How does that well sung statement in speedway go? Reserves can win or lose meetings? Well there can be no question that the paid 24 points for the Pirates pair in contrast to the pitiful three points accumulated by the Aces had a huge bearing on the outcome of the first leg of the Grand Final.

Not only did Paul Starke and Kyle Newman collect big points they did so with some conviction and it was the maximum points they claimed in heat two which really provided the platform for the Pirates to build an advantage from. The added bonus for the defending league champions was that in the fourth attempt to complete heat 2 they had no opposition for both Steve Worrall and Stefan Nielsen had taken spectacular falls during the process to try and reach a conclusion of this reserves heat.

Neither Ace could have any complaint about the respective decisions to disqualify them, Worrall going down in the second attempt after an unsatisfactory start had first been ruled. Then third time of asking Nielsen was tracking Starke around the first arc, clipped the wheel of the Pirates' number 6 and took a heavy fall, from which thankfully he was able to make the short walk back to the pits,  leaving the Poole boys to complete a further four laps unopposed and give the Pirates a five point lead, after Chris Holder had opened the meeting with a win.

Over the course of the next two heats the Pirates were more than content to occupy the minor points scoring places thus protecting that handful advantage but Dave Watt, having trailed a disappointing last in that opener was fully focussed on making amends second time out and made a terrific gate, quickly being joined by Starke for an unexpected 5-1.

Nicholls was put back 15 metres after a heat 6 tapes infringement and Holder, having made the running off the inside looked across at turn two delighted to see partner Janowski on his shoulder the pair going on to extend the Poole lead to a staggering 13 points, the Aces already looking at their tactical options.
It was no surprise to see Zagar take to track wearing the black and white cap but referee Graham Flint's decision to disqualify Craig Cook, a faller amidst first bend traffic, was not quite so expected and understandably incensed the massive gathering of Aces' fans who had turned out on this historic evening.
Dakota North decided to take the race to double point seeking Zagar in the re-run and the Slovenian had to be at his best to size up his options before blitzing by to trim the Pirates' lead back to 10.

Nicholls showed again what he is capable of when allowed to start on level terms and took heat 8 without incident, Watt and Starke more than happy to protect the points cushion with heats running away from the home side.

After two unpunished infringements for starting anticipations by first Gomolski and then Worrall, heat 9 saw an amazing ride by Kyle Newman to swoop round the first turn and pass both Fricke and Worrall. Partner Gomolski moved into third place but was looking far from comfortable and then on the third lap lifted awkwardly and launched into the air-barrier resulting in a disqualification, a wrecked bike and somewhat shaken, but on the positive side, an awarded heat thus meaning Newman's brilliance was not in vain.

Full praise to Craig Cook for a determined effort in heat 10 building up the speed and shooting by an unsuspecting Chris Holder to set-up the Aces' first conventional heat advantage of the night, and Poole's lead was back to single points.

The Aces looked set to weigh in with a big 5-1 as Fricke out front was being trailed by Zagar, but the Aces' number one was being hassled by North and rather than attempt to team-ride out the threat, Zagar opted for finding some speed and sailing off into the distance. That left North the slightly easier option of finding a way past Fricke which he discovered off the final turn to deny the Aces maximum points.

So, four points separated these two famous clubs and the Aces had just four heats left of their tenancy at the Greyhound Stadium. Was there time for an epic recovery? Was their final night in more ways than one going to end in defeat? What further twists could there be to this season?
Well drama ensued at the start of heat 12 with Newman rapidly running out of time as he tries to adjust his apparell, with the sporting help of the start marshal. Just one second remained on the clock when Newman discarded his goggles and bravely went into the heat. His partner Starke made the running and Newman cleverly negotiated the first turn by switching to the inside and keeping safe distance from Starke's spray whilst fending off a challenge from Nielsen.  Another reserve maximum result for the Pirates and back to a double figure lead.

Cook refused to believe that the Aces' chances of pulling that back were beyond them and he made all the running from the tapes whilst Zagar again showed his knowledge of the circuit and preyed on Holder before making the pass that delivered the Aces' first maximum heat score.

They waited thirteen heats for one and then instantly found another as Grajczonek picked up his first win of the night supported by the patient Nicholls who, unlike Zagar earlier,  was happy to fight off a determined effort from North.

This was looking more and more like Brandon-revisited when the Pirates had squandered an eight point advantage in the semi-final conceding maximums in the final two heats. Here they were having seen their earlier thirteen point lead trimmed to just two with a race to go and the Aces coming stronger over the final third of the meeting.

No surprise then when Cook and Zagar were nominated to bring the Kirky curtain down for the Aces and Holder and North were given the task of trying to protect Poole's slender advantage.  Cook again made the gate but Holder was resilient to Zagar's threats this time around and so for the second successive away match of the season the Pirates had to settle for a draw and a play-off meeting goes down to a straight fifteen heat shoot-out.

Belle Vue 46
M. Zagar 2,6,3,2',1=14+1
M. Fricke 1',1,1',1=4+2
J. Grajczonek 0,1,1,3=5
S. Nicholls 3,0,3,2'=8+1
C. Cook 3,FD,3,3,3=12
S. Worrall FD,0,2,0=2
S. Nielsen 0,0,0,1=1

C. Holder 3,2',2,1,2=10+1
D. Watt 0,3,2,0=5
D. North 2,2,2,1,0=7
K. Gomolski 1',1',FD=2+2
M. Janowski 1',3,0,0=4+1
P. Starke 3,2',1',3,0=9+2
K. Newman 2',2,3,2'=9+2

Ht 1 C. Holder M. Zagar M. Fricke D. Watt 3-3 (3-3) (58.3)
Ht 2 P. Starke K. Newman S. Nielsen S. Worrall (Fell d/q) 0-5 (3-8) (61)
Ht 3 C. Cook D. North M. Janowski J. Grajczonek 3-3 (6-11) (59.9)
Ht 4 S. Nicholls K. Newman K. Gomolski S. Nielsen 3-3 (9-14) (59.9)
Ht 5 D. Watt P. Starke M. Fricke S. Worrall 1-5 (10-19) (60.3)
Ht 6 M. Janowski C. Holder J. Grajczonek S. Nicholls 1-5 (11-24) (60.5)
Ht 7 M. Zagar (TR) D. North K. Gomolski C. Cook (Fell d/q) 6-3 (17-27) (60.1)
Ht 8 S. Nicholls D. Watt P. Starke S. Nielsen 3-3 (20-30) (59.4)
Ht 9 K. Newman S. Worrall M. Fricke K. Gomolski (Fell d/q) 3-3 (23-33) (AWD)
Ht 10 C. Cook C. Holder J. Grajczonek D. Watt 4-2 (27-35) (59.4)
Ht 11 M. Zagar D. North M. Fricke M. Janowski 4-2 (31-37) (60.7)
Ht 12 P. Starke K. Newman S. Nielsen S. Worrall 1-5 (32-42) (61.3)
Ht 13 C. Cook M. Zagar C. Holder M. Janowski 5-1 (37-43) (59.6)
Ht 14 J. Grajczonek S. Nicholls D. North P. Starke 5-1 (42-44) (61)
Ht 15 C. Cook C. Holder M. Zagar D. North 4-2 (46-46) (58.8)

Referee Graham Flint
Gates:  Belle Vue win toss and defer to heat 15 (2&4). Poole on 2&4.


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