Can Pirates equal Witches’ high-flying feats?

SPEEDWAY: Will this season’s Poole Pirates side eclipse the magnificent efforts of the all-conquering Ipswich Witches side of 1998?

The Dorset-based side is tipped for stardom this year, although they were pushed all the way by the Witches at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday before winning 46-44.

They did lose at Peterborough earlier this month but the Pirates are set to take the league by storm and they are also favourites for the Knock-Out Cup.

After just escaping the wooden spoon last year thanks to Ipswich beating Belle Vue in Manchester late in the season, Poole were already eyeing tracking a strong side this time around with their riders having lower averages than their ability suggested.

Astute promoter Matt Ford and team manager Neil Middleditch have added to their team well and the septet of Chris Holder, Bjarne Pedersen, Davey Watt, Darcy Ward, Jason Doyle, Leon Madsen and Artur Mroczka look capable of filling the trophy cabinet with silverware.

They will have to go some to beat what the Ipswich side (it was six-me sides in those days) of Tony Rickardsson, Tomasz Gollob, Chris Louis, Scott Nicholls, Savalas Clouting and Toni Svab achieved.

They won the league the KO Cup and the Craven Shieldand lost just five league meetings and enjoyed a 100% home record.

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Sky Sports TV pundit Kelvin Tatum said: “The current Poole side is a dream team.”

And Coventry team manager Alun Rossiter expressed his admiration saying: “It is an exceptional Poole side and I don’t think I’ve seen a side like that for a long time.”

Poole’s home 63-29 victory over Coventry last week was their biggest at Wimborne Road since they hammered Wolverhampton 63-27 on May, 2007 when Jason Crump (14+1), Edward Kennett (13+2) and Bjarne Pedersen (11+1) all went through the card for the Dorset outfit.

Just over a year ago Coventry walloped Poole 63-32 on the same track with four of the same riders they had on display last week – Chris Harris, Edward Kennett, Ben Barker and Rory Schlein.

N SQUARE) IPSWICH have two tough meetings against second-placed title favourites Peterborough Panthers coming up with a visit to Peterborough on Friday and the return at Foxhall Stadium on Monday afternoon.

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