DAYS into the SGB Premiership campaign and Matt Ford could have been forgiven for thinking a season’s-worth of bad luck had dropped on his doorstep.

That Pirates survived losing number one Krzysztof Kasprzak for the double-header with Somerset, as well as two of his replacements, bodes well for the summer ahead.

Kasprzak was unavailable due to Polish Golden Helmet final commitments, a meeting postponed yesterday evening. The 32-year-old tried vainly to book a flight to Britain, to no avail.

Danny King had already been named as a guest but a spill at Sheffield ruled him out. In came Swindon’s Nick Morris, who raced in this morning's clash at Wimborne Road but sat out tonight's fixture due to equipment problems.

Promoter Ford, who by this point must have felt riders the world over were running out, turned to Redcar’s Jason Garrity.

Having swept to a 54-36 success on Dorset shale, Pirates followed up by earning a point in a nerve-jangling 47-43 defeat at the Oaktree Arena, a remarkable result given Garrity failed to score.

The first stanza went more or less to plan. Brady Kurtz provided the star turn, racking up a 12-point haul which could so easily have been his second full maximum in seven days.

Save for one black mark, Hans Andersen was excellent, as was Nicolai Klindt at reserve. Lewis Kerr was lightning from the tapes and contributed to three 5-1s.

A sizeable crowd looked on as Rohan Tungate disappeared under the air fence in heat one. Paul Starke collected Morris in the re-run and was excluded, allowing Pirates to bank an easy maximum.

The reserves’ race was a procession for Klindt before Kurtz performed the same trick.

Poole’s lead then hit double figures. Andersen was untroubled and British under-21 finalist James Shanes claimed a point. Kurtz’s charge on the first two turns and another rapid start for Kerr increased Pirates’ advantage, with Starke’s tactical fruitless.

Jack Holder, who scored eight for Peterborough last night, spoiled Somerset’s opening heat advantage when he slipped past Jake Allen on the line, the visiting reserve inexplicably slowing at the crucial moment.

Andersen was excluded for sending Charles Wright flying and his compatriot Klindt was unable to limit the damage in the re-run.

The Rebels then reduced to four points the lead after Starke and Allen left their opponents at the tapes.

Kurtz was peerless in race nine and a last-to-second blast by Morris ensured honours were shared in heat 10, before Andersen and Klindt tightened Poole’s grip.

The latter came straight back out to seal a 5-1 with Kerr and ex-Australian champion Kurtz supplied the ride of the meeting in heat 14, storming through the field to triumph having looked well out of contention early on.

A closing 4-2 proved too little, too late for the Rebels.

To the second meeting. Garrity made the worst possible start when he broke the tapes in heat one, Pirates suffering a 5-1 after Klindt deputised.

Race two was shared and then Kurtz, at his old stamping ground, rounded Hougaard and Wright to spearhead a heat advantage.

Grajczonek led the Somerset reply with a simple win and the teams then traded 5-1s, Wright and Hougaard striking first before Klindt and Andersen replied in kind.

Still the scoreline remained close. Heats seven, eight and nine were shared and Kurtz and Kerr were unable to break the cycle in the next outing.

Grajczonek and Allen appeared to have struck the decisive body blow with a maximum but after the latter was excluded from heat 12, Kerr chose the ideal moment to get his first race victory for Poole, leading in Klindt to reduce to four the deficit.

Andersen broke Grajczonek’s winning run as Garrity ended without a point to his name, Somerset responding with a 4-2 which set up a tense finale.

But Andersen delivered when it mattered most, again getting the better of Grajczonek to ensure his team took away a reward for their efforts.

Pirates continue their league campaign at Swindon on Sunday (5pm), where they will hope to derail a team off the back of an impressive Knockout Cup victory over Rye House.

However, the Robins have made a disappointing start to the league season, losing to Leicester and Belle Vue, respectively.


Pirates 54: 1 Nick Morris, guest (3-r-2-3) 8, 2 Jack Holder (2*-2-0-1*) 5+2, 3 Lewis Kerr (2*-2*-1-2*) 7+3, 4 Brady Kurtz (3-3-3-3-0) 12, 5 Hans Andersen (3-x-3-2*-2) 10+1, 6 Nicolai Klindt (3-1-2*-3-1) 10+1, 7 James Shanes (0-1-1) 2.

Rebels 36: 1 Rohan Tungate (1-r-1-1) 3, 2 Paul Starke (x-1^-3-0) 4, 3 Charles Wright (0-2*-0-1) 3+1, 4 Patrick Hougaard (1-3-3-2-3) 12, 5 Josh Grajczonek (0-3-2-r-1) 6, 6 Jake Allen (2-1-2*-0) 5+1, 7 Jan Graversen (1*-2-0-0) 3+1.

