Poole Pirates v Ipswich Witches


Despite the Pirates completing their regular home league campaign with a victory over fellow play-off qualifiers Ipswich, they remain second in the table but have slipped a point further behind leaders Swindon, who banked all four points from their visit to King's Lynn, which leaves Poole needing a win in Norfolk to finish top of the table.

Pirates were never behind against the Witches but it took them until the latter stages of the contest to give themselves the comfort cushion they needed, for earlier in the meeting the resilient Suffolk side repeatedly threw in heat advantages to maintain their interest in the affair.
Nico Covatti and Josh Grajczonek both showed their liking for a very fast line that developed around the pit turn which helped set up the Poole victory. Covatti first discovered it in heat eight, sweeping round partner Ricky Wells and Jake Allen to set up a 5-1 to counter that conceded in the previous heat when Richard Lawson and Chris Harris held firm over Jack Holder and Tomas H Jonasson.
Witches' captain Danny King had clearly been looking on at Covatti's exploits and used the line himself in heat nine but it was the Poole skipper, Grajczonek, who found the best speed of them all as he dug in on the third lap to whistle by to edge Poole into an eight point advantage.
But still Ipswich came back, that pairing of two heats earlier combining again, this time in reverse order to inflict a 5-1 over the out-of-sorts Brady Kurtz and third-placed Covatti. Jack Holder and Jonasson gated on a 5-1 in heat ten and had Iversen hunting them all the way, somehow Jonasson just managed to hold on for the maximum after deciding to switch lines that inspired Niels-Kristian Iversen to go for broke off the final turn.
If Poole thought it was job done, with four heats remaining, then they hadn't bargained for Nicolai Klindt shedding a chain whilst leading that allowed Harris and James Sarjeant to pick up a 5-1 in an awarded heat, that positioned Ipswich to within striking distance at 38-34.
But Brady Kurtz came to the aid of the Pirates with a solid heat 13 victory , Iversen again working hard in second but King was at the back and Poole moved into a six point lead then. The match was decided, quite fittingly, when star man Grajzonek won heat 14 with support in third from Jonasson, but the Witches still had their eye on a consolation point.
Iversen found himself out front in heat 15 but then came under an almighty challenge at the first turn of lap two by Grajconek and down went Iversen. It was a while before the referee's decision came through and when it did, it just about summed up Iversen's night, as it was he that was thrown out of the re-run.
With only Lawson to trouble them in the restart, Grajczonek and Holder wasted no time in the Pirates 5th 5-1 of the night, in a meeting that could well prove to be a dress rehearsal for the play-off semi-finals. In which case Poole will need to be mindful of the fact that the Witches themselves registered four maximum heat scores and would be no push-overs in the quest to reach the 2019 Grand Final.

B.Kurtz,0,2,0,3=5 (4)
N.Covatti ,3,1',3,1=8+1 (4)
N.Klindt ,3,3,1,FD=7 (4)
J.Grajczonek ,2',1,3,3,3=12+1 (5)
J.Holder ,1,1,3,1,2'=8+1 (5)
T.Jonasson ,3,0,2',1=6+1 (4)
R.Wells ,2',0,2',1=5+2 (4)

N.Iversen,2,2,1,2,FD=7 (5)
C.Heeps,1',FD,0,0=1+1 (4)
C.Harris,0,2',3,3=8+1 (4)
R.Lawson,1,3,2',2,1=9+1 (5)
D.King,2',3,2,0=7+1 (4)
J.Sarjeant,0,0,0,2'=2+1 (4)
J.Allen,1,3,1,0=5 (4)

Ht 1: N.Covatti , N.Iversen, C.Heeps, B.Kurtz 3-3 3-3 [59.41]
Ht 2: T.Jonasson , R.Wells , J.Allen, J.Sarjeant 5-1 8-4 [60.78]
Ht 3: N.Klindt , J.Grajczonek , R.Lawson, C.Harris 5-1 13-5 [60.75]
Ht 4: J.Allen, D.King, J.Holder , R.Wells  1-5 14-10 [60.72]
Ht 5: N.Klindt , N.Iversen, J.Grajczonek , C.Heeps  (fell exc) 4-2 18-12 [60.53]
Ht 6: D.King, B.Kurtz, N.Covatti , J.Sarjeant 3-3 21-15 [60.6]
Ht 7: R.Lawson, C.Harris, J.Holder , T.Jonasson  1-5 22-20 [61.09]
Ht 8: N.Covatti , R.Wells , J.Allen, C.Heeps 5-1 27-21 [61.41]
Ht 9: J.Grajczonek , D.King, N.Klindt , J.Sarjeant 4-2 31-23 [60.66]
Ht 10: C.Harris, R.Lawson, N.Covatti , B.Kurtz 1-5 32-28 [60.94]
Ht 11: J.Holder , T.Jonasson , N.Iversen, C.Heeps 5-1 37-29 [61.88]
Ht 12: C.Harris, J.Sarjeant, R.Wells , N.Klindt   (fell exc) 1-5 38-34 [awd]
Ht 13: B.Kurtz, N.Iversen, J.Holder , D.King 4-2 42-36 [61.28]
Ht 14: J.Grajczonek , R.Lawson, T.Jonasson , J.Allen 4-2 46-38 [61.25]
Ht 15: J.Grajczonek , J.Holder , R.Lawson, N.Iversen  (fell exc) 5-1 51-39 [62.03]

Mr Craig Ackroyd  

POOLE won toss and deferred choice to heat 15; IPSWICH  chose gates 1&3 |POOLE choose gates 1&3 in heat 15  

League Points: POOLE 3 IPSWICH  0

Rider of the Night Josh Grajczonek

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