Speedway Elite Grand Final: Poole Pirates boss warns of complacency
Poole Pirates manager Neil Middleditch has warned his side of complacency after their stunning 57-36 victory over Birmingham Brummies in the first leg of the Elite League Grand Final.
Middleditch admitted the result was beyond his wildest imagination but is aware the job is only half done.
"I'm over the moon," Middleditch told BBC Radio Solent.
"But it's half-time, it's never over until it's over and we need to keep our heads down and do the job next Monday."
POOLE - 57: G. Hancock 14 (3,3,3,2,3), D. Ward 13+2 (3,3,3,2',2'), J. Grajczonek 10+2 (3,0,2',3,1,1',0), T. H Jonasson 9+2 (2',1,2,2',2), M. Janowski 8+2 (1',2',2,3), K. Newman 3+1 (0,2,1',0)
BIRMINGHAM - 36: J. Doyle 11 (1,6,3,1), C. Harris 7 (3,2,2,0), B. Barker 6+1 (1',1,1,3), D. King 5 (2,Fx,0,3,0), N. Covatti 3+1 (1',0,0,1,1), J. Auty 2 (0,2,R,0), M. Smolinski 2 (1,0,0,1)
The Pirates went into their home first leg regarded by many as underdogs as they faced a Birmingham side that had finished top of the table after the regular league programme and then produced a double semi-final triumph over Wolverhampton.
However, a formidable team performance by the rampant Dorset side saw them achieve a 57-36 first-leg victory that gives them 21-point lead to defend at Perry Barr next Monday.
While luck didn't shine too favourably on the visitors, the Pirates, ably led by skipper Darcy Ward with a paid maximum and evergreen Greg Hancock, who dropped just one point all evening, showed no mercy as they restricted the West Midland side to just four race winners.
"I could not have imagined us getting a 21-point lead. I said before the meeting I'd be happy with a 10, 12-point lead," Middleditch said.
"Birmingham over rode and made mistakes and allowed us to keep ahead for the whole meeting. It's a fantastic result."
Middleditch also paid tribute to his star duo Hancock and Ward - who he believes is establishing himself as the greatest speedway rider in the world.
"Greg is just a master," he said. "Darcy is a freak and in my mind the best rider in the world. He is phenomenal.
"We won't celebrate yet - it's half-time, Birmingham will be going all out and we need to go there and make no mistakes.
"At the Pirates we have the taste of success and we like it and this performance is a reward to the Pirates fans who have been loyal with us."