POOLE boss Neil Middleditch backed local hero Kyle Newman for a Pirates return in 2017 as the club’s dream of a fourth straight Elite League title ended in Wolverhampton tonight.

Wolves broke the Dorset side’s hearts with a 55-35 triumph at Monmore Green in the play-off semi-final, second leg to reach the Grand Final against Belle Vue 94-86 on aggregate.

The fact Poole took it all the way to a last-heat decider owed everything to one of the Pirates performances of the season from Newman, who piled up 14 paid 15 points from seven races.

He was brilliantly backed up by nine paid 11 from reserve partner Adam Ellis as the pair kept Pirates in contention and pulled off wins against some world-class rivals.

The highlight was an extraordinary ride from Newman as he barged his way past world champion Tai Woffinden to win heat eight, before going on to win races nine and 10.

Other than eight paid nine from Chris Holder, the Poole reserves received little back-up from the main team. So Middleditch was full of praise for his young Brits – particularly the heart shown by Newman.

Asked if he felt the Poole-born star deserved a place on the 2017 team sheet, he replied: “Oh for sure, 100 percent. The kid is like me; he bleeds blue and white. When he’s out on that track, he gives 110 percent in every single race. Last night was no exception.

“Kyle would have ridden 15 heats if he could. He was absolutely outstanding and I feel very sorry for him, probably more than anybody else. He rode his heart out, as did Adam. Without those two, it could have been a lot worse.

“Kyle was so keen. When I asked if he wanted to do three on the trot, he didn’t hesitate for one minute.

“He was so keen for the Pirates. He said he felt like he could beat anybody and he rode tremendously well.

“We just weren’t good enough on the night. You can’t try and win a meeting with just three riders. Wolves were a better team.”

Pirates struggled in the absence of Antonio Lindback, who was hospitalised due to stomach problems, while Bjarne Pedersen was nursing a knee injury.

But Middleditch admits Poole didn’t have enough as they fell short of the Grand Final for the first time since 2009.

He said: “You can make all the excuses under the sun, but we just weren’t good enough. I have no complaints against a Wolverhampton side, who rode their hearts out.

“Wolverhampton were firing on all cylinders and we just weren’t. We got back into the match, but the two 5-1s in heats 13 and 14 killed us.

“We didn’t make the final. It’s the first time for a long, long time we haven’t and obviously I am bitterly disappointed.

“We’ve lost in the play-offs before and it is not a nice place to be. But we’ll bounce back and I’m sure Matt will give me a team to work with that will be in contention this time next year.”