DEPLETED Poole’s furious fightback inspired by Aussies Josh Grajczonek and Jack Holder was not enough to save them as Peterborough snatched a 47-43 Premiership victory at Wimborne Road last night.

With Pirates talisman Brady Kurtz sidelined by a shoulder injury, and Nicolai Klindt and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen racing in the Danish Final, a seemingly straightforward task against Peterborough looked an uphill struggle.

With 14 points apiece on the scoreboard, Pirates’ wonders from Down Under couldn’t have done much more to turn the tide.

But a 10-point deficit after eight races ultimately proved too big a head-start as Panthers left with the points.

Poole got off to the worst possible start as ex-Pirate Hans Andersen and Bradley Wilson-Dean raced to a Panthers 5-1 over Richie Worrall and Holder.

Aaron Summers took the chequered flag for the visitors in race two, with Poole guest Paul Starke and Nico Covatti filling the minor places.

Pirates skipper Josh Grajczonek landed the home side’s first win in heat three with a commanding victory over Peterborough pair Charles Wright and Scott Nicholls.

Wilson-Dean proved Kiwis can fly when he sliced through the middle of Worrall and Starke in style for an impressive win in race four.

Andersen extended Peterborough’s advantage to six in race five by working wonders to fend off the fast-charging Grajczonek, with Wilson-Dean third.

It was then Nicholls’ turn to hold firm in heat six as he slammed the door on Holder off turn two on the final lap to take the win, while Worrall took third spot for Pirates.

After a couple of near misses for Poole, Grajczonek roared to a race win, scything through the middle of Wright and Summers on lap three, turn four.

Pirates slipped 10 points adrift after a 5-1 from Peterborough’s Summers and Wilson-Dean in heat eight.

This prompted team manager Neil Middleditch to send Holder out as a tactical substitute to join Grajczonek in race nine, and Poole’s resistance began.

The Aussies saw off Andersen to cut the gap to six, before Holder produced more heroics in race 10, rounding Wright on lap three, turn four for a massive win, while Worrall held off a huge Nicholls challenge for third.

Andersen also got the better of Holder in race 11, while Starke was pipped at the death by Wilson-Dean as Panthers edged six points up.

Pirates suffered a blow in race 12 when Starke was excluded after straightening up and crashing in a tight first turn.

This left guest Adam Ellis to his own devices, and he did all he could with a great victory over Nicholls and Summers.

Holder triumphed in heat 13, but with Ellis stranded at the back behind Wright and Andersen, Poole were staring down the barrel of defeat.

Grajczonek gave Pirates hope with a huge triumph in race 14, while Covatti took to the fast lane on the inside, blazed under Wright and joined his partner on a massive 5-1 to put Poole two behind and force a last-heat decider.

But Pirates’ hearts were broken by two former Wimborne Road favourites as Andersen and Nicholls trapped terrifically and used all their guile and experience to hold Holder and Grajczonek up.

Holder powered his way past Nicholls with a hard but fair move, which saw the Brit confront him angrily at the pit gate after the race. But that was a sideshow as Andersen had bolted and a 4-2 sealed victory for the visitors.


PIRATES 43: 1 Jack Holder (0-2-2*-3-2-3-2) 14+1, 2 Richie Worrall (1-2-1*-1-1) 6+1, 3 Adam Ellis (R-0-3-0) 3, 4 Josh Grajczonek (3-2-3-3-3-0) 14, 5 RR, 6 Nico Covatti (1*-0-M-2*) 3+2, 7 Paul Starke (2-1*-0-0-X) 3+1.

PETERBOROUGH 47: 1 Hans Andersen (3-3-1-3-1*-3) 14+1, 2 Bradley Wilson-Dean (2*-3-1-2*-1) 9+2, 3 Scott Nicholls (1*-3-M-0-2-1) 7+1, 4 Charles Wright (2-2-2-2-1) 9, 5 RR, 6 Aaron Summers (3-1*-3-0-1*-0) 8+2, 7 Kasper Andersen (0-0-0) 0.

HT 1: H Andersen, Wilson-Dean, Worrall, Holder, 60.56 (1-5).

HT 2: Summers, Starke, Covatti, K Andersen, 60.19 (4-8).

HT 3: Grajczonek, Wright, Nicholls, Ellis (ret), 60.10 (7-11).

HT 4: (re-run) Wilson-Dean, Worrall, Starke, K Andersen, 61.15 (10-14).

HT 5: H Andersen, Grajczonek, Wilson-Dean, Ellis, 61.38 (12-18).

HT 6: Nicholls, Holder, Worrall, K Andersen, 60.75 (15-21).

HT 7: Grajczonek, Wright, Summers, Covatti, Nicholls (exc two mins), 60.94 (18-24).

HT 8: Summers, Wilson-Dean, Worrall, Starke, 61.44 (19-29).

HT 9: Grajczonek, Holder, H Andersen, Summers, 60.97 (24-30).

HT 10: Holder, Wright, Worrall, Nicholls, 61.38 (28-32).

HT 11: H Andersen, Holder, Wilson-Dean, Starke, Covatti (exc two mins), 61.50 (30-36).

HT 12: (re-run) Ellis, Nicholls, Summers, Starke (f.exc), 61.34 (33-39).

HT 13: (re-run) Holder, Wright, H Andersen, Ellis, 61.66 (36-42).

HT 14: Grajczonek, Covatti, Wright, Summers, 61.32 (41-43).

HT 15: H Andersen, Holder, Nicholls, Grajczonek, 61.44 (43-47).



PIRATES’ night may have ended in defeat, but their Aussie aces very nearly got the team out of jail in the absence of compatriot Brady Kurtz.

Jack Holder and Josh Grajczonek contributed 14 points apiece to Poole’s tally, and Grajczonek’s form is a particular silver lining to this cloud after racing to four victories and a second.

Despite being out-trapped in heat 15, this was a real step forward for the skipper.