Meeting Preview: Proud Middlo Expecting Tough Cheetah's Response

1/04/24

The heavy-hitting 'Wessex Marine' Pirates return to track action on Wednesday night, but not at Wimborne Road. Instead, they travel up the A34 to the Oxford Stadium when they will confront a wounded Cheetahs side, following Good Friday's 61-29 rout.

Given that the meeting is within Neil Middleditch's 'patch', he will once again be on managerial duties and he readily admits that it could be a wholly different affair to that which saw the Pirates breach the sixty point mark for the forty-seventh time since being appointed manager.

"Nobody could have seen Friday's result coming and whilst one meeting doesn't make a season the signs are really good. My old mate Peter Schroeck wasn't too happy with the size of the result but he did say fair play to our lads as they deserved it. I think they (Oxford) will be out to return the favour and we will see a very different performance from Oxford than we witnessed in Friday's opener, but the way things went for us, if we ride like that, then I can't see them turning us over as we did to them. We will be going there full of confidence however, as, already we have got a good team spirit here this season with all the riders gelling and talking to each other, with the experienced boys like Richard (Lawson) Ben and Zach (the Cook brothers) all freely passing on their knowledge to the youngsters. That is what it is all about. There is no "I" in team and we showed on Friday it is all about an all-round team performance and that is something to build on."
If the Pirates need to look for any omens, then the last time they beat an Oxford side by a scoreline of 61-29 was in an Elite league fixture in 1999 and that same season they won the corresponding fixture at Cowley too, with a 51-39 score. Amazingly, the evergreen Scott Nicholls netted a maximum for the Pirates in the home fixture and on Wednesday he will be in opposition on a track where last term he only dropped twenty three points in sixty nine outings!

Wednesday will also see a return to the Oxford Stadium for Sam Hagon who served the Oxford Cubs in 2022 at National Development League level, whilst it is the same venue that fellow Pirate reserve Max Perry produced a sensational winning ride for Plymouth during last season's Championship Pairs meeting, when he claimed the scalp of the far more experienced Josh Pickering.

The Pirates are unchanged from Friday's meeting as too, personnel-wise, will be the Oxford Cheetahs, athough Peter Schroeck has chosen to shuffle his two reserves around.
Poole's next Wimborne Road meeting will take place on Wednesday 10th April when they are set to conclude their home fixtures in their BSN Southern Group with the visit of the Plymouth Gladiators.

Teams:
Oxford 'Monarch' Cheetahs - 1 Sam Masters 2 Henry Atkins 3 Cameron Heeps 4 Jordan Jenkins 5 Scott Nicholls (Capt) 6 Ashton Boughen 7 Luke Killeen - Team manager Peter Schroeck
Poole 'Wessex Marine' Pirates - 1 Richard Lawson 2 Tobias Thomsen 3 Tom Brennan 4 Zach Cook 5 Ben Cook (Capt) 6 Sam Hagon 7 Max Perry - Team manager Neil Middleditch

Update: The meeting fell victim to a lunchtime postponement due to a waterlogged track.

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