PIRATES 44 SWINDON 46
RESULT and scorers from Monday's SGB Premiership play-off semi final first leg at Wimborne Road;
The cost of dropping valuable points when on opening maximum heat scores could prove costly in the eventual analysis of this play-off semi-final.
Brady Kurtz and Jack Holder looked to be on their way to the perfect start for the VOLVO CARS POOLE Pirates as they held an advantage over GP leader Jason Doyle but a telling move by the Robins' number one on lap 2 picked off Holder who was beginning to look slow which allowed Ellis to seize upon. Despite running wide on turn 3 of the final circuit he recovered swiftly to hold on for the heat share.
Paul Starke was well clear in heat 2 with James Shanes backing up comfortably in second but Starke suffered ignition problems which let the Robins off the hook again.
The visitors took full advantage of their fortunes with Musielak and Bellego edging them ahead, the Pole showing good speed to overcome Kennett, but Poole's response was instant with Andersen taking the wide route to sweep by both opponents. Shanes' determination was full on and he applied immense pressure on Davey and gained just rewards off the final turn, levelling the scores.
Kennett was fast in heat 5 to inflict Doyle's second defeat of the night but still there was nothing from Lahti who had been so inspirational when at reserve.
Poole could have moved ahead in heat 6 but Holder, making a move on Morris for third place, slid into the third turn to make it a sorry start for him.
Bellego and Musielak locked in a convincing 5-1 for the Robins with Andersen's early challenge fading fast and Swindon tried to pile on the pressure by replacing Davey for Newman in heat 8. Ellis was too eager and charged the tapes, thus earning himself a 15 metre penalty. Holder made the running but Ellis also made up plenty of ground for an eventual second place whilst the Puddletown neighbours of Shanes and Newman were battling intensely, the Robins' guest being very forceful on Shanes on the final turn to seal the heat share.
Newman then played a further part in the Pirates downfall by winning heat 9 with Morris in tow as the gap between the two sides widened to 8 points. It was soon at 10 with Musielak ending Kurtz's unbeaten run and Bellego taking third over Holder.
With this being an aggregate two-legged tie tactical options weren't applicable much to the frustration of Neil Middleditch who was about to send Andersen out in the black and white. It would have been valuable too as Andersen headed home Doyle and Starke saw off Ellis as Poole attempted to claw their way back into the tie.
Two-on-the-trot Starke roared by Newman and then rode good lines to keep out Musielak to gain the race win he so richly deserved whilst chapter two of the battle between Newman and Shanes unfolded with Shanes making a sweet move at the pit turn and holding off the resistance to provide Poole a valuable heat-share.
The body-blow followed in heat 13 through a Robins' 5-1 which meant they would be heading into the second league with a certain advantage but two massive 5-1 responses from the Pirates meant that the margin would be just two points - oh how those dropped points could come back to make them pay!
B. Kurtz 3,3,2,0,2'=10+1
J. Holder 0,F,3,0=3
T. Lahti 0,0,1=1
E. Kennett 2,3,0,2'=7+1
H. Andersen 3,0,3,1,3=10
P. Starke R,1,1,3,3=8
J. Shanes 3,1,0,1=5
J. Doyle 2,2,2,3,1=10
A. Ellis 1',1',2,0=4+2
T. Musielak 3,2',3,2,R=10+1
D. Bellego 1,3,1,1=6
N. Morris 2,1',2',2'=7+3
K. Newman 2,2,1',3,0=8+1
M. Davey 1',0,0=1+1
Ht 1 B. Kurtz J. Doyle A. Ellis J. Holder 3-3 (3-3) (61.37)
Ht 2 J. Shanes K. Newman M. Davey P. Starke (Rtd) 3-3 (6-6) (63.13)
Ht 3 T. Musielak E. Kennett D. Bellego T. Lahti 2-4 (8-10) (61.88)
Ht 4 H. Andersen N. Morris J. Shanes M. Davey 4-2 (12-12) (62.41)
Ht 5 E. Kennett J. Doyle A. Ellis T. Lahti 3-3 (15-15) (61.41)
Ht 6 B. Kurtz K. Newman N. Morris J. Holder (Fell) 3-3 (18-18) (62.69)
Ht 7 D. Bellego T. Musielak P. Starke H. Andersen 1-5 (19-23) (62.9)
Ht 8 J. Holder A. Ellis(tapes hcap) K. Newman J. Shanes 3-3 (22-26) (62.19)
Ht 9 K. Newman N. Morris T. Lahti E. Kennett 1-5 (23-31) (62.47)
Ht 10 T. Musielak B. Kurtz D. Bellego J. Holder 2-4 (25-35) (61.78)
Ht 11 H. Andersen J. Doyle P. Starke A. Ellis 4-2 (29-37) (61.56)
Ht 12 P. Starke T. Musielak J. Shanes K. Newman 4-2 (33-39) (61.94)
Ht 13 J. Doyle N. Morris H. Andersen B. Kurtz 1-5 (34-44) (61.87)
Ht 14 P. Starke E. Kennett D. Bellego M. Davey 5-1 (39-45) (62.22)
Ht 15 H. Andersen B. Kurtz J. Doyle T. Musielak (Rtd) 5-1 (44-46) (62.68)
Referee Mick Bates
Gates: POOLE won toss and chose gates 1&3 in heat 1. SWINDON took gates 1&3 in heat 15
Season Starts March 2018 (for 2017 table click here)