NEIL Middleditch admitted “I still can’t believe it” after Pirates’ herculean effort to come back from the brink and keep alive their defence of the SGB Premiership crown.

Trailing by 12 points after eight heats at Wimborne Road, the defending champions held a team meeting in the pits to spark their semi-final first leg effort into life.

And the talk seemed to boost Middleditch’s men as they recorded 5-1s in six of the final seven races, including all of the last five.

The dramatic turnaround meant Pirates triumphed 50-40 on home shale and will take a 10-point advantage into tomorrow’s second leg at Foxhall (7.30pm).

Team boss Middleditch said: “I still can’t believe it. We have had some good comebacks but that rates pretty high up there, I’ve got to be honest.

“We had a chat and I don’t know what was said but it certainly did the trick because the boys came out all guns blazing.

“The track wasn’t ours early on. No complaints, Ipswich adapted far better than we did. We just had to get with it and we certainly did that.

“We just didn’t let it stop, anything that happened the boys dug deep. Everybody up and down the pits were helping each other.

“Thomas (H Jonasson), when he crashed, there were Pirates all over him, fixing his bike for him and it was a really good team effort.”

Pirates number one Brady Kurtz topped the scoring charts to spearhead his side to glory against the Witches.

He sealed victory in four of his five rides to amass a 12-point haul.

But the 23-year-old Aussie, who celebrated winning the Extraleague title with Leszno in Poland on Sunday, immediately switched his focus to the job at Foxhall.

Kurtz, who picked up 12 paid 13 when Poole last month won 47-43 at Ipswich, said: “We need to remember we are only 10 points up, we have got 15 heats to come and hopefully we can go there with some confidence and let’s get the job done.

“We have had some awesome results there. I have only been there once actually (this season) but I went really good there last time and the boys have got the job done every time.

“Hopefully we can go there, continue our form and let’s get the Pirates in the final.”