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Pirates can pip Eagles to Elite League crown, says Kelvin

Kelvin Tatum Posted 6th October 2011 view comments

Eastbourne's eight-point lead over Poole gives them hope going into the second leg of the Elite League Grand Final - but they're not favourites.

The Eagles would have been in control if they had carved out an advantage of 10 points or more, but I still fancy the Pirates to claim the title on their own patch.

Poole are very good around Wimborne Road and should put in a much better performance than they did on the South Coast last Monday.

Jonasson: one of Poole's star men

Jonasson: one of Poole's star men

Dennis Andersson and Thomas H. Jonasson didn't turn up, meaning the Dorset team relied heavily on three riders: Davey Watt, and Aussies, Darcy Ward and Chris Holder. I expect the Pirates to be more of a team unit at home.

Character

But all credit must go to Eastbourne for their terrific 49-41 win at the Arlington Stadium. They were behind at one stage and showed a great amount of character to respond, especially in heat 15 when they nullified the effect of the previously unbeaten Holder.

The Eagles would have been in control if they had carved out an advantage of 10 points or more, but I still fancy the Pirates to claim the title on their own patch.

Kelvin Tatum
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I don't think the Eagles' Bjarne Pedersen had a great night but he came up trumps in that heat.

I suppose it always helps a team if you've got someone who is familiar with the opposition, as Bjarne is, being an ex-Poole rider.

He needs to be at it all evening on Monday on a track he knows the nuances of, having won three Elite Leagues in Pirates colours.

Eastbourne's record around Wimborne Road is not that bad. They haven't managed to win there but have gone close.

I'm just worried that they are taking a six-man team and are heavily reliant on Cameron Woodward.

He's taking seven rides every time he goes out there, which is great for him, but on a really big night like Monday, there will be extra pressure.

Stamina

Ward's form, which has been fantastic recently, is critical for Poole but I have my concerns.

He's a wildcard in the Poland Grand Prix on Saturday, he's got the last round of the Under-21 World Championship on Sunday and he's back in England for the Grand Final on Monday. There is lots of pressure on him and as a 19-year-old you hope he has the stamina to cope.

The Pirates head into the contest with a slightly less experienced line-up than their visitors, so I suppose the likes of Andersson and Jonasson could freeze on the big occasion.

But Ward and Holder - who are also young - should be able to call on their plentiful international appearances.

Poole's One to Watch: Thomas H. Jonasson

I could say their two Aussies but I will go for Jonasson, who was fantