NEIL Middleditch is calling for a change in the Elite League Pairs rules after claiming injury to Lakeside’s Jonas Davidsson had diluted the outcome of this year’s semi-finals.

Davidsson broke his thumb in a fall while slowing up after winning heat 17 at Ipswich on Saturday and will be ruled out for the rest of the season.

He had just helped Hammers beat Swindon 7-2 to set up a last-four clash against Pirates which became almost a no-contest after reserve Joe Jacobs was called up to replace the Swede.

Any points Jacobs banked would not have counted towards the overall score, meaning Lakeside’s Adam Shields could only reach the final if he won and one of Poole’s two riders failed to finish.

In a press conference, Middleditch, who saw Pirates duo Chris Holder and Bjarne Pedersen head home Shields and Jacobs for a 7-2 victory, said: “Through no fault of their own, Lakeside diluted the semi-final.

“Perhaps they should have put Swindon, the next highest team in the qualifiers, in our semi after Jonas sustained his injury to make the meeting more exciting for the fans.

“I felt sorry for Jonas, particularly as he’s now out for the rest of the campaign, but it was almost a foregone conclusion we would win it because Joe was ineligible to score.

“Also, there is no handicap system. For example, putting a rider back 15 metres in a re-run for touching the tapes. If that had happened, Joe would have come in but his points wouldn’t have counted.

“We took the semi win, but it’s a pairs meeting and I think both these rules need changing to make the event a better spectacle.”

Middleditch, whose side lost 7-2 to Coventry duo Krzysztof Kasprzak and Chris Harris in the final, added: “There were no complaints from us.

“Bees boss Alun Rossiter won the toss for gate positions and that was crucial. KK and Chris rode very well, so we had to take second.”