Poole Pirates’ team boss Neil Middleditch urges for call-offs to be made sooner
- Credit: Ian Burt
Poole Pirates' team boss Neil Middleditch admits last night's play-off postponement farce was a crying shame for speedway.
'Middlo' – a former Great Britain boss – believes the semi-final second leg between his side and King's Lynn Stars should have been called off earlier in the day due to heavy rainfall in Dorset. But with Sky Sports covering the meeting every effort was made to get it on leaving fans to arrive and then leave disappointed having seen no action.
Middlo said: 'It's dreadful. It was disappointing for everybody. Meetings have to definitely be called off earlier.
'As a track curator you can look at a track, particularly at this time of the year, because this isn't drying weather. After about 2pm forget it. It's starting to get cold, it's damp, the damp comes up through the ground. With the additional rain we had at 4pm it's a no-brainer. I wasn't here to see it but people said the track was flooded.
'You've got a stadium full of people here going home disappointed and once again it's a classic case of British speedway shooting itself in the foot.'
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The south coast giants are arguably the country's biggest outfit having won the sport's top-flight seven times. Two titles in the last three years have further confirmed the Pirates as the dominant force of the Elite League. However, their inability to save last night's all-important fixture has left many criticising the Dorset outfit's off-track pedigree. And while Middleditch admits he was gutted by the evening's events, he insists his club's officials were not entirely at fault.
'Riders' safety comes first but as I've said it should have been called off at 4pm,' Middleditch said.
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'The rain turned the track into slop. They tried very, very hard to get it back. What they did was blade (the shale) it off, which Buster (Chapman) did to great effect at King's Lynn (on Monday), but we've got a different sort of track here and what happened was the base broke up and created a great big hole (on turn one), which was going to get bigger and bigger.
'It was right on the racing line. It was not a decision that was taken lightly but all 14 riders agreed it was not safe to ride. At the end of the day, they're the ones who are putting their lives at risk.'
Poole will now have to work hard to get their oval up to scratch for Thursday's rescheduled clash.