PIRATES boss Neil Middleditch hailed “absolutely outstanding” No.1 Chris Holder after his 12-point maximum inspired Poole to a 53-39 triumph at King’s Lynn last night.

The Dorset side made certain of second spot in the Elite League table by collecting all four points on offer.

This result could give them a crucial home advantage for the second leg of the play-off semis if table-topping Belle Vue opt not to face the Pirates on September 21 and 26.

Whoever Poole take on, there’s no doubt 2012 world champion Holder will be crucial to their chances of winning an historic fourth straight title.

Having also piled up 16 paid 17 at Belle Vue on Monday, he goes into the play-offs in red-hot form.

Middleditch hopes for more of the same at the business end of the season, but admits the 28-year-old can’t retain the Elite League trophy alone.

He said: “Chris was outstanding – absolutely outstanding. He was head and shoulders above everyone else. He was making starts and if he didn’t make the start, he was coming from the back.

“He had everything in his toolbox and he was the Chris of old. I just hope he can keep this form going through the play-offs – that’s the main time we need it.

“But we need everyone else to step up, or at least be on form. We can’t afford to be carrying any passengers. Everyone has to do their bit.”

Holder was supported by a solid team display, which saw reserve Bjarne Pedersen pick up eight paid 10, while Krzysztof Buczkowski bagged eight paid nine and Brady Kurtz scored a straight eight.

Adam Ellis bounced back from his zero in Manchester with seven paid eight, while Kyle Newman scored six paid nine and guest Rohan Tungate recorded four paid five.

Middleditch accepts King’s Lynn faced an uphill struggle without No.1 Niels-Kristian Iversen, who was racing in the Swedish play-offs, and the injured Simon Lambert.

But he said: “It was a good performance from the boys. Everyone chipped in with some points.

“King’s Lynn were obviously down on manpower, but we can only race what’s put in front of us and the boys did the job.”

Poole, Belle Vue and Wolverhampton are all guaranteed a top-four finish, with Swindon needing just a point from their trip to Belle Vue tonight or their visit to Lakeside on Friday to complete the play-off field.

Should they lose both meetings by seven points or more, the Hammers will snatch fourth place on points difference.

Pirates are still making a last-ditch attempt to replace injured skipper Hans Andersen, who underwent surgery on a broken finger last Friday. But Middleditch was still waiting for news from club owner Matt Ford on his possible replacement last night.

He said: “I think Matt has something in the pipeline, but I haven’t spoken to him about it. I’ll talk to him today and find out what’s going on.”