TEAM boss Neil Middleditch admitted Pirates needed a shake-up ahead of the SGB Premiership play-offs as they fell to a humbling 55-35 defeat at Wolverhampton.

Jack Holder (9+2) and Brady Kurtz (9) attempted to lead the charge for the visitors at Monmore Green.

But with Nicolai Klindt (5) and Ricky Wells (0) failing to fire, the hosts took the spoils in comfortable fashion.

The Dorset club were also dealt a blow with skipper Josh Grajczonek having to withdraw from the meeting due to injury, following a crash in heat eight.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “Losing Josh halfway through was a blow but we were not firing.

“Nicolai is going through a little bit of a poor patch and I expected better from Ricky on his ex-home track.

“I will be phoning Matt (Ford) to see what we can do.

“I hate to say it but at this moment in time we are not man enough to win it with the team we’ve got at the moment, riding with six. We need seven.”

Pirates once again tracked six members of their septet, with rider replacement operating for the injured Richie Worrall.

And it was Wolves who gained an early 4-2 lead after the opener.

Luke Becker took advantage of a blistering start to take the victory ahead of Pirates’ number one Holder. Poole’s Nico Covatti fell on the second bend after getting close with Jacob Thorssell.

Covatti got back up however to take the race win in the reserves’ heat but with team-mate Wells trailing Kyle Howarth and Ryan Douglas, the spoils were shared.

It was then the turn of Poole’s Klindt to press home the advantage ahead of Wolves’s Nick Morris after gating well in heat three. Pirates skipper Grajczonek grasped third ahead of Rory Schlein to level up the contest.

Wolves then responded with the first 5-1 of the night in race four. Sam Masters and Douglas roared away from Kurtz and Wells, the latter retired on the final lap.

Schlein got the better of Covatti and Holder in a shared heat five but Thorssell then recorded his first win of the night for the hosts.

He overcame Kurtz having passed the Aussie, with Becker moving ahead of Covatti to extend to six points Wolves’ advantage.

Grajczonek overtook Masters on the back straight of lap one to take the chequered flag in heat seven before he was back out again as the rider replacement for Pirates in heat eight.

The race had to be stopped however, after all four riders tangled on the fourth bend. The referee judged Wells to have caused the stoppage and he was excluded from the re-run.

Douglas and Becker cashed in on the man advantage to seal a 5-1 and give Wolves a 10-point lead.

Kurtz attempted to spark a comeback after storming to victory ahead of Morris in heat nine with Covatti in third.

But with Grajczonek having to be replaced by reserve Wells in heat 10, Becker and Thorssell teamed up to claim a one-two.

Middleditch opted to use Kurtz as a tactical substitute to team up with Holder in race 11 but the pair could only occupy the minor placings behind Masters.

Things continued to get worse for Pirates following the interval. Douglas passed Klindt heading into lap two of heat 12 to join winner Schlein for a 5-1.

Holder sealed the spoils ahead of Thorssell in race 13 with Kurtz in third – but Pirates still trailed by 14.

Injured Grajczonek was then withdrawn from the meeting after problems with his hip and hand, meaning Covatti and Wells were tracked in heat 14. They were no match for Howarth and Morris as Wolves dialled in another 5-1.

Masters then took the victory in the nominated race ahead of Holder. Kurtz trailed Thorssell as Pirates succumbed to a heavy reverse.

Wolves 55: Jacob Thorssell 9+1, Luke Becker 9+1, Rory Schlein 6, Nick Morris 6+1, Sam Masters 11, Kyle Howarth 6+1, Ryan Douglas 8+3.

Pirates 35: Jack Holder 9+2, Nicolai Klindt 5, Josh Grajczonek 5, Brady Kurtz 9, Nico Covatti 7, Ricky Wells 0.