Belle Vue Aces 47-45 Poole Pirates (first leg)

Neil Middleditch
Middleditch has won four league titles

Belle Vue hold a two-point lead going into Thursday's second leg of the Elite League Knockout Cup after Wednesday's meeting at Kirkmanshulme Lane.

Neil Middleditch's Poole side are looking to complete the league and cup double for the third time ever.

Pirates' Kevin Wolbert's return of 13 points from a seven-ride evening could well have steered the tie their way.

"I'm delighted to be fair, at one stage we were 10 points down," Middleditch told BBC Radio Solent.

Middleditch added: "It was looking pretty dodgy but the boys fought back well and I'm very happy to take a two-point deficit into Thursday.

"Confidence is high and winning the double would round off a fantastic season."

Rory Schlein and Chris Harris contributed decent figures for Belle Vue while the Pirates have fitness worries over Davey Watt ahead of Thursday's second leg.

"You'd have to think we are favourites but we have a bit of a question mark over Davey Watt who had a bit of poor night and was riding with a broken collarbone," Middleditch said. "But I think two points is very gettable."

Belle Vue team manager Jim Lynch told BBC Radio Manchester: "They've done the job they came to do and we're now very much the underdogs.

"But it's proved that we seem to be to be at our best away from home when we are the underdogs.

"We're going to go there and make them work for it I can tell you that now.

"I think one of the problems we had tonight was I don't think could have envisaged that gate four would be quite as dominating as it was.

"It gave us a false impression after the first five heats because we were coasting.

"We just then didn't attack it enough, but fair play to Poole they're a great side with great riders.

"If we'd had won by 10 points tonight, which was the target, I think we'd have all been worrying ourselves what the outcome was going to be."