PROMOTER Danny Ford insisted there had been positives to take from Pirates’ opening meeting of the season – despite falling to a last-heat 45-44 defeat at Eastbourne.

The Dorset club had led for 14 heats at Arlington on Saturday before a 5-1 for the Eagles in heat 15 saw them swoop for victory at the death.

Around 1,000 spectators were present for the SGB Championship clash – Pirates’ first competitive action in more than 600 days.

Ford told the Daily Echo: “There are so many positives to take away from it, obviously we could dwell on what could have been in that heat 15.

“At the start of the meeting, if you’d have offered us a point at Arlington on our first meeting of the season, we’d have probably bitten your hand off for that.

“We can’t be too disappointed. Some of the boys were being quite hard on themselves.

“I tried to explain to them that there is no pressure. We have done well to come away with a point in that situation.

“It still hurts but on to the next.”