HONEST boss Neil Middleditch admitted Pirates had to be “stronger than this” if they had any chance of claiming the SGB Championship this season.

The Dorset outfit were pushed almost all the way by bottom side Berwick at Wimborne Road, eventually securing a 49-41 victory.

Drew Kemp top-scored for Poole with 10 paid 11 as Pirates ended a run of three meetings without a win. Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris starred for the visitors with a six-ride paid maximum.

But asked about his side’s form, Middleditch admitted Pirates were still not firing on all cylinders.

He told the Daily Echo: “It’s a win isn’t it, but again we struggled. If I’m perfectly honest I think we have got to do better.

“We have got to be better than this. We have got to be stronger than this if we stand any chance of winning the league title.”

He added: “My boys – top three are just not firing as I really want them to be. Danny (King) was sore after his nasty knock at Sheffield, so he was feeling the pain on that.

“But we are just not making the starts and it’s tough. The track was slick and when you have Bomber in front, you aren’t getting past Bomber.

“We are back to winning. That’s what we want but we need to really be more assertive.”

Quizzed about his side failing to make the starts, Middleditch replied: “The boys set up their bikes for what they believe the starts are going to be like.

“When they come here and it’s not the same, it’s not through any fault of the track curator or whatever, it’s just the way things are.

“A number of factors that come into it, whether it is too dry or too wet. I am not making excuses about it – we just need to be better. Must try harder – as they say in the school report.

“I will take that winning score all day long. I just felt we made it a bit hard work.”

Pirates hit the road next week when they take on Edinburgh on Friday, July 8, with a trip to Berwick the following evening.

By that time, Ben Cook will be down at reserve and Kemp in the main body of the septet – due to the refreshed averages.

“Drew is going up in the team. Benny is going down to reserve and Ben will be good at reserve, that’s for sure,” added Middleditch.

“With Drew, I don’t think it will faze him being up there. He had some good races on Wednesday against some good riders and it’s the way things go. You get rewarded for your success.”