PIRATES TO FACE KING'S LYNN IN GRAND FINAL
Poole fans ran the full spectrum of emotions in a spectacular play-off semi-final which, after losing the services of Brady Kurtz with a shoulder injury leading to a 75 minute delay in proceedings, concluded with an amazing heat 15 pass by their one-time play-off nemesis Chris Harris to secure their 10th play-off final place.
Kurtz and his 2017 team-mate Jack Holder were both victims of a bad crash in heat 3, the Poole rider catching the rear wheel of Holder launching both riders into the airfence. With both being despatched to Poole Hospital with shoulder injuries the meeting was reduced to just 11 riders, as Somerset were already using rider replacement for Aaron Summers.
At the time of the incident the Rebels had increased their advantage from the first leg, leading by six on the night and eight on aggregate. They built on that with a 5-1 in the rerun of heat three, and through a sequence of three shared heats maintained a 12 point aggregate lead with the Pirates limited to just one race winner in seven heats.
But a winning ride from Frederik Jakobsen in heat 8, supported by skipper Grajczonek inspired the Pirates and they went on an incredible run of four successive maximum heat scores, aided partly by a harsh decision by referee Christina Turnbull to disqualify Jason Doyle in a first turn incident that had the 2017 world champion hitting the deck.
That put the Pirates 80-76 up on aggregate but a clever gamble by Rebels Garry May to give Nico Covatti the rider replacement outing in heat 12 paid dividends for the visitors as the two Somerset reserves filed a 5-1 over Woryna and Jakobsen that levelled the tie. But the gamble left him able to send out one rider only in heat 13 but that was Doyle and he duly collected the win over Worrall and Harris. The tie remained deadlocked when Klindt won heat 14 meaning the next heat advantage would clinch the right to race King's Lynn in next week's final.
If that advantage wasn't to come from heat 15 then the contest would have gone to a Golden Heat decider and after Klindt went too soon at the first attempt the tension was ratched up a further notch. Doyle led the re-start and it looked as those Golden heat nominations would have to be made until Harris, having worked his way from last to second on lap two suddenly found the perfect line to close in on Doyle. They both switched lines together and it seemed as though Harris' efforts were to be thwarted. Harris moved back to the outside and had the speed on the run to the line to brush by Doyle with a tyre-thread to spare to secure the 4-2 and send the Wimborne Road stadium into a late night frenzy.
Ht 1: J.Doyle, C.Harris, K.Howarth, J.Grajczonek 2-4 2-4 |60.18]
Ht 2: J.Allen, N.Covatti, R.Worrall, F.Jakobsen 1-5 3-9 [60.03]
Ht 3: N.Klindt, J.Allen, R.Lawson, K.Woryna 3-3 6-12 [60.34]
Ht 4: J.Allen, N.Covatti, F.Jakobsen, B.Kurtz (Fell d/q) 1-5 7-17 [60.44]
Ht 5: J.Doyle, K.Woryna, N.Klindt, K.Howarth 3-3 10-20 [60.5]
Ht 6: N.Covatti, C.Harris, J.Grajczonek, J.Allen 3-3 13-23 [60.5]
Ht 7: R.Lawson, R.Worrall, n.klindt, n.covatti 3-3 16-26 [61.22]
Ht 8: F.Jakobsen, J.Grajczonek, K.Howarth, N.Covatti 5-1 21-27 [61.69]
Ht 9: K.Woryna, N.Klindt, R.Lawson, J.Allen 5-1 26-28 [61.5]
Ht 10: C.Harris, J.Grajczonek, R.Lawson, J.Allen 5-1 31-29 [61.5]
Ht 11: K.Woryna, R.Worrall, K.Howarth, J.Doyle (Fell d/q) 5-1 36-30 [61.28]
Ht 12: J.Allen, N.Covatti, K.Woryna, F.Jakobsen 1-5 37-35 [61.88]
Ht 13: J.Doyle NS, R.Worrall, C.Harris, J.Holder 3-3 40-38 
Ht 14: N.Klindt, N.Covatti, R.Lawson, R.Worrall 3-3 43-41 [61.22]
Ht 15: C.Harris, J.Doyle, N.Klindt, R.Lawson 4-2 47-43 [61.19]
Gates: POOLE won toss and chose gates 1&3 | Somerset took gates 1&3 in heat 15
Referee Christina Turnbull
Aggregate Score: POOLE 91 SOMERSET 89
Rider of the Night: Chris Harris
up to and including 27th September