Poole Pirates v Peterborough Panthers30/05/19
Meetings between these two clubs this season have been close and this was no exception as the No.1 Carpet Cleaning Pirates were able to take the encounter against Peterborough to a last heat decider but it was the Cambridgeshire club that exalted the victory.
To their credit, Peterborough took the match to the Pirates, never allowing the home side to hold the lead throughout. With absent Danes due to a clash of dates with the Danish Championship it was somewhat ironic that the rider who masterminded the Pirates' downfall was himself Danish - Hans Andersen.
The Pirates found it increasingly difficult to find a race winner, only skipper Josh Grajczonek being a chequered flag take in the first half of the meeting, doing so three times in nine heats, although even the Poole skipper had to give second best to Andersen in a competitive heat 5, Grajczonek having to be on his guard against the ebullient Bradley Wilson-Dean who himself was unbeaten at this stage having featured in the opening 5-1 with Andersen and then produced a blistering pass in heat four as he drilled through a gap left by Richie Worrall and guest Paul Starke.
Grajczonek's third win was all the more sweeter for Poole fans as Jack Holder, drafted in as a tactical substitute, held second place behind him, despite a brave gamble from Andersen who came so close to upsetting the maximum heat gain on the final lap. Straight back out again, Holder executed a splendid pass on Charles Wright, just moments after Richie Worrall had promoted himself to third place at the expense of a battling Scott Nicholls. These two heat advantages saw Poole cull a 10-point deficit to a mere four points with a third of the meeting remaining.
But the comeback was halted in an incident packed heat 11 which had seen Nico Covatti disqualified for delaying the start, having not learned from the actions of the referee who in heat 7 had laid the law down as soon as the two-minute clock had counted down to zero, and Scott Nicholls was punished. Replacing Covatti in the eleventh was Paul Starke and he made a superb getaway, hit the front and looked set for a remarkable race win. But Andersen had other ideas, timing his move perfectly, just after Jack Holder had pulled clear of combatant Wilson-Dean and went in chase of Andersen as Starke was beginning to slow. The New Zealander recongised there was an opportunity and overcame Starke late on in the final lap giving the Panthers what had seemed an unlikely heat advantage and the lead back to six points.
Starke was then a victim of a fall in heat 12, just after fellow guest Adam Ellis had made a strong start, something the Swindon-rider was able to replicate in the -re-run to open his account for the night. It proved to be a false dawn however for he reverted to a no scoring position in heat 13, a race which Holder won emphatically and then left Poole facing the mighty task of needing back-to-back 5-1s to gain victory.
A sweet move by Grajczonek going from third to first was backed up splendidly by a charging ride from Covatti to get into second place, thus completing the first half of the task. As for the second bit though, Andersen was having none of it in heat 15 as he took control of the race. Behind him Grajczonek and Nicholls were locked together, moving outwards which left space for Holder to move into but Grajczonek couldn't fully shake of Nicholls (even after the race!) and it was the Panthers who were victorious, not just in that heat with a 4-2 but also as far as the meeting itself was concerned
Ht 1: H.Andersen, B.Wilson-Dean, R.Worrall, J.Holder 1-5 1-5 |60.56]
Ht 2: A.Summers, P.Starke, N.Covatti, K.Andersen 3-3 4-8 [60.19]
Ht 3: J.Grajczonek, C.Wright, S.Nicholls, A.Ellis (Rtd) 3-3 7-11 [60.1]
Ht 4: B.Wilson-Dean (RR), R.Worrall (RR), P.Starke, K.Andersen 3-3 10-14 [61.15]
Ht 5: H.Andersen, J.Grajczonek, B.Wilson-Dean, A.Ellis 2-4 12-18 [61.38]
Ht 6: S.Nicholls (RR), J.Holder, R.Worrall, K.Andersen 3-3 15-21 [60.75]
Ht 7: J.Grajczonek (RR), C.Wright, A.Summers, N.Covatti 3-3 18-24 [60.94]
Ht 8: A.Summers, B.Wilson-Dean, R.Worrall, P.Starke 1-5 19-29 [61.44]
Ht 9: J.Grajczonek, J.Holder (TS), H.Andersen (RR), A.Summers 5-1 24-30 [60.97]
Ht 10: J.Holder, C.Wright, R.Worrall, S.Nicholls 4-2 28-32 [61.38]
Ht 11: H.Andersen, J.Holder, B.Wilson-Dean, P.Starke 2-4 30-36 [61.5]
Ht 12: A.Ellis, S.Nicholls, A.Summers, P.Starke (Fell d/q) 3-3 33-39 [61.34]
Ht 13: J.Holder, C.Wright (RR), H.Andersen, A.Ellis (RR) 3-3 36-42 [61.66]
Ht 14: J.Grajczonek, N.Covatti, C.Wright, A.Summers 5-1 41-43 [61.32]
Ht 15: H.Andersen, J.Holder, S.Nicholls, J.Grajczonek 2-4 43-47 [61.44]
Gates: POOLE won toss and chose gates 1&3 | PETERBOROUGH took gates 1&3 in heat 15
Referee Ronnie Allan
League Points POOLE 0 PETERBOROUGH 3
Rider of the Night: Josh Grajczonek
J.Laker 3,2,3 = 8
S.Peters R,1',1 = 2+1
C.Kirtley-Paine 1,2,2' = 5
A.Palmer Fx,1',Fx = 1+1
J.Alcock 2,3,Fx = 5
L.Whitehead Fx,3,3,3,Fx = 9
D.Woodward 2',Fx,2',Fx = 4+2
L.Barnes NS,NS,NS = 0
Ht 1: J.Laker, J.Alcock, S.Peters (rtd), L.Whitehead (fell d/q) 3-2 3-2 [67.94]
Ht 2: L.Whitehead, D.Woodward, C.Kirtley-Paine, A.Palmer (fell d/q) 1-5 4-7 [Awd]
Ht 3: J.Alcock, J.Laker, S.Peters, D.Woodward (fell d/q) 3-3 7-10 [67.97]
Ht 4: L.Whitehead, C.Kirtley-Paine, A.Pamer, J.Alcock (fell d/q) 3-3 10-13 [Awd]
Ht 5: L.Whitehead, D.Woodward, S.Peters, A.Palmer (fell d/q) 1-5 11-18 [Awd]
Ht 6: J.Laker, C.Kirtley-Paine, L.Whitehead (fell d/q), D.Woodward (fell d/q) 5-0 16-18 [Awd]