Written by Joshua Taylor
A sensational start for the on-point Poole Pirates saw them cruise to a 16-point lead in their quest for Speedway Grand Final glory.
Poole Pirates are one step closer to finishing their 70th anniversary year as SGB Premiership champions as they beat table-toppers King’s Lynn Stars 53-37 in their Grand Final first leg. The Pirates now take a massive 16-point lead into Wednesday’s decider.
Quick off the blocks:
Poole fans could not have dreamt of a better start to the tie – the Pirates flew out of the gates gaining maximum points in the first four heats much to the elation of the packed crowd at Wimborne Road.
However, it was not all plain sailing for the Pirates. King’s Lynn secured a one-two finish of their own in heat six thanks to a strong ride by guest rider Adam Ellis, a late replacement for the injured Niels-Kristian Iversen who suffered a heavy knock during the Polish Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Stars’ fightback continued with maximum points in heat eight. The win was a result of brilliant tactical riding from Erik Riss and Michael Palm Toft to hold off the pursuit of Pirate’s captain Josh Grajczonek. Another win for the pairing of Ellis and Palm Toft saw the Stars cut the deficit to just eight points.
A nasty looking crash in heat 12 by King’s Lynn rider Palm Toft looked to mar the occasion, with fans recalling Brady Kurtz’s season-ending collision just a week before. The Stars’ rider was quickly back on his feet, however he was disqualified from the restart after being adjudged to be the cause of the stoppage. Poole sought to profit from their numerical advantage with rider-of-the-night Kacper Woryna and Frederik Jakobsen recording maximum points.
Another one-two finish for Poole in heat 14 followed by a draw in the final heat saw Poole end their final home tie of the season with a comfortable 53-37 victory.
A sixteen-point lead might look unassailable to some, but Poole fans will be wary after seeing their side lose in dramatic fashion to the Stars just last month, slumping to a 32-58 loss at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Poole manager Neil Middleditch warned his side: “mustn’t let King’s Lynn do what we did to them at the start of the meeting and try to play catch up, because trying to play is extremely hard.”
The final concludes at the Adrian Flux Arena on Wednesday night.
Rider of the night: Richie Worrall
‘Volvo cars’ Poole Pirates: 53
Chris Harris 8+1, Josh Grajczonek (c) 6, Kacper Woryna 7, Nicolai Klindt 11+2, Nick Morris (g) 5+2, Richie Worrall (r) 10+1, Frederik Jakobsen (r) 6+3
King’s Lynn ‘Tru Plant’ Stars: 37
Robert Lambert (c) 12, Erik Riss 3, Ty Proctor 2, Thomas Jorgensen 6+1, Adam Ellis (g) 6, Michael Palm Toft (r) 6+2, Simon Lambert (r) 2
(x) = total score
+(x) = paid bonus point
(c) = captain
(r) = reserve rider
(g) = guest