Elite League play-off shambles goes on as King’s Lynn Stars prepare to head to Poole Pirates again
12:20 16 October 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
The farce that is Poole’s attempts to host King’s Lynn in the Elite League play-off semi-final second leg will continue today.
The third attempt to get the all-important fixture on at the home of the Pirates fell foul of the wet weather yesterday. But the decision once again angered those connected with the Stars as it wasn’t made until almost all of the club’s riders hade travelled 200-plus miles to reach Wimborne Road.
Even though it had rained during the afternoon – and more wet weather was still expected – the reigning champions decided to wait until after 5pm to postpone the meeting. It now means some Lynn riders have clocked up more than 1,200 miles in journeys to and from the south coast without evening revving a bike engine.
If that shambles wasn’t already enough to heap more ridicule on one of the sport’s glamour fixtures, almost half of the riders expected to now line-up at the tapes this evening will be donning temporary colours.
A furious Stars team boss Rob Lyon refused to discuss the latest debacle as he made his way back from Dorset last night. He did, however, confirm that Newcastle rider Stuart Robson will come in for Nicklas Porsing who has a fixture to fulfil in Poland. Coventry duo Chris Harris and Jason Garrity, who will feature in the final for their side, replace Niels-Kristian Iversen and Lewis Kerr.
Poole’s team is yet to be confirmed, but they have also lost another team member for the clash in the shape of Vaclav Milik. A Czech Republic play-off meeting will be his port of call for the night while Darcy Ward (suspended), Josh Grajczonek (injured) and Benji Compton (injured) are still unavailable.
Captain Rory Schlein, speaking to Sky Sports after the abandonment, said: “Even for people based in England – I am three hours away, based in Coventry – having to go all the way home and come back is just a thing you don’t want. Nicklas has a Polish fixture which he has to race so unfortunately we are going to be without him. It just throws another spanner in the works. We’ll just have to knuckle down.”
A number of Lynn’s riders took to Twitter on their way home from Dorset – for the third time since the fixture was originally scheduled to be held on October 6 – to vent their fury at a postponement they felt could have been announced sooner. Robert Lambert said Poole “should be ashamed of themselves” while Kenneth Bjerre posted an expletive to show his frustration.
Yet the misery looks set to continue this evening with more rainfall set to fall on an already soaked oval.
Poole team boss Neil Middleditch told the Bournemouth Echo: “The problem is a lot of damage has been done to the track already and it’s a question of whether the track staff can get to it to do anything with it. The problem is there is no sun to dry it out. We have to hope for a break in the weather, but at the moment it doesn’t look good.”
Middleditch, whose Pirates have a one-point advantage from the first leg, also defended his club’s failure to use track covers for anywhere other than the start line suggesting they’re not the answer to avoiding rain-offs.