NEIL Middleditch praised iron man Shamek Pawlicki after the Pole recovered from a spill to play a starring role in Pirates’ Elite Shield triumph on Good Friday.
Pawlicki withdrew from Pirates’ first meeting against holders Swindon after he had been wiped out by team-mate Vaclav Milik in heat six at Wimborne Road.
Initially complaining of neck and upper back pain, Pawlicki was given the all-clear after a CT scan with that verdict later backed up by a paramedic in Swindon, and the 22-year-old rode in the return leg at the Abbey Stadium as Pirates triumphed 47-45 on the night and 103-79 overall.
The Leszno-born man proved instrumental as he helped his team to an 8-1 tactical success in heat eight before passing Robins number one Peter Kildemand in heat 15 to finish third and ensure the visitors earned a win rather than a draw.
Pawlicki’s fortitude hugely impressed team manager Middleditch, who felt the youngster’s heat 15 effort had been a fitting finale to the Bank Holiday meetings.
Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “It was tremendous for him to come back. I was watching the race with Josh Grajczonek and when Magic and Shamek were at the back there was quite a bit of a gap.
“After three-and-a-half laps, Josh turned to walk back into the pits and I said, ‘Shamek’s not done yet’ and with that he came back and watched Shamek pass Peter Kildemand.
“It was a great effort from him. I must admit I didn’t think he was going to get there, but he did.
“It was fitting that Shamek gave a match-winning ride as he had been the hero of the day coming back from his crash.”
Good Friday’s meetings also doubled as Elite League fixtures and Middleditch was particularly happy to earn three points in the away leg.
That victory ensured Pirates maintained their winning start to 2014, leaving them as the only top-flight team with an unblemished record of victories.
Middleditch continued: “I said to the boys before the meeting in Swindon that I’d be happy with a point and anything better than that would be a bonus, because I knew Swindon would be a tougher nut to crack at Blunsdon.
“To actually win the meeting was more than we could have expected. To come from 10 down to win was some achievement and the boys went out there and did a fantastic job.”