PIRATES team boss Neil Middleditch slammed official Craig Ackroyd for “some of the worst refereeing I have ever seen” after Poole lost 48-42 at Wolverhampton on Monday.

The Elite League champions earned a point despite being without their top three of Chris Holder, Hans Andersen and Krzysztof Buczkowski due to injury.

But Middleditch believes Pirates were robbed of victory by three key decisions, with reserve Kyle Newman and guest Scott Nicholls bearing the brunt of Poole’s misfortune.

He said: “It was absolutely disgraceful – some of the worst refereeing I have ever seen in my life.

“It started in heat one. The riders all went to the first corner together and clattered into each other. Nobody came down but they were all out of control.

“Scott thought we were going to have a re-run and pulled up but the referee let the race go on. It was clearly an unsatisfactory start. He only didn’t stop it because nobody fell off.

“In heat two, Kyle Howarth barrelled under Kyle Newman. You can see the tyre marks on Kyle’s kevlars where he hit him.

“Then, in heat 11, Freddie Lindgren came under Kyle and absolutely skittled him. Freddie knocked him off and wiped the spokes out of Kyle’s front wheel. And the referee excluded Kyle.”

With Pirates lacking their heat-leader trio, Middleditch was encouraged by his team’s response ahead of the play-offs later this month.

He said: “I’m very happy to get a point because I think we thoroughly deserved it. It would have been an absolutely robbery if we had got nothing.

“I still felt we were robbed. We should have won it.

“But this shows our intent. Rider replacement for Chris Holder only got five points and Nicolai failed to score. Everyone else rode out of their skin, Kyle particularly.

“Even the Wolverhampton boys said we were unlucky and there has to be something in that.

“Kyle was the pick of the riders and Scott was a fantastic guest as well. You know what you get with Scott – he always rides his heart out for you."