TEAM boss Neil Middleditch saw Pirates edged out of a pulsating last-heat SGB Premiership decider at Peterborough but admitted: “It was a fantastic meeting.”

The visitors had battled back from six points down to lead by two following 12 heats – with the two sides level pegging going into the final race.

But, in an evening of thrilling racing, former Pirates star Hans Andersen got the better of Jack Holder – with Charles Wright squeaking past Josh Grajczonek to earn the Panthers a 46-44 triumph.

Pirates earned one league point from the defeat, while Peterborough came away with three.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “It was a fantastic meeting. I have to say it was one of the best meetings I have seen all season.

“It’s a good point. It would have been nice to win it and I felt we did have it, but Peterborough rode very well. The racing was absolutely outstanding.”

With Pirates duo Nicolai Klindt and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen riding in the rearranged Danish semi-final, Poole brought in Danny King and Dimitri Berge as guests for the contest.

Peterborough tracked new recruits Scott Nicholls and Josh Bates – the former having guested on two separate occasions for Pirates this season.

But the visitors did not get off to a desired start as the Panthers recorded a 4-2 heat advantage in the opener.

Despite the best efforts of Poole star Holder, he just failed to pass Bradley Wilson-Dean to the chequered flag. Andersen beat Richie Worrall into third for the hosts.

The contest was then levelled however as Nico Covatti sealed the spoils for Poole in the reserves’ heat. He led from the gate while Aaron Summers managed to overcome Berge for second.

After a shared heat three with Wright cruising home ahead of Grajczonek and King – Pirates’ in-form man Brady Kurtz picked up where he left off against King’s Lynn three nights previously.

He stormed to victory in race four – with Peterborough’s Rohan Tungate charging up the inside of Berge to keep the scores level at 12-12.

Holder then picked up his first race win of the night in a stunning heat-five battle. Despite Worrall gating, the Merseysider was passed by Panthers duo Nicholls and Wright.

But the Aussie charger was not to be denied and, after overtaking Wright at the end of lap two, he pulled off a brilliant move to overcome Nicholls by a tyre width on the line.

Former Poole star Andersen then got the better of Kurtz in another competitive battle in heat six. Wilson-Dean took third to put the hosts ahead 19-17.

And Panthers stamped their authority on proceedings with a 5-1 in heat seven. Summers and Tungate combined to see off Grajczonek and King.

Worrall’s disappointing night continued as he registered a third straight last place in race eight, Berge sealed the win to earn Pirates a 3-3.

Wright then nipped in off the inside to overcome Kurtz in heat nine but Covatti beat Nicholls into third to keep Pirates within six points of the hosts.

Grajczonek held off the challenge of Wilson-Dean to earn his first win of the night in a level heat 10.

Team boss Middleditch then deployed Kurtz as a tactical substitute in place of Worrall in heat 11 – and the change paid dividends.

He teamed up with Aussie compatriot Holder to earn a 5-1 in a thrilling encounter between the Pirates duo and Tungate – Kurtz just gaining the victory.

As had become the trademark of Pirates in recent weeks – they gained an advantage in the latter stages.

Nicholls suffered a cruel mechanical failure on the last lap of heat 12, allowing King to earn second behind Covatti to seal a 5-1 for the visitors – putting Poole two ahead for the first time on the night.

But more drama ensued as Kurtz hit the fence in a heat-13 battle with Andersen – resulting in him being excluded from the re-run and requiring treatment on his shoulder.

And the Panthers duo of Andersen and Tungate sealed a maximum to put the hosts back in front.

In what was turning out to be a thrilling contest, Wright denied Pirates a 5-1 in the penultimate heat by getting round Grajczonek to earn second.

Berge took the race win as the contest was level with one heat remaining.

And in a classic heat 15, Panthers just took the overall victory. Skipper Anderson charged round Holder with an incredible ride to take the chequered flag.

Grajczonek had passed Wright but, with the contest set to finish level, the Peterborough man wrestled back third on the line to earn his side the spoils.