PIRATES’ star guest Scott Nicholls and skipper Josh Grajczonek stunned Ipswich as Poole snatched an epic 46-44 victory in the Premiership Supporters’ Cup.

The Dorset side hadn’t led once on the night after a well-balanced Witches team, spearheaded by Pirates’ 2018 SGB Premiership title-winning hero Chris Harris, took the fight to them.

But they edged in front when it mattered most as a maximum from Ipswich-born-and-bred Nicholls and Grajczonek sunk the Suffolk side in heat 15 and saw Poole keep their hopes of topping the group and reaching the final alive.

There was always a threat Harris would come back and haunt his old side.

And he wasted no time doing just that, blasting clear from the tapes to join Richard Lawson on a Witches 5-1 in heat one.

The visitors extended their advantage to six in race two when Jake Allen triumphed ahead of Pirates’ Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, with Cameron Heeps taking third for Ipswich.

After a shared heat three, Nicolai Klindt took the chequered flag for Pirates in heat four, but with Ipswich’s David Bellego second and Allen fending off Poole reserve Nico Covatti for third, the Dorset side were 15-9 down at the first track grade.

Their luck turned in heat five. Nicholls hit the front only to be overhauled by one of Harris’ trademark high-flying passes on lap three, turn three.

But Bomber’s machine gave up on him on the final bend, allowing Nicholls back through for the win, with Grajczonek third behind Lawson as Poole cut the deficit to four.

They then slashed it to two with a win from number one Holder in race six, with Heeps working overtime to relieve Worrall of second on lap two, turn two to keep Ipswich’s noses in front.

Witches’ Polish racer Krystian Pieszczek picked up his second win of the night in a shared heat seven, before race eight saw Ipswich charge six ahead with a maximum from Allen and Lawson over Jakobsen and Worrall.

Pirates hit back as Grajczonek’s night burst into life with a fantastic triumph under huge pressure from Bellego in heat nine. Nicholls was third to help Poole reduce the gap to 29-25.

The Premiership champions levelled matters in race 10. Despite Pieszczek thundering past Worrall and Holder like a freight train, he ran out of track on bend four and slipped off, allowing the Poole pair to romp to a 5-1.

Witches quickly regained the lead with a maximum from Lawson and Harris over Jakobsen and Klindt, only for Grajczonek and Holder to respond in kind in heat 12.

Klindt hit the tapes at the start of race 13 and was replaced by Jakobsen. He didn’t get much further, running out of room and crashing on turn two.

Poole’s only remaining representative Nicholls hit the front, but Harris put him under intense pressure. Nicholls caught a rut on lap three, turn two, allowing the Cornishman through for a victory that put Ipswich 40-38 up ahead of the fans’ nominated race.

Holder and Klindt were picked to represent Poole, with Harris and Lawson selected for the visitors.

Despite Bomber turning up the heat on Holder, the Aussie held his nerve to pull off the victory and the ride of the night, before Nicholls and Grajczonek completed a classic comeback.


PIRATES 46: 1 Jack Holder (0-3-3-2*-3) 11+1, 2 Richie Worrall (1-1-0-2*) 4+1, 3 Nicolai Klindt (3-1*-0-T-0) 4+1, 4 Josh Grajczonek (1*-1-3-3-2*) 10+2, 5 Scott Nicholls (2-3-1-2-3) 11, 6 Nico Covatti (0-0-2) 2, 7 Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (2-1-1-X) 4. Team Manager: Neil Middleditch.

IPSWICH 44: 1 Chris Harris (2*-0-2*-3-2) 9+2, 2 Richard Lawson (3-2-2*-3-1*) 11+2, 3 David Bellego (2-0-2-1) 5, 4 Krystian Pieszczek (3-3-F-1-0) 7, 5 Danny King (0-X-1-F) 1, 6 Cameron Heeps (1-2-0) 3, 7 Jake Allen (3-1*-3-1) 8+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins.

HT 1: Lawson, Harris, Worrall, Holder, 59.56 (1-5).

HT 2: Allen, Jakobsen, Heeps, Covatti, 60.16 (3-9).

HT 3: (re-run) Pieszczek, Nicholls, Grajczonek, King, 60.19 (6-12).

HT 4: Klindt, Bellego, Allen, Covatti, 60.19 (9-15).

HT 5: Nicholls, Lawson, Grajczonek, Harris, 60.47 (13-17).

HT 6: Holder, Heeps, Worrall, Bellego, 60.87 (17-19).

HT 7: (second re-run) Pieszczek, Covatti, Klindt, King (f.exc), 60.65 (20-22).

HT 8: Allen, Lawson, Jakobsen, Worrall, 61.56 (21-27).

HT 9: Grajczonek, Bellego, Nicholls, Heeps, 60.25 (25-29).

HT 10: Holder, Worrall, King, Pieszczek (f), 61.32 (30-30).

HT 11: Lawson, Harris, Jakobsen, Klindt, 61.22 (31-35).

HT 12: Grajczonek, Holder, Bellego, King (f), 60.81 (36-36).

HT 13: (re-run) Harris, Nicholls, Pieszczek, Jakobsen (f.exc), Klindt (exc tapes), 60.87 (38-40).

HT 14: Holder, Harris, Lawson, Klindt, 61.28 (41-43).

HT 15: Nicholls, Grajczonek, Allen, Pieszczek, 61.60 (46-44).


WITH Poole’s 2018 hero Chris Harris in opposition colours, comparisons were inevitable.

But after a zero in his opener, Jack Holder shaped up superbly with three wins and a paid win – saving the best until last.

Nominated for the fans’ race in heat 14, he showed superb pace as Harris failed to get near him, despite taking to the fence in an attempt to build up his speed.

After a difficult start to the 2019 campaign, this was the perfect tonic for a rider looking more and more at home in the number one race jacket.