POOLE secured the final SGB Premiership play-off place thanks to a dramatic last-gasp 48-45 win at Somerset on Friday.

The Pirates trailed by ten points in the early stages of the meeting and looked set to require a slip-up from Rye House in order to maintain their top four spot.

But the visitors halved the deficit with a 7-2 in heat five courtesy of a tactical ride win for Brady Kurtz, only for the Rebels to re-build a nine-point lead.

Back-to-back Poole maximums in heats nine and ten slashed the gap to one point, which it remained prior to the final race, only for Kurtz and Hans Andersen to hit the front in heat 15 with the Pirates skipper holding off the challenge of Somerset’s Richard Lawson for the crucial second place in a 48-45 win.

Timo Lahti again scored heavily at reserve with 12 (paid 13), a score matched by Kurtz, with Edward Kennett on ten (paid 11) while Charles Wright (12), Lawson (ten) and Josh Grajczonek (ten) led the way for the Rebels.

Somerset boss Garry May said: ‘It was a terrific match, but at the end of the day we still lost, de- spite leading for 14 out of the 15 heats.

‘After dominating things in the first half, those two 5- 1’s from Poole mid-meeting swung the pendulum their way, and although we man- aged to hold on to our one- point lead going into the final heat, Poole made the favoured gate positions tell.

‘Although Richard tried his best, the Poole boys made sure there was no way past for him.’

Andersen added: ‘We are so pleased to have settled things tonight. We have achieved the play-offs in our own right.

‘We are there and will now do our best to go on and make the most of it, the title is still there to be won and we will give it our best shot. We need to put some of the performances of the season behind us and go out and ride the way we are capable of riding.’

Although Somerset have completed their League fixtures, the Rebels still have the matter of the SGB Premiership Knock-Out Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton to contest, with the home leg being scheduled for Friday, September 22.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.