HT 1 (re-run x2): Morris, Holder, Tungate, Starke (dsq), 59.31 (5-1)

HT 2: Klindt, Allen, Graversen, Shanes, 59.35 (8-4)

HT 3: Kurtz, Kerr, Hougaard, Wright, 59.78 (13-5)

HT 4: Andersen, Graversen, Shanes, Grajczonek, 61.06 (17-7)

HT 5: Kurtz, Kerr, Starke (tactical), Tungate (retired), 60.16 (22-8)

HT 6: Grajczonek, Holder, Allen, Morris (retired), 61.44 (24-12)

HT 7 (re-run): Hougaard, Wright, Klindt, Andersen (dsq), 61.12 (25-17)

HT 8: Starke, Allen, Shanes, Holder, 61.53 (26-22)

HT 9: Kurtz, Grajczonek, Kerr, Graversen, 60.78 (30-24)

HT 10: Hougaard, Morris, Holder, Wright, 61.40 (33-27)

HT 11: Andersen, Klindt, Tungate, Starke, 60.75 (38-28)

HT 12: Klindt, Kerr, Wright, Allen, 61.28 (43-29)

HT 13: Morris, Andersen, Tungate, Grajczonek (retired), 61.38 (48-30)

HT 14 (re-run): Kurtz, Hougaard, Klindt, Graversen, 61.18 (52-32)

HT 15 (re-run): Hougaard, Andersen, Grajczonek, Kurtz, 61.93 (54-36)


For Brady Kurtz, it was the complete set. He was fast from the gate, fast in front and fast from the back as well.

In his finest performance in Pirates colours, the Australian youngster delivered a sublime heat 14 ride to charge from last to first with time in hand.

The Danish duo of Hans Andersen and Nicolai Klindt also impressed, while Lewis Kerr showed a big improvement.


Somerset 47: 1 Rohan Tungate (3-1-3-1*) 8+1, 2 Paul Starke (2*-0-1*-0) 3+2, 3 Charles Wright (0-3-1*-1) 5+1, 4 Patrick Hougaard (2-2*-2-3-0) 9+1, 5 Josh Grajczonek (3-3-3-2-2) 13, 6 Jake Allen (3-2-2*-fx-1) 8+1, 7 Jan Graversen (0-1-0) 1.

Pirates 43: 1 Jason Garrity, guest (tx-0-0-0) 0, Jack Holder (0-1-3-1) 5, Lewis Kerr (1-1*-1*-3) 6+2, Brady Kurtz (3-2-2-2-1) 10, Hans Andersen (2-2*-3-3-3) 13+1, Nicolai Klindt (1-2-3-0-0-2*) 8+1, James Shanes (1*-0-0) 1+1.

HT 1 (re-run): Tungate, Starke, Klindt, Holder, 57.53 (5-1)

HT 2: Allen, Klindt, Shanes, Graversen, 57.67 (8-4)

HT 3: Kurtz, Hougaard, Kerr, Wright, 57.35 (10-8)

HT 4: Grajczonek, Andersen, Graversen, Shanes, 58.09 (14-10) 

HT 5: Wright, Hougaard, Holder, Garrity, 58.81 (19-11)

HT 6: Klindt, Andersen, Tungate, Starke, 58.63 (20-16) 

HT 7: Grajczonek, Kurtz, Kerr, Graversen, 58.81 (23-19)

HT 8: Holder, Allen, Starke, Klindt, 58.72 (26-22)

HT 9: Andersen, Hougaard, Wright, Klindt, 58.97 (29-25)

HT 10 (re-run): Tungate, Kurtz, Kerr, Starke, 58.59 (32-28) 

HT 11: Grajczonek, Allen, Holder, Garrity, 59.07 (37-29)

HT 12 (re-run x2): Kerr, Klindt, Wright, Allen (fell/dsq) (38-34)

HT 13: Andersen, Grajczonek, Tungate, Garrity (41-37)

HT 14: Hougaard, Kurtz, Allen, Shanes (45-39)

HT 15: Andersen, Grajczonek, Kurtz, Hougaard (47-43)


The Dane pitched in with his fair share of points this morning and, alongside Kurtz, ensured Pirates stayed in tonight's meeting.

Andersen delivered a captain's performance in his team's hour of need, winning the crucial final race to ensure Poole took home a point.

A 13 paid 14 haul illustrated in black and white his huge impact.