Poole Pirates v Wolverhampton Wolves5/09/19
Pirates' aspirations of securing top spot in the Premiership league table were delivered a blow as Wolverhampton booked their place in the end-of-season play-offs, banking the full four points and moving level on 42 points with both Poole and Ipswich, with Swindon heading the pack by a further point.
Wolves took the meeting to the Pirates, spurred on by their highly impressive reserve Luke Bekker, the American inflicting an opening heat defeat on Poole's September number one Brady Kurtz, with Sam Masters backing up in third for the visitors. Poole were firmly on the back foot when the Wolves' reserves fired in a 5-1, Becker playing the supporting role to Ryan Douglas' victory. After Rory Schlein took the honours over Nicolai Klindt in heat three Becker was out again in the fourth and retained his unbeaten tag with a win over Jack Holder.
Poole were already trailing by eight points by the time they could celebrate a first race winner; Klindt being that man but his all-too-often solid partner Josh Grajczonek was unable to get amongst the points and the hosts had to settle for a heat share. They celebrated their first heat advantage in heat six, and it was a big one too with Kurtz and Nico Covatti storming clear of Jacob Thorssell and Douglas.
It proved a false dawn as far as comebacks were concerned with heat seven eventually being settled in a re-run after Rory Schlein and Jack Holder made contact in a first bend tussle that left Schlein nursing a damaged shoulder. After an early interval, he fought on in the re-start and had the beating of Tomas Jonasson, thus supporting Nick Morris' win over Holder. Morris and Becker combined in the next to fire Wolverhampton into a 10 point lead.
But again the Poole faithful had something to cheer and it was the pairing of Klindt and Grajczonek that gave it, proving too strong for Thorssell and Douglas. That inspired Neil Middleditch to give Klindt a back-to-back ride, bringing him in as a tactical substitute at the expense of Covatti, and it was a masterstroke for Klindt and Kurtz complemented each other and pushed Morris back into third with Becker, standing in for the withdrawn Schlein, for the first time failing to score.
Sam Masters found his gating boots and behind him his partner Thorssell found a way by Jonasson to extend the visitors lead by a further two point, making the score 31-35. Klindt had nothing to back him up in heat 12 as yet again the Poole reserves struggled to score, this time Wells running another last place. Masters inched Wolverhampton closer to victory, ensuring that a league point was at the very least their reward for their efforts, as he took the honours over Holder and Kurtz and that meant Poole needed two heat advantages to pull a victory out of the bag.
Jonasson was working hard in heat 14 to try and achieve that goal, but ran into trouble on the second circuit and took a first bend fall but rapidly cleared the track. Grajczonek then dug deep and took the wide route to see off both Becker and Morris. Whilst victory was now reliant on Wolves not getting a finisher in heat 15, a snatch-and-grab draw was still an option. Klindt and Kurtz were selected and Klindt made the early running, although in truth Kurtz never looked likely to be able to join him and it seemed as though Wolves were heading for three points. That changed when Klindt got caught out and Morris, swiftly followed by Masters, took advantage and secured the 5-1 that gave moved Wolverhampton onto 42 league points, just ahead of confirmation from Peterborough that Belle Vue had failed in their bid to take all four points from their final league fixture, their away win leaving them on 41 points as the top four qualifiers were confirmed - Swindon, Poole, Ipswich and Wolverhampton - with just the final standings now to be resolved.
Ht 1: L.Becker, B.Kurtz, S.Masters, N.Covatti 2-4 2-4 [.60.25]
Ht 2: R.Douglas, L.Becker, R.Wells, T.Jonasson 1-5 3-9 [60.31]
Ht 3: R.Schlein, N.Klindt, J.Grajczonek, N.Morris 3-3 6-12 [60.06]
Ht 4: L.Becker, J.Holder, J.Thorssell, R.Wells 2-4 8-16 [60.29]
Ht 5: N.Klindt, R.Douglas, S.Masters, J.Grajczonek 3-3 11-19 
Ht 6: B.Kurtz, N.Covatti, J.Thorssell, R.Douglas 5-1 16-20 [59.68]
Ht 7: N.Morris, J.Holder, R.Schlein, T.Jonasson 2-4 18-24 [60.56]
Ht 8: L.Becker, N.Morris, N.Covatti, R.Wells 1-5 19-29 [61.06]
Ht 9: N.Klindt, J.Grajczonek, J.Thorssell, R.Douglas 5-1 24-30 [60.84]
Ht 10: N.Klindt, B.Kurtz, N.Morris, L.Becker 5-1 29-31 [61.19]
Ht 11: S.Masters, J.Holder, J.Thorssell, T.Jonasson 2-4 31-35 [61.41]
Ht 12: N.Klindt, L.Becker, N.Morris, R.Wells 3-3 34-38 [60.97]
Ht 13: S.Masters, J.Holder, B.Kurtz, J.Thorssell 3-3 37-41 [61.25]
Ht 14: J.Grajczonek, L.Becker, N.Morris, T.Jonasson (fell)3-3 40-44 [61.62]
Ht 15: N.Morris, S.Masters, N.Klindt, B.Kurtz 1-5 41-49 [61.03]
REFEREE Mr Dave Watters
GATES WOLVERHAMPTON won toss and chose gates 1&3 | POOLE choses gates 1&3 in heat 15
League Points: POOLE 0 WOLVERHAMPTON 4
Ht 1: N.Laurence, J.Laker, R.Laker, S.Peters 2-4 2-4 [69.84]
Ht 2: W.O'Keefe, E.Meadows, D.Carr, J.Evans 1-5 3-9 [71.66]
Ht 3: W.O'Keefe, J.Laker, S.Peters, E.Meadows 3-3 6-12 [67.72]
Ht 4: N.Laurence, R.Laker, J.Evans, D.Carr 1-5 7-17 [66.28]
Ht 5: R.Laker, J.Evans, E.Meadows, S.Peters 2-4 9-21 [72.66]
Ht 6: N.Laurence, J.Laker, D.Carr, W.O'Keefe 3-3 12-24 [66.78]