TEAM boss Neil Middleditch expressed his delight in seeing Pirates charger Zane Keleher get the “monkey off his back” in sealing a first heat win for the club.

The Rockhampton-born charger took the chequered flag in heat eight of Poole’s 49-41 Championship Knockout Cup success at Plymouth on Tuesday.

He teamed up with Poole’s rising star Danyon Hume to get the better of Gladiators pair Alfie Bowtell and Luke Ruddick.

Keleher had been searching for a heat success having endured a difficult night in Pirates’ home victory over Berwick at Wimborne Road two weeks ago.

He was seen doing practice laps post meeting that evening – and Middleditch was pleased to see the Aussie ace’s hard work pay off.

The Poole team manager told the Daily Echo: “That’s Zane’s first race win for the Pirates, so that’s that monkey off his back. Hopefully he can move on from there.

“He rode very well and I was pleased for him – you could see when he came into the pits, he was chuffed to bits.

“Danyon as well, he’s a good lad, he listens to what people say to him and when he makes a start, he is very hard to catch.

“They are still fairly new to the game if you like, particularly Zane over here.”

Keleher totalled four points from as many rides on the night at Plymouth Coliseum, having also picked up a third place in heat one.

Speaking about his race victory, Keleher told the club website: "I’m sure everyone there in attendance could see what a relief it was to me as I crossed the finish line! What a moment.

“First UK heat win. Such a relief, it’s hard to describe the feeling of the weight being lifted off my shoulders to finally get an all-important win.

“The first one is out of the way now, I’ve proven to myself, the team and everyone around that I can do it so now I’ll just look to keep the ball rolling and improve further and further with every race."