PREVIEW: POOLE PIRATES v SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS - PLAY-OFFS

11/09/23

Poole 'Wessex Marine' Pirates head into the group stages of the SGB Cab Direct Championship play-offs by welcoming the Scunthorpe Scorpions to Wimborne Road on Wednesday night.

In official meetings, which do not include challenge fixtures, Poole sides remain unbeaten at Wimborne Road since 6th June 2022, a run of twenty seven matches, but the Scorpions have been the third highest scores in Dorset this season, when they pushed the Pirates hard on May 24th when the sides met in the regular league programme. Poole fell behind three times on that occasion before putting in a strong finish to win 49-41 on a night they had Richard Lawson missing due to injury.

Lawson has been highly inspirational for the Pirates this season, especially since moving into the number one spot and the Pirates will be hoping that his presence this time around will help contain the Scorpions number one, Ryan Douglas, who stormed to an unbeaten six ride performance in the league visit, and promises to be one to watch.

Poole promoter Dan Ford acknowledges that the Pirates will have their work cut out on Wednesday but remains confident that his side can go all the way again this season "I think it is reasonable to say that Scunthorpe are probably the dark horses amongst the play-off qualifiers. They have gone about their business stealthily this year and have thoroughly deserved their place. They have riders in good form at present, in particular Dougie [Ryan Douglas], who has been ultra-solid all year for them, but also Simon Lambert and Drew Kemp have been weighing in with some inspired scores. There is no question that they will make things as tough as possible for us but I will never stop believing in our lads, there is still more to come from them I'm sure. Hopefully Zach will be fit enough to take his place in the side after his heat fourteen crash at Edinburgh that left him with an arm injury, but one thing I would ask is that all our fans get right behind us as we prepare for this vital run-in with every meeting being like a final in itself."

Both sides will have a slightly different look about them compared to that June meeting, as besides having Lawson in the side the Pirates have Joe Thompson in place of Adam Roynon, whilst the visitors were operating rider replacement for Michael Palm Toft and also had Max Clegg in their side and he has subsequently been replaced by Drew Kemp, giving the Scunthorpe side a reserve pairing of 2022 Pirates with Nathan Ablitt his fellow reserve. 

The Pirates completed the league double over the Scorpions by winning at the Eddie Wright Raceway, Scunthorpe on August 11th but since then Scunthorpe have scored 207 race points in their final four league matches, two of which were away (Birmingham 58 and Oxford 40),  statistics that underpin what a tough task the Pirates will be facing.

Teams 
Poole - 1 Richard Lawson 2 Anders Rowe 3 Ben Cook 4 Zach Cook (subject to fitness) 5 Steve Worrall (Capt) 6 Kyle Newman 7 Joe Thompson - Team manager Neil Middleditch
Scunthorpe 1 Ryan Douglas 2 Simon Lambert (Capt) 3 Connor Mountain 4 Jake Allen 5 Michael Palm Toft 6 Drew Kemp 7 Nathan Ablitt  Team manager Rob Godfrey 
 

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