PIRATES put one hand on the Premiership Shield with a 50-40 win at King’s Lynn and team boss Neil Middleditch admitted: “It was more than I could have expected.”

The SGB Premiership champions defeated the side they overcame in last year’s play-off final and take a comfortable 10-point advantage into the second leg at Wimborne Road on Thursday.

Poole sought solid scoring from one to seven when they constructed this side, and Middlo’s men delivered, with Brady Kurtz leading the charge on 11 points and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen impressing on his club debut with eight paid nine.

Six Pirates racked up race wins, with Nico Covatti following home team mates for two paid victories.

It was a dream start for Middleditch and while he accepts there is a long season ahead, he was delighted to see Pirates flex their scoring muscle.

He said: “I am very, very pleased. It was a good, strength-in-depth performance, which is what we aimed for.

“There were loads of positives to take from it. We made a couple of mistakes and threw away a few points. It could have been worse for King’s Lynn.

“It’s early days. Let’s not get excited. It’s only April and there is a long, long way to go. But the signs look good. Everyone bar none played their part.

“You can’t look at anybody in the team and think ‘they didn’t have a good night.’ They all had their moments and produced a good race – match-winning performances.”

Middleditch believes Kurtz thrived at number five as his good friend Jack Holder starts the season at number one – a position the compatriots look set to fight over this year.

“Brady hit the ground running,” Middleditch said. “Maybe having that number one off his back let him chill out a bit more and be himself.

“I thought he rode very well and was very quick. When Brady gets out in front, he is very hard to pass.”

Holder finished the night with a win in heat 13 and second place behind Kurtz in the nominated race.

But he managed just one paid two from his opening three outings.

“Jack had a few bike problems early on,” Middleditch said. “But he bounced back with a couple of wins.

“His bike was lifting and he kept trying to sort things out. You can’t change everything – you change one thing at a time to try and find what the problem is. Obviously they found it.”

While the Premiership Shield is not one of the main prizes on offer in British speedway’s top flight this year, it’s one Middleditch is still determined to add to his vast collection on Thursday.

He said: “Any trophy is a good trophy to win. If we can put another one in the trophy cabinet on Thursday night, that would be a great way to start the season.”


KING’S LYNN 40: 1 Robert Lambert (0-1*-2*-1*) 4+3, 2 Erik Riss (3-2-3-3-X) 11, 3 Ty Proctor (1*-1*-2-1) 5+2, 4 Lewis Kerr (2-2-0-0) 4, 5 Thomas Jorgensen (3-1*-2-2-1) 9+1, 6 Michael Palm Toft (1-2-2*-1*-1) 7+2, 7 Kasper Andersen (0-0-R) 0. Team manager: Scott Campos.

PIRATES 50: 1 Jack Holder (1*-0-0-3-2*) 6+2, 2 Josh Grajczonek (2-3-0-3) 8, 3 Nicolai Klindt (0-3-0-3) 6, 4 Richie Worrall (3-R-1-2*) 6+1, 5 Brady Kurtz (2-3-3-0-3) 11, 6 Nico Covatti (2*-0-1-2*) 5+2, 7 Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (3-1*-1-3) 8+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.

HT 1: Riss, Grajczonek, Holder, Lambert, 59.04 (3-3).

HT 2: Jakobsen, Covatti, Palm Toft, Andersen, 59.28 (4-8).

HT 3: Worrall, Kerr, Proctor, Klindt, 59.34 (7-11).

HT 4: Jorgensen, Kurtz, Jakobsen, Andersen, 58.96 (10-14).

HT 5: Grajczonek, Kerr, Proctor, Holder, 59.12 (13-17).

HT 6: (re-run) Kurtz, Riss, Lambert, Covatti, 58.96 (16-20).

HT 7: Klindt, Palm Toft, Jorgensen, Worrall (ret), 59.43 (19-23).

HT 8: Riss, Palm Toft, Jakobsen, Grajczonek, 59.19 (24-24).

HT 9: Kurtz, Proctor, Covatti, Kerr, 58.96 (26-28).

HT 10: Riss, Lambert, Worrall, Klindt, 59.38 (31-29).

HT 11: Grajczonek, Jorgensen, Palm Toft, Holder, 59.50 (34-32).

HT 12: Klindt, Covatti, Proctor, Andersen, 59.56 (35-37).

HT 13: Holder, Jorgensen, Lambert, Kurtz, 59.00 (38-40).

HT 14: Jakobsen, Worrall, Palm Toft, Kerr, 60.22 (39-45).

HT 15: (re-run) Kurtz, Holder, Jorgensen, Riss (f.exc), 60.13 (40-50).


Aussie ace Brady Kurtz suggested he may reclaim the Poole number one race jacket once again after top-scoring on 11 points.

On a night which saw every Pirate pick up at least a paid win, Kurtz was their most consistent performer with three heat victories and a second.

Only a last place in race 13 blotted his scorecard, but with Jack Holder picking that moment to hit top speed, Kurtz’s slip didn’t prove costly.