The ‘Cases’ Rebels dreams of a maiden Premiership play-off final appearance was denied them by a piece of sheer brilliance by Pirates’ mid-campaign recruit Chris Harris, on a night when the Rebels were further hit by injuries.
Already without Bradley Wilson-Dean and Aaron Summers they then found themselves having to ride their second leg of the semi-final without the Jack Holder who became the innocent victim of a spectacular heat 3 crash that placed a 75 minute delay on the meeting as he and fellow Aussie Brady Kurtz were being transported to Poole Hospital with shoulder injuries.
It left team manager Garry May needing to carefully deploy reserves Jake Allen and Nico Covatti as he tried to defend the early advantage the Rebels had built up. With heat advantages from heats one and two the Rebels found themselves extending their lead and when Allen and Covatti filed another 5-1 in the heat 3 re-start May had been delivered the kind of start he had hoped for.
Protecting that 12 point aggregate advantage for the next three heats and having denied the Pirates a heat advantage of their own, another final against King’s Lynn looked on the cards. But Poole suddenly turned the tie on its head as they hit back with four maximum heat scores, aided by a harsh and debatable decision by Christina Turnbull to disqualify Jason Doyle from heat 11 after he was a victim of a first turn incident.
Covatti and Allen however showed true fighting spirit to win heat 12 and level the aggregate scores and with Somerset sending out only one rider in heat 13, due to the maximum ride rule they were reliant on Doyle who duly delivered.
Klindt repeated his first leg exploits by winning heat 14 which meant a heat advantage in 15 would send either side through.
For most of the race a shared heat looked on the cards, which would have set up the Golden Heats to decide the tie, but then Harris produced that piece of brilliance to utilise the track fully, close in on Doyle and then find the speed off the final turn to steal the victory on the line which sent Poole into their 10th play-off final and left Rebels fans wondering what might have been.
Gallant team manager Garry May said “What can I say? It was a good meeting and that was a great ride from Bomber to win it for them. It was always going to be tough for us but I also felt we could run them close and we did just that. In the end I ran out of riders. We can look back on what might have beens but in the end they had that great run mid-meeting with four maximum heats. Of course it would have been a different meeting had we not lost Jack but I am sure Poole will say the same thing about losing Brady. We can only hope that there will be some good news to follow. We need some of that on the injury front as we have a knockout cup final to win yet!”
POOLE – 47: N.Klindt 11+3 (3,1′,1′,2′,3,1), C.Harris 11+1 (2,2,3,1′,3), R.Worrall 8 (1,2,3,2,0), K.Woryna 8+1 (0,2,3,2′,1), J.Grajczonek 5+3 (0,1′,2′,2′), F.Jakobsen 4 (0,1,3,0), B.Kurtz 0 (FD)
SOMERSET – 43: N.Covatti 11+3 (2′,2′,3,0,0,2′,2), J.Allen 11 (3,2,3,0,0,0,3), J.Doyle 11 (3,3,FD,3,2), R.Lawson 7+2 (1′,3,1,1,1′,0), K.Howarth 3 (1,0,1,1), J.Holder 0 (FN)