Monday October 07, 2013
BIRMINGHAM face a huge uphill task if they are to clinch the Elite League title at Perry Barr next Monday – after a play-off nightmare at Poole last night.

The Selco Brummies had most things their own way as they topped the table during the regular season, but they were clearly second-best in Dorset as the in-form Pirates built a lead.

The bottom line was that several riders who have had terrific seasons were, on this occasion, unable to step up in the white-hot atmosphere of a Grand Final, which leaves a big salvage job ahead in the second leg.

Brummies were forced into damage limitation right from the off as Jason Doyle demolished the tapes in the first race and was disqualified, with the home side banking a quickfire 5-1.

The visitors pegged things with three shared heats, Chris Harris an impressive winner of Heat 4, but Doyle was ridden out by an inspired Josh Grajczonek in the next race as Poole collected their second 5-1.

When Phil Morris deployed Danny King for a tactical ride in Heat 7 the skipper fell heavily on the third bend, and Ben Barker had no answer to Grajczonek and Maciej Janowski in the re-run.

Doyle was more successful when going for double next time out, a strong move around the second bend taking him to all six points – but Poole raced into a 17-point lead across the next two races.

King stemmed the tide with a super win over Greg Hancock in Heat 12 and Barker also won his final ride – but the big clashes of Heats 13 and 15 both resulted in Poole 5-1s to further stretch the advantage.

Brummies boss Phil Morris said: “We’re really disappointed, and several riders have apologised because they know it wasn’t good enough, although we know they were trying their hardest.

“It just didn’t happen for us on the night, and we’ve got to turn up with all seven riders firing next week to have a chance.”

POOLE 57: Greg Hancock 14, Darcy Ward 13+2, Josh Grajczonek 10+2, Tomas H Jonasson 9+2, Maciej Janowski 8+2, Kyle Newman 3+1, Rohan Tungate r/r.

BIRMINGHAM 36: Jason Doyle 11, Chris Harris 7, Ben Barker 6+1, Danny King 5, Nico Covatti 3+1, Martin Smolinski 2, Josh Auty 2.

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