TEAM boss Neil Middleditch watched Pirates suffer final-heat SGB Championship heartbreak at Eastbourne and admitted: “We had it there for the taking.”

The Wimborne Road outfit, competing in their first meeting back in the second tier since 1990, had led for 14 heats against their south coast rivals at Arlington.

But having gone into heat 15’s decider with a three-point lead, Eagles duo Lewis Kerr and Richard Lawson led Steve Worrall and Danny King from the gate to seal a 5-1 and a remarkable 45-44 turnaround.

The result meant Eastbourne gained three league points, while Pirates were left to settle for one.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “We ended up leading most of the way and lady luck shone on us a couple of times, you know?

“Some of the boys were a little bit rusty. Nobody is really race-fit this first meeting and I think Eastbourne is a really hard track to come to and take something from - and a point is better than nothing.

“I am disappointed because I felt we had it there for the taking.”

Top-scorer Worrall was unbeaten from four rides going into the deciding heat.

“Eastbourne had the choice of gates – they took the best gates and they both made a great first corner. Danny and Steve just couldn’t get on terms with them,” said Middleditch.