PIRATES promoter Matt Ford admits an Elite Shield winner may not be determined until June due to scheduling problems regarding the second leg.

The away meeting at Swindon has been inked in for Thursday, March 27, the day after Poole entertain Lakeside in their opening challenge match.

However, the second leg at Wimborne Road could be held up to three months later as Ford does not see a gap in the fixture list that fits both Coastal Aluminium Poole and the Robins.

The Pirates chief told the Daily Echo: “We’re pretty full for fixtures at the moment so I doubt we will be able to fit it in until June, which is a shame.

“Rosco (Swindon team manager Alun Rossiter) spoke to me three weeks ago to ask if we could do it, but we had organised our fixtures by then.

“We had already arranged a challenge match against Lakeside on the Wednesday so we couldn’t do it on that night.

“We wanted to help them out and we’ve taken the away fixture as we are happy to go there and fulfil that.”

The Elite Shield is traditionally contested as a season curtain-raiser between the winners of the previous campaign’s Elite League play-offs and the Knockout Cup.

The Knockout Cup was not staged last year but Swindon qualified for the 2014 Elite Shield by virtue of being defending champions.

The Robins triumphed over two legs against Poole last year.

Poole have made several other fixture tweaks for the upcoming season with the trip to Coventry now on Monday, April 14, while the visit to Leicester has been pushed back to Monday, May 26.

The Lions travel to Wimborne Road on Wednesday, June 18, a week later than originally announced.