PROMOTER Matt Ford is adamant that Pirates will be best-served starting their season late, even if he is ‘frustrated’ by the wait for Elite League racing.

Poole will not begin their title defence until Wednesday when Eastbourne visit Wimborne Road, by which time eight of the league’s 10 teams will have started their respective campaigns – weather permitting.

However, Ford insists that the right decision was made to organise early-season fixtures slightly later than other clubs, given that number one Darcy Ward will be free from Grand Prix commitments by the time Poole Coastal Aluminium open up against the Eagles.

Ward is due to begin his world title tilt in New Zealand on Saturday, with the monster trek south of the Equator effectively ruling out the 21-year-old from European racing for a week and a half.

Ford, pictured, told the Daily Echo: “I think a lot of the reason we are starting later is because we’ve got Darcy in the team and with him being a Grand Prix rider it means we’re kind of stuck, although I appreciate one or two other clubs have riders in the Grand Prix as well.

“I’d prefer to not race any meetings without Darcy because it robs the public both home and away because everyone wants to see exceptional talent. Everyone’s desperate to see Darcy so it‘s not right that we turn up without him.

“It’s frustrating for everyone connected with the club at the moment because we’re all kicking our heels, but hopefully, long-term, we will benefit.

“A few other teams may get their gremlins out of the way quicker than we do and we might be caught short a little bit at the beginning, but as we saw last year it’s a long haul and not just a sprint.

“We start off with three meetings in 10 days at home, and we need to get some points in that period to start pushing ourselves up the table.”

After the Eastbourne meeting, Pirates host Coventry in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday, April 14, followed by home and away clashes with Swindon on Friday, April 18.