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Poole Pirates: Hancock hails Ward's leadership skills
VETERAN Greg Hancock hailed the leadership skills of rookie skipper Darcy Ward and then stated: “He has really raised his whole game.”
Hancock believes Ward is showing the captaincy qualities of somebody who has done the job for 20 years – despite only taking on the role in July.
Two-times world champion Hancock has been impressed by his team-mate’s maturity since joining Pirates as cover for injury victim Chris Holder.
Ward, who was named as skipper in Holder’s absence, has combined with Hancock to spearhead Poole’s late-season surge towards Elite League glory.
Hancock, 43, registered an excellent 14-point tally as Pirates built a 21-point lead from their 57-36 grand final first-leg victory over Birmingham last Monday.
And speaking ahead of the return fixture at Perry Barr tonight (7.30pm), Hancock lauded the way Ward has guided the Dorset outfit.
Hancock told the Daily Echo: “Darcy has matured so much as a rider over such a short space of time and he has taken over the captaincy of this team since Chris got injured.
“He has got a pretty good control of the team.
“He has everybody on a good level and it seems like everybody just gels together, and that is what makes a team. It doesn’t matter what names there are in a team, it matters that you work together and that you can get the best out of each other.
“Darcy is doing the job well and he does it as if he is an experienced guy who has been doing it for 20 years.
“It works really well and he has definitely got control of his guys and the attention of the team, so everybody wants to go with him and do the same thing.
“Being a captain is one thing but Darcy would agree with me that you need to have guys that respond and I think you have that in this team, so all he has to do is keep the focus and keep guiding people. He is doing a great job.”
Hancock, who is bidding to end his search for a top-flight title in British speedway, is expecting Birmingham to battle hard in tonight’s second leg.
He added: “We were shooting for a 10-point lead and that would have been our ultimate goal. As it turned out, we got that and a bonus.
“There is still a long way to go and we can’t count our chickens before they hatch.
“I keep saying it but that is the truth. I have seen that they have a great home record. They are going to come back with all their cannons loaded and the Pirate ships are loaded too.”
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