NOT since 1982 had Pirates suffered four home league defeats in a row. That is, until tonight.

With team boss Neil Middleditch unavailable, promoter Ford took over managerial duties and at the end of proceedings, probably wished he had not.

Poole’s failure to get out of the traps quickly in the opening half of the meeting gave cause for concern and exclusions for Jack Holder and Paul Starke in heat 12 proved costly.

Nevertheless, the hosts nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, only to be denied by the brilliance of Richard Lawson in heat 15.

Before the meeting got under way, Nicolai Klindt – whose season was ended by a serious knee injury – received a £900 donation following last week’s bucket collection at Wimborne Road. The Danish star is due to undergo an operation in the next month.

On a damp track, Pirates were on a 5-1 in the opener but skipper Hans Andersen lifted, allowing opposing number one Lawson to dive into second behind Richie Worrall.

Jake Allen gradually pulled away from Rebels asset Starke in the reserves’ race, the retirement of Lewis Kerr – who spent time at Poole earlier this season – ensuring a drawn heat.

Moments into his Pirates return, Edward Kennett produced a blockbuster fourth-bend pass on Charles Wright in heat three. Holder was not far away from joining the new signing at the front but was kept at bay.

Somerset levelled the scores with the first maximum, Josh Grajczonek and Kerr flying away from the start with the latter blocking James Shanes’s run in the closing stages.

The visitors were on a 5-1 next but Holder split the Rebels riders as Kennett trailed, while in heat six Andersen could not reel in the fast-starting Grajczonek.

Still Garry May’s men kept their noses in front. Wright zipped inside Timo Lahti in heat seven and although the Sweden international tried everything to hit back, Wright was having none of it.

Kerr then gated but Worrall powered round the boards and made it stick inside a couple of turns. Pirates had their first heat advantage since race three.

Kennett roared back into form – much to the delight of the Poole faithful – and Holder won a nerve-shredding battle with Allen for third.

The race revitalised Poole temporarily and Andersen easily blasted to the chequered flag, with the impressive Worrall doing his job behind the Dane.

But Lawson’s fine evening’s work continued with a heat 11 win and Lahti’s last place allowed Somerset to cut to four points the gap.

Holder was excluded for clipping Allen and disaster struck when Starke went for too much in the re-run, taking down Wright and earning a disqualification.

The heat was awarded and the Rebels were 36-35 in front.

Andersen and Lahti were bullied out of first and third in heat 13 but Starke gave Pirates supporters hope with a roof-raiser of a move on Hougaard in the penultimate outing.

A 4-2 would have done the trick in heat 15 and Pirates looked on course for that when Worrall and Andersen stormed past Lawson. But Lawson then overtook the Poole skipper and clamped him, allowing Grajczonek through for a 3-3.


Pirates 44: 1 Hans Andersen (1-2-3-2-0) 8, 2 Richie Worrall (3-1*-3-2*-3) 12+2, 3 Jack Holder (1-2-1-x) 4, 4 Edward Kennett (3-0-3-1) 7, 5 Timo Lahti (0-2-0-0) 2, 6 Paul Starke (2-1*-2-fx-3) 8+1, 7 James Shanes (1*-1-1) 3+1. Interim team boss: Matt Ford.

Somerset 45: 1 Richard Lawson (2-3-3-3-2) 13, 2 Cameron Heeps (0-1-0) 1, 3 Charles Wright (2-3-1-2*) 8+1, 4 Patrick Hougaard (0-0-0-2) 2, 5 Josh Grajczonek (3-3-2-1-1*) 10+1, 6 Jake Allen (3-0-0-3) 6, 7 Lewis Kerr (r-2*-2-1-0) 5+1. Team boss: Garry May.

HT 1: Worrall, Lawson, Andersen, Heeps, 60.85 (4-2)

HT 2: Allen, Starke, Shanes, Kerr (retired), 61.00 (7-5)

HT 3: Kennett, Wright, Holder, Hougaard, 61.41 (11-7)

HT 4: Grajczonek, Kerr, Shanes, Lahti, 61.62 (12-12)

HT 5: Lawson, Holder, Heeps, Kennett, 61.50 (14-16)

HT 6: Grajczonek, Andersen, Worrall, Allen, 60.82 (17-19)

HT 7: Wright, Lahti, Starke, Hougaard, 61.79 (20-22)

HT 8: Worrall, Kerr, Shanes, Heeps, 61.38 (24-24)

HT 9: Kennett, Grajczonek, Holder, Allen, 61.19 (28-26)

HT 10: Andersen, Worrall, Wright, Hougaard, 61.69 (33-27)

HT 11: Lawson, Starke, Kerr, Lahti, 61.00 (35-31)

HT 12 (re-run): Allen, Wright, Starke (fell/dsq), Holder (dsq), awarded (35-36)

HT 13: Lawson, Andersen, Grajczonek, Lahti, 61.63 (37-40)

HT 14: Starke, Hougaard, Kennett, Kerr, 62.25 (41-42)

HT 15: Worrall, Lawson, Grajczonek, Andersen, 61.91 (44-45)


RICHIE Worrall is growing in stature and he turned in his best performance yet – on a night when it will probably not be remembered.

That is a harsh state of affairs as Worrall was terrific against a Somerset side which would not go away.

He did his job in heat 15 and matters would have been so different had Hans Andersen managed to cling on.

Worrall will need to be at his best for tomorrow's trip to Swindon and for next week’s double-header against Belle Vue.