THE ANDY WARREN COLUMN: Have Poole blown it?
THIS time last week I was convinced we were going to be treated to a Robins v Pirates play-off semi-final, but now I’m not so sure.
Poor old Poole have been hit by a huge list of injuries to key personnel this season, but since Matt Ford and Neil Middleditch performed major surgery on their side to replace world champion Chris Holder, the Pirates have been on a charge which looked set to take them to the play-offs.
American legend Greg Hancock looks to be getting back up to speed with the British tracks while Darcy Ward and Maciej Janowski are in superb form, so the stage was set for the Wimborne Road club to make a late charge for fourth place.
It was always going to be tight, but looking at the fixtures prior to last Wednesday’s clash at home to Peterborough you fancied the skull and crossbones would win all their home meetings and pick up enough away from home to overhaul Lakeside and sneak in.
Peterborough have themselves been vastly improved in recent weeks, but surely no one expected them to triumph 51-39 at Wimborne Road.
While the defeat doesn’t end the Pirates’ hopes it does put a serious dent in their bid to extend their season, and perhaps means they now have to go to Lakeside and win on Friday when previously a losing bonus could have been good enough.
I fully expect Birmingham to top the regular season table due to their meetings in hand on the Robins and if Poole had sneaked fourth then they would surely have chosen local rivals Wolverhampton in the semis. If Lakeside sneak in then anyone would chose the Hammers over two legs, meaning the Robins could likely be left with Tai Woffinden’s Wolves.
I’d fancy Rosco’s Elite League champions to win that tie and face Birmingham in the final, but for me the mouth-watering clash with Poole would be a spectacle worth watching.
We do of course get to see the two teams go head-to-head twice before the regular season’s out, but I would love to see it all over again in September when it matters.
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