GUTSY Pirates were beaten 46-44 at Somerset but Neil Middleditch’s side will feel optimistic of progress to the SGB Premiership play-off final.

A battling team display saw Poole edged out in a final-heat decider with world champion Jason Doyle once again the talisman for Garry May’s Rebels.

But the hard work to keep the tie alive had already been done, Pirates having avoided being on the end of a 5-1 all night.

The second leg takes place at Wimborne Road in two weeks and it is set up to be a classic, as Poole bid to reach their first play-off final since 2015.

Somerset spearhead Doyle was only third in heat one but his fast-starting team-mate Bradley Wilson-Dean did the business ahead of Kacper Woryna.

After Richie Worrall got away quickest in heat two, Jake Allen nipped up the inside on turn two of lap two and Frederik Jakobsen did not have the pace to pass Aaron Summers.

A first win for Poole arrived next with skipper Josh Grajczonek stubbornly blocking Nico Covatti’s path in the early laps.

Fans’ favourite Chris Harris went from fourth to second in heat four thanks to Jakobsen slowing down Jack Holder but the Aussie found a way into third with a couple of turns remaining.

Somerset led by four. The resurgent Brady Kurtz roared from third to first in heat five and Richard Lawson forced his way into second ahead of Woryna, who had made a rapid gate.

Doyle blazed to heat six success but Worrall produced a key ride to hold third with Wilson-Dean hugging the boards behind him.

Pirates levelled it up as Grajczonek gated and read all of Holder’s moves. Klindt was passed by Allen but immediately chopped back inside his rival.

Following two scoreless outings, Jakobsen was the shock winner of heat eight, surviving untold pressure from Wilson-Dean and winning by inches after the Somerset rider had cut across him on the final turn.

A decent start helped Harris take top spot from Lawson next in another shared heat before Doyle charged up the inside on the final turn to deny Klindt. Grajczonek had battled back into third at the expense of Wilson-Dean.

Pirates seized the lead for the first time when Kurtz ripped out of the start and Woryna showed bags of guts to repass Allen using the inside line.

A 3-3 in heat 12 turned into a Rebels 4-2 after Worrall suffered a puncture, forcing him to retire.

Poole were on for a heat advantage next but that was reversed when Holder got inside Harris and the lightning Doyle reeled in Kurtz.

Klindt and Jakobsen then produced a dusting of Danish magic to level matters again. The former got past Allen and the fast-improving Jakobsen blasted past Lawson on the back straight.

Former Wolverhampton asset Klindt was first to turn one in heat 15 but Doyle simply had too much speed, rounding off his stellar personal night.


Somerset 46: 1 Jason Doyle (1-3-3-3-3) 13, 2 Bradley Wilson-Dean (3-0-2-0) 5, 3 Nico Covatti (2-0-1*-3) 6+1, 4 Richard Lawson (0-2-2-0) 4, 5 Jack Holder (1-2-2-1-1) 7, 6 Jake Allen (3-0-0-2) 5, 7 Aaron Summers (1-3-1*-1) 6+1.

Pirates 44: 1 Brady Kurtz (0-3-3-2-0) 8, 2 Kacper Woryna (2-1-0-1) 4, 3 Josh Grajczonek (3-3-1*-2) 9+1, 4 Nicolai Klindt (1-1-2-3-2) 9, 5 Chris Harris (2-2-3-0) 7, 6 Richie Worrall (2-1*-0-r) 3+1, 7 Frederik Jakobsen (0-0-3-1) 4.

HT 1: Wilson-Dean, Woryna, Doyle, Kurtz (4-2)

HT 2: Allen, Worrall, Summers, Jakobsen (8-4)

HT 3: Grajczonek, Covatti, Klindt, Lawson (10-8)

HT 4: Summers, Harris, Holder, Jakobsen (14-10)

HT 5: Kurtz, Lawson, Woryna, Covatti (16-14)

HT 6: Doyle, Harris, Worrall, Wilson-Dean (19-17)

HT 7: Grajczonek, Holder, Klindt, Allen (21-21)

HT 8: Jakobsen, Wilson-Dean, Summers, Woryna (24-24)

HT 9: Harris, Lawson, Covatti, Worrall (27-27)

HT 10: Doyle, Klindt, Grajczonek, Wilson-Dean (30-30)

HT 11: Kurtz, Holder, Woryna, Allen (32-34)

HT 12: Covatti, Grajczonek, Summers, Worrall (retired) (36-36)

HT 13: Doyle, Kurtz, Holder, Harris (40-38)

HT 14: Klindt, Allen, Jakobsen, Lawson (42-42)

HT 15: Doyle, Klindt, Holder, Kurtz (46-44)


Klindt was an injury doubt prior to the trip to Somerset but you would never have known it.

One of Matt Ford’s key mid-season signings, the Dane scored solidly with a nine-point haul and produced hugely important first and second-place finishes in heats 14 and 15, respectively.

Really though, this was a team performance which will give Pirates a decent chance of progress in the second and decisive leg at Wimborne Road.

But Somerset are far from out of it having already won at the Dorset venue this year.