Speedway - Play Off Pirates
8:56am 17th September 2013
POOLE know they will have to take the “win” out of Swindon when they meet the defending champions in a mouth-watering repeat of last year’s Elite League final – but at the penultimate stage this time.
Pirates’ place in the championship-deciding play-offs was confirmed when Lakeside failed to win at Swindon in their final league match of their programme, a fixture they needed to secure maximum points from to deny the Pirates the right of passage into the final four.
The Dorset club have now made the initial stages of the play-offs for the ninth time since they were first introduced in 2002 and will go in search of their seventh appearance in the final and fifth win – but have to overcome last year’s champions over the next two Mondays to achieve this feat.
On seeing the results go Poole's way, boss Matt Ford admitted “After the sort of adversity we have had to overcome this season, the fact we are in the play-offs feels like we have won a trophy.
“It has been a victory to get this far and although we start next Monday all square at Swindon, we have to acknowledge that over the season the Robins have been better than us.
“They have a very consistent 1-7 and have an abundance of match-winners throughout their side and all of them seem to enjoy riding at Poole.
“Deservedly they start are favourites. But the play-offs are all about the time and the moment. We have found this to our cost in 2010 and last season when we finished top of the Elite League table over the season, but were beaten in the final.
“Now we are coming into the play-offs in a different guise . . . as the underdogs.
"Without a doubt, it's going to be an intense couple of speedway meetings.
“Swindon have opted for the home leg first (Monday 23rd) so we will now know what task faces us on Monday, September 30 in Dorset.
“That is going to be some night and I am hoping to see Wimborne Road bursting at the seams for that one.
“Poole Speedway on play-off nights are something very special in terms of atmosphere and I am sure this year will not disappoint.
"We have witnessed all sorts of roller-coaster emotions here at Poole in recent years at this stage of the season and the next chapter is likely to be up there with them all.”
In the other semi-final Wolverhampton – with world champion elect Tai Woffinden on board - will host their first leg against Birmingham, who topped the Elite league table for the first time in their history to earn themselves the right to choose their opponents.
The winners from both semis will then meet in the title determining final to be staged, again over two legs, on Monday, October 7 and 14.