Five reasons why you should be a Poole Pirates fanatic over the next six months...

LINE-UP: The Poole Pirates one-to-seven with team manager Neil Middleditch

LINE-UP: The Poole Pirates one-to-seven with team manager Neil Middleditch

First published in Sport
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Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author by

WITH silverware once again on the wishlist, Poole Pirates are poised to get their Elite League title defence under way against Eastbourne tonight.

The inclusion of top stars Shamek Pawlicki and Maciej Janowski will still give the Wimborne Road faithful plenty to get excited about, despite captain Darcy Ward's early season injury. While lower-order riders such as Poole-born Kyle Newman have the potential to improve.

Promoter Matt Ford is relentless in his pursuit of success and rarely does a speedway season deliver anything other than a rollercoaster ride for its fans.

As if you need any telling, here are the top five reasons why you should be a Pirates fanatic over the next six months.

1. Pirates' treasure

Everyone likes success and Poole have certainly had plenty of that over the years.

Five Elite League titles and three Knockout Cups in eight years is no mean feat and many have tipped Neil Middleditch's men for further glory in 2014.

Promoter Matt Ford has put together a competitive-looking team and a play-off spot, as always, is the target.

2. Led by Captain Fantastic

Poole possess arguably the most exciting rider in the country in Aussie Grand Prix star Ward.

The skipper might not be the fastest out of the gate but he is sensational in full flow, with a smooth, lightning-quick style that fans of all clubs can only admire.

A world champion in waiting, he might have earned that crown last year had injury not intervened.

The Queenslander is suffering from a broken thumb at present, but he'll be racking up big scores soon enough.

3. Wimborne Road the fortress

Pirates average around the 2,500 mark for spectators at home meetings, making them the best-supported club in the country.

More supporters equals more noise and coupled with the roar of the bikes on the track, an electric atmosphere is created.

There are few places better for a heat 15 decider and there are sure to be plenty of those this season.

4. The exuberance of youth

Youth and enthusiasm go hand in hand and if there's one thing Pirates have on their side, it's youth.

Their oldest rider in the septet is 26-year-old reserve Lee Smart, with new recruit Vaclav Milik the youngest at 20.

Greener riders tend to be more unpredictable and therefore more exciting, while they typically recover from injuries quicker.

5. Grudge matches

Let's not beat about the bush here, Poole are not all that popular around the Elite League due to their success.

Teams are desperate to get one over Middleditch's men and this results in intense, close meetings with 14 men riding to the limit.

That is an equation for speedway at its very best.

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