POOLE ended a dramatic 2012 season with another miraculous moment after Neil Middleditch’s ‘Patchwork Pirates’ ensured the Knockout Cup stayed in the club’s trophy cabinet – possibly for good.

The Dorset side followed up their 52-38 demolition of Coventry at Brandon last Friday with a 50-40 triumph to lift the trophy for the third season running 102-78 on aggregate.

It would be a gross understatement to say the Knockout Cup has failed to capture the imagination of Elite League fans up and down the country.

Whether it’s down to meetings being piled into the final, dark weeks of the season; a format riders and fans alike have struggled to follow, or Elite League champions Swindon being eliminated from the competition without turning a wheel – the KO Cup has simply lacked punch.

But on the plus side, it gave Pirates a well-deserved award for a season which has seen them defy adversity on a weekly basis.

Whether it was losing Sam Masters, Adrian Miedzinski, Dennis Andersson or Piotr Pawlicki, Pirates found a way to win.

The Elite League Grand Final proved a bridge too far as Swindon took top honours.

But even the loss of Turbo Twins Chris Holder and Darcy Ward was not enough to defy the men from Wimborne Road as Middlo led a six-man team featuring three guests to the Knockout Cup.

Speedway’s stand-in system has often been maligned for giving fans substandard entertainment and lacklustre performances from riders with little concern for their adopted team’s fortunes.

Niels-Kristian Iversen and Rory Schlein have both restored Pirates’ fans faith in guests.

Iversen, a man who has outgunned Holder and Ward in Sweden and Poland this season, racked up 13 paid 14 points to follow up his 15-point maximum at Coventry.

He triumphed in a barnstorming man-on-man match race with Chris Harris and led young reserve Kyle Howarth to a fabulous 5-1 over Harris and Aaron Summers in heat 11, which sealed the cup for Pirates.

Schlein weighed in with 10 last night and also shone with 11 on Friday.

He won his opening two second-leg rides with aplomb. But his meeting highlights were arguably two blistering battles with Nicholls in races 10 and 12.

The Aussie kept the British champion honest for four laps before finishing second in heat 10, before Nicholls barged under him on lap three, turn four in race 12; the former Pirate giving his all, even with the cup out of Coventry’s reach.

Pirates regular Krzysztof Kasprzak ended the season in sparkling form, scoring 14 and captaining a club he has taken to his heart to glory.

Despite his mid-season doubts about coming back to British racing, Special K has already made noises about staging his testimonial at Wimborne Road next season. The GP Challenge winner may have had spells with clubs like Lakeside, Belle Vue, Swindon, Coventry and Birmingham, but he has never looked more at home anywhere than Wimborne Road.

There is already talk of the Knockout Cup enjoying a long stay at Wimborne Road if the competition is scrapped as expected by the BSPA for 2013.

On this evidence, KK may not be going anywhere either. But Holder and Ward, who emerged to rapturous applause to celebrate Pirates’ triumph, would also make more than popular signings… Poole 50: 1 Rory Schlein (3-3-2-2-0) 10, 2 Rider replacement – Piotr Pawlicki, 3 Niels-Kristian Iversen (3-3-3-2*-2) 13+1, 4 Morten Risager (R-1-1*-1-1*) 4+2, 5 Krzysztof Kasprzak (3-2-3-3-3) 14, 6 Ludvig Lindgren (1*-0-1-F-R) 2+1, 7 Kyle Howarth (2-1-0-2*-2) 7+1.

Team Manager: Neil Middleditch Coventry 40: 1 Chris Harris (2-3-1-0) 6, 2 Aaron Summers (1*-0-1*-0) 2+2, 3 Edward Kennett (1*-2-2-0) 5+1, 4 Kenni Larsen (0-0-1-1) 2, 5 Scott Nicholls (2-2-3-3-1) 11, 6 Brendan Johnson (0-0-0-1) 1, 7 Michal Szczepaniak (3-2-2-3-3) 13.

Team Manager: Blayne Scroggins.

Referee: Graham Reeve Ht 1: Schlein, Harris, Summers, Risager (ret), 60.50 (3-3).

Ht 2: Szczepaniak, Howarth, Lindgren, Johnson, 62.69 (6-6).

Ht 3: Kasprzak, Nicholls, Risager, Larsen, 62.28 (10-8).

Ht 4: Iversen, Szczepaniak, Kennett, Lindgren, 61.96 (13-11).

Ht 5: Harris, Kasprzak, Risager, Summers, 61.93 (16-14).

Ht 6: Schlein, Kennett, Howarth, Johnson, 62.03 (20-16).

Ht 7: Iversen, Nicholls, Lindgren, Larsen, 62.07 (24-18).

Ht 8: Kasprzak, Szczepaniak, Summers, Howarth, 63.53 (27-21).

Ht 9: Kasprzak, Kennett, Risager, Johnson, 63.53 (31-23).

Man on Man: Iversen, Harris, 63.25 (31-23).

Ht 10: Nicholls, Schlein, Larsen, Lindgren (fell), 63.59 (33-27).

Ht 11: Iversen, Howarth, Harris, Summers, 63.47 (38-28).

Ht 12: Nicholls, Schlein, Risager, Kennett, 63.34 (41-31).

Ht 13: Kasprzak, Iversen, Larsen, Harris, 63.47 (46-32).

Ht 14: Szczepaniak, Howarth, Johnson, Lindgren (ret), 64.47 (48-36).

Ht 15: Szczepaniak, Iversen, Nicholls, Schlein, 63.68 (50-40).