POOLE team manager Neil Middleditch was delighted to avoid another 46-44 heartbreak as Pirates held on for a 45-45 draw at Swindon in the Premiership Supporters’ Cup.

Pirates led for much of the night, but the Robins pulled level at 39-39 in heat 13 with a 5-1 from Troy Batchelor and Tobiasz Musielak over struggling Poole pair Jack Holder and Richie Worrall.

Poole then took part in their first fan-nominated heat 14 in their maiden match in the competition, as Twitter followers voted for Pirates’ Brady Kurtz and Nico Covatti to face Swindon pair Jason Doyle and Musielak.

Disaster struck for 2017 world champion Doyle when he was excluded for bringing down Covatti on bend one.

Kurtz led Covatti to a 4-2 in the re-run, but Pirates couldn’t capitalise as former Poole rider Adam Ellis spearheaded a Swindon 4-2 with Batchelor over Grajczonek and Nicolai Klindt in heat 15 to deny the Dorset side victory.

While another potential victory just slipped from Pirates’ grasp, Middleditch was content to avert what would have been a third consecutive 46-44 loss after defeats against King’s Lynn last Thursday and Peterborough on Monday.

He said: “Matt (Ford) and I both said ‘please not another 46-44 defeat!’ A draw was good. A couple of the boys really weren’t firing, but the side is still good and I am still pleased with the boys’ performance.

“We didn’t all fire as a team and that’s probably because of the way we built the team with strength in depth – everybody needs to score.

“A draw is a draw and I am happy with the result. How many meetings have we lost 46-44? You can’t odds that.”

Pirates were led by an impressive 13 points from Kurtz, while skipper Josh Grajczonek notched nine paid 10.

But despite two seconds to open his night, Klindt was unable to add to his four points in his final three rides. Worrall registered three paid four and Holder’s stuttering start to 2019 continues at number one as he scored four paid five.

Middleditch admits the Aussie was down after another tough night, but he’s certain Holder can deliver the points.

He said: “Jack hasn’t got going yet by his own admission. But I’m not worried about him. He is obviously down on himself a bit, but I told him ‘it’ll come good don’t worry’. It’s only April.”

Both sides competed on the track for the first time as Blunsdon staged its first meeting following a winter revamp of the circuit.

Despite reports of a few teething problems when Robins practised earlier this week, Middleditch was happy with the surface.

He said: “It was really good. We walked around and there was a little bit of a problem in the first corner, so they moved the white line out a little bit.

“There was a real soft patch and that would have caused problems. But they moved the line and it rode really well.

“They prepared the track hard because they weren’t sure how it was going to stand up. But it was fine.”

Pirates lock horns with the Robins again in a mouth-watering Good Friday contest tomorrow (11.30am).


Swindon 45: 1 Jason Doyle (3, 3, 3, 3, x) 12, 2 Dawid Lampart (fx, 1, x, 1) 2, 3 Troy Batchelor (3, 2, 3, 3, 1) 12, 4 Adam Ellis (1, 2*, 1*, 1, 3) 8+2, 5 Tobiasz Musielak (x, 3, 2, 2*, 2) 9+1, 6 Zach Wajtknecht (1, 0, 0) 1, 7 James Shanes (0, 1, r) 1.

Pirates 45: 1 Jack Holder (2, 0, 1*, 1) 4+1, 2 Josh Grajczonek (1*, 1, 3, 2, 2) 9+1, 3 Nicolai Klindt (2, 2, 0, 0, 0) 4, 4 Richie Worrall (2*, 1, 0, 0) 3+1, 5 Brady Kurtz (3, 3, 2, 2, 3) 13, 6 Nico Covatti (3, 0, 3, 1) 7, 7 Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (2*, 1*, 2*) 5+3.

HT 1: (re-run) Doyle, Holder, Grajczonek, Lampart (fell/ex), 62.31 (3-3).

HT 2: Covatti, Busk Jakobsen, Wajtknecht, Shanes, 64.92 (4-8).

HT 3: Kurtz, Worrall, Ellis, Musielak (ex), 63.52 (5-13).

HT 4: Batchelor, Klindt, Busk Jakobsen, Wajtknecht, 64.44 (8-16).

HT 5: Musielak, Ellis, Grajczonek, Holder, 63.02 (13-17).

HT 6: Doyle, Klindt, Lampart, Covatti, 62.43 (17-19).

HT 7: (re-run) Kurtz, Batchelor, Worrall, Wajtknecht, 62.23 (19-23).

HT 8: (re-run) Grajczonek, Busk Jakobsen, Shanes, Lampart (fell/ex) 64.51, 20-28.

HT 9: Covatti, Musielak, Ellis, Klindt, 63.57 (23-31).

HT 10: Doyle, Kurtz, Lampart, Worrall, 63.67 (27-33).

HT 11: Batchelor, Grajczonek, Holder, Shanes (ret) 63.80 (30-36).

HT 12: Doyle, Kurtz, Ellis, Klindt, 63.02 (34-38).

HT 13: Batchelor, Musielak, Holder, Worrall, 63.74 (39-39).

HT 14: (re-run x2) Kurtz, Musielak, Covatti, Doyle (ex) 64.14, (41-43).

HT 15: Ellis, Grajczonek, Batchelor, Klindt, 64.02 (45-45).