the fourth-placed Bees, but were unable to pull back their 12-point first leg deficit and went down to their first home defeat of the season as the Bees celebrated the title.

Middleditch said: “This meeting has been a bit like ping pong. Every time we forced an opening for ourselves they came back at us and did a fine job.

“Fair play to Rosco (Alun Rossiter) and the lads, that’s what the play-offs are about. We knew that before the season started and even though we didn’t get the result we wanted to I still believe this crop of Pirates is the best I have had to work with for a very long time.”

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