PREVIEWING: POOLE v SOMERSET - KO CUP QUARTER FINAL SECOND LEG
Matt Ford believes Australian star Brady Kurtz answered his critics in the best way possible – with a double-figure return on the road.
Kurtz had come under fire alongside skipper Josh Grajczonek after the former Somerset duo notched just six points between them at the Oaktree Arena last week, denting the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates' hopes of a valuable SGB Premiership away victory.
But Pirates number one Kurtz led from the front at Belle Vue last night, racking up paid 14 as the Dorset side claimed another crucial league point on away shale, going down by a narrow 48-42 scoreline.
Ford said: "I think Brady has shown what a mature head he has on his shoulders this season. It's been tough for him at times and there was a lot of criticism after his performance at Somerset last week, but like a top professional rider, he didn't let it bother him, got his head down and worked on the issues behind the scenes.
"It's never an easy task going to Manchester and Brady led from the front to be the top scorer on the night. That point could prove to be a crucial one come the end of the summer."
Kurtz will be looking to add to his North West haul when the Pirates line up against Somerset in the Knockout Cup at Wimborne Road tomorrow night (7.30pm), a meeting that will see the return to Wimborne Road of Jack Holder after his winter move to the Rebels. Holder has been in solid form for the Rebels and has developed a good partnership with world champion Jason Doyle, who on his last visit to Poole was crowned Premiership League Riders' champion back in in May.
The home side will be looking to overturn a 14-point deficit from the quarter-final first leg at the Oaktree Arena back in May where they crashed to a 52-38 defeat.
Of course, the Pirates have rung the changes since that night, with Richie Worrall and Nicolai Klindt replacing Peter Kildemand and James Shanes, while Somerset, too, have shuffled their pack with the additions of Claus Vissing, who misses this confrontation due to Danish engagements, and Nico Covatti in place of Charles Wright and Jonas Jeppesen.
Pirates: Brady Kurtz, Linus Sundstrom, Richie Worrall, Nicolai Klindt, Josh Grajczonek, Mateusz Szczepaniak, Kacper Woryna - Team manager Neil Middleditch
Rebles: Jason Doyle, Rider Replacement, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Richard Lawson, Jack Holder, Jake Allen, Nico Covatti - Team manager: Garry May
- Prior to the meeting, the semi-finals of the Poole Speedway schools football competition get under way prior with Talbot Primary taking on Heatherlands in the first last four tie at 6.45pm.
up to and including 19th July