RESULT: POOLE 45 V SWINDON 45
Poole will head into the play-offs on an extended unbeaten run of five matches and a home stretch of 11 matches without a defeat but were held to a draw by fellow play-off qualifiers Swindon Robins.
The two sides who have felt the hurt of Darcy Wards sudden incapacitation the most, shared the honours in this poignant meeting during the interval of which supporters from both camps emotionally chanted "Darcy Ward" for 43 seconds at the behest of Darcy's father, George.
As a Pirate at heart and the inspiration behind the Robins' play-off drive this was, as Dave Watt admitted "probably the best result for Darcy but for us, it hurt."
Watt had started like a train, recording the second fastest time of the season to win heat one and make the 88,000th standing league race point conceded by the Pirates somewhat insignificant as Watt's team-mate Chris Holder followed him home, with Troy Batchelor earning the distinction of claiming that milestone against the Pirates With Kyle Newman taking a wide sweep to round Charles Wright in the second heat to extend the Pirates lead and the home side going on to quickly build their advantage to 8 points in the space of the first 5 heats this meeting had the signs of being another big Poole triumph.
But when Grzegorz Zengota got his reward for pressuring Kacper Gomolski in heat 6 to join leader Batchelor at the front the Robins began to believe in themselves as they halved the difference. They might well have eaten further into that lead had Kildemand, after moving to the front in heat 7 not fallen right in the path of chasing Poole skipper Maciej Janowski. Thankfully, both riders were able to quickly walk away unscathed, Janowski able to claim the victory in the rerun by blitzing his way past the solo Robin Nick Morris.
If the Robins felt that luck was against them then it quickly evened itself out as Gomolski was less than half a lap from the flag when his bike packed up whilst leading heat 8 and although Newman did his best to try and save something from the heat the Robins duo of Charles Wright and Aaron Summers gratefully took advantage.
Kildemand showed no ill-effects from that fall and his heat 9 win coupled with Wright's third place levelled the meeting up. Heading into the break North looked set to open his account for the night but the slightest of errors handed an opening to Summers as the scores remained deadlocked
Holder stormed to victory immediately after the track collection had been held on behalf of his good friend Ward but Watt's clever cut back at the first turn was thwarted and he failed to score for the only time on the night. Paul Starke kept the Pirates from slipping behind as he passed Rose late in heat 12 before Holder and Janowski re-established the home side's lead with a 5-1 over the hotly pursuing Zengota.
North switched to a bike loaned by Dave Watt but he was picking that up from the shale on the third turn to leave plenty of burden on Gomolski's shoulder. It looked as though the Pole had done enough virtually assure the Pirates of the win but he lifted down the back straight on the final circuit and drifted fractionally wide off the final turn, small little errors that played into Morris' hands and the Aussie nipped through for a 4-2 advantage as the meeting headed for a last heat decider.
Poole looked set to hold on for the win even after Kildemand had passed Janowski, to deny a maximum, but Zengota proved what a great find he has been for Swindon this season by hunting down and passing Holder to secure a draw on the night.
C. Holder 2',1,3,3,0=9+1
D. Watt 3,3,2,0=8
D. North 0,0,0,FD=0
K. Gomolski 2,1,R,2=5
M. Janowski 3,3,3,2',2=13+1
P. Starke 1,1,0,1'=3+1
K. Newman 3,1',1,2=7+1
T. Batchelor 1,3,2,0=6
A. Summers 0,2,2',1'=5+2
N. Morris 1',2,2,3=8+1
P. Kildemand 3,FD,3,1,3=10
G. Zengota 2,2',1',1,1=7+2
C. Wright 2,0,3,1,3=9
L. Rose 0,0,0=0
Ht 1 D. Watt C. Holder T. Batchelor A. Summers 5-1 (5-1) (58.97)
Ht 2 K. Newman C. Wright P. Starke L. Rose 4-2 (9-3) (60.75)
Ht 3 M. Janowski G. Zengota N. Morris D. North 3-3 (12-6) (59.78)
Ht 4 P. Kildemand K. Gomolski K. Newman L. Rose 3-3 (15-9) (61.03)
Ht 5 D. Watt A. Summers P. Starke C. Wright 4-2 (19-11) (59.98)
Ht 6 T. Batchelor G. Zengota K. Gomolski D. North 1-5 (20-16) (59.94)
Ht 7 M. Janowski N. Morris C. Holder P. Kildemand (Fell d/q) 4-2 (24-18) (60.34)
Ht 8 C. Wright A. Summers K. Newman K. Gomolski (Rtd) 1-5 (25-23) (62.19)
Ht 9 P. Kildemand D. Watt C. Wright P. Starke 2-4 (27-27) (61.46)
Ht 10 M. Janowski T. Batchelor A. Summers D. North 3-3 (30-30) (60.46)
Ht 11 C. Holder N. Morris G. Zengota D. Watt 3-3 (33-33) (60.12)
Ht 12 C. Wright K. Newman P. Starke L. Rose 3-3 (36-36) (61.32)
Ht 13 C. Holder M. Janowski G. Zengota T. Batchelor 5-1 (41-37) (60.78)
Ht 14 N. Morris K. Gomolski P. Kildemand D. North (Fell d/q) 2-4 (43-41) (61.79)
Ht 15 P. Kildemand M. Janowski G. Zengota C. Holder 2-4 (45-45) (60.56)
Referee Christina Turnbull
Gates: Swindon won toss and take 1&3. Poole took 1&3 in heat 15
up to and including 27th September