SGB Premiership
Play-off semi-final second leg
Poole Pirates 47, Somerset Rebels 43
Aggregate: Poole 91, Somerset 89

SOMERSET Rebels' dream of a maiden Premiership play-off final appearance was ended by a piece of sheer brilliance by Pirates' mid-campaign recruit Chris Harris, on a night when the Rebels were further hit by injuries, writes Stephen Allen.

Already without Bradley Wilson-Dean and Aaron Summers, Monday night saw them having to ride their second leg of the semi-final without Jack Holder, who became the innocent victim of a spectacular heat 3 crash.

It placed a 75-minute delay on the meeting, as Holder 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 1 and 2, 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 debatable decision by Christina Turnbull to disqualify Jason Doyle from heat 11 after he appeared the victim in 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.

Nicolai 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, sending Poole into their 10th play-off final and leaving Rebels fans wondering what might have been.

Boss 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 Knock Out Cup final to win yet!"

The Rebels take on King's Lynn in the two-leg KO Cup final on October 17-18.

Poole (47): N.Klindt 11+3, C.Harris 11+1, R.Worrall 8, K.Woryna 8+1, J.Grajczonek 5+3, F.Jakobsen 4, B.Kurtz 0
Somerset (43): N.Covatti 11+3, J.Allen 11, J.Doyle 11, R.Lawson 7+2, K.Howarth 3, J.Holder 0