JUBILANT team boss Neil Middleditch admitted Pirates had outperformed his expectations after following up victory at King’s Lynn by ending Wolverhampton’s unbeaten home record.

Having sealed a four-point win in Norfolk on Thursday, Poole roared back from 10 points down to stun Wolves and give a tremendous boost to their hopes of reaching the SGB Premiership play-offs.

The 48-44 triumph allowed the Dorset septet to move to within three points of their second-place rivals in the standings, with Belle Vue just a further point ahead.

A home fixture against Swindon awaits on Wednesday and Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “Coming into this spell, particularly after losing at home to King’s Lynn last week, you possibly thought these meetings would be a bridge too far but fair to the boys, they dug deep and we deserved the points we got.

“There was controversy over the King’s Lynn result and tonight a little bit of luck went our way but that’s speedway. You can only race what’s in front of you.”

Pirates debutant Timo Lahti and Krzysztof Kasprzak were quickly passed in the opener, that home maximum followed by a disqualification for faller James Shanes.

In the re-run, Paul Starke made no mistake but Wolves duo Rory Schlein and Sam Masters roared to another 5-1 next, extending to 13-5 the lead.

Visiting skipper Hans Andersen and Shanes profited from Jacob Thorssell’s 15m handicap in banking a heat advantage, only for Masters and Schlein to strike again, the former taking the win this time.

A heavy fall for Kyle Howarth resulted in a trip to hospital for the Wolves number two and a delay of more than half an hour, while Shanes withdrew due to the hand injury he had sustained during his opening ride.

The re-run of heat six saw Freddie Lindgren come out on top, with Starke forced to let off the power on the final lap to allow tactical rider Andersen through.

The tide was turning and soon Poole made it three heat advantages in a row. First, Worrall and Jack Holder secured a 4-2 and then Lahti – with his first win in Poole colours – and Starke reduced to two points the lead thanks to a maximum.

Andersen cranked up the pressure in heat nine and a lightning gate from Holder and solid support from Worrall gave Pirates the lead for the first time.

A Thorssell success stopped Poole’s run and heat 12 was also shared, before Wolves levelled matters through Thorssell and Lindgren.

But a 5-1 led by Worrall put Pirates in the box seat and although Thorssell won the final showdown, Andersen clamped Lindgren early to seal overall victory.

Middleditch, who sent his best wishes to Howarth, added: “It was Timo’s first time in the UK for a number of years and he showed flashes of good riding, and a special word for Starkey who was outstanding.

“KK is not hitting the ground running. He’s can’t put his finger on what’s going wrong.”


Wolverhampton 44: 1 Freddie Lindgren (2*-3-0-2*-0) 7+2, 2 Kyle Howarth (3-fx) 3, 3 Rory Schlein (3-2*-r-3) 8+1, 4 Sam Masters (2*-3-2-1) 8+1, 5 Jacob Thorssell (r-2-3-3-3) 11, 6 Max Clegg, guest (1*-0-1-0-0) 2+1, 7 Nathan Greaves (2-2-0-1-0) 5. Team manager: Peter Adams.

Pirates 48: 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak (0-1-2-1) 4, 2 Timo Lahti (1-0-3-1*) 5+1, 3 Jack Holder (0-1-3-2) 6, 4 Richie Worrall (1-3-2*-3-1*) 10+2, 5 Hans Andersen (3-4^-3-0-2) 12, 6 Paul Starke (3-1*-2*-1-1*-2*) 10+4, 7 James Shanes (fx-1) 1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.

HT 1: Howarth, Lindgren, Lahti, Kasprzak, 54.25 (5-1)

HT 2 (re-run): Starke, Greaves, Clegg, Shanes (fell/dsq), 54.59 (8-4)

HT 3: Schlein, Masters, Worrall, Holder, 54.30 (13-5)

HT 4: Andersen, Greaves, Shanes, Thorssell (15m tapes, retired), 55.29 (15-9)

HT 5: Masters, Schlein, Kasprzak, Lahti, 53.87 (20-10)

HT 6 (re-run): Lindgren, Andersen (tactical), Starke, Howarth (fell/dsq), 55.15 (23-15)

HT 7: Worrall, Thorssell, Holder, Clegg, 55.13 (25-19)

HT 8: Lahti, Starke, Clegg, Greaves, 55.62 (26-24)

HT 9: Andersen, Masters, Starke, Schlein (retired), 55.38 (28-28)

HT 10: Holder, Worrall, Greaves, Lindgren, (29-33)

HT 11: Thorssell, Kasprzak, Lahti, Clegg, 55.43 (32.36)

HT 12: Schlein, Holder, Starke, Greaves, 55.92 (35-39)

HT 13: Thorssell, Lindgren, Kasprzak, Andersen, 56.00 (40-40)

HT 14: Worrall, Starke, Masters, Clegg, 56.64 (41-45)

HT 15: Thorssell, Andersen, Worrall, Lindgren, (44-48)


WHEN it really mattered, Andersen delivered.

Heat 15 was a crucial contest and the Dane kept his head to calmly stop Freddie Lindgren from making an impression, effectively handing Pirates victory.

That gave Andersen a 12-point haul on the night but Richie Worrall and Paul Starke also deserve enormous credit for an away win which will send shock waves round British speedway.

This spell could yet prove crucial for Pirates. A solid win over Swindon on Wednesday would make the race to the play-offs look a whole lot different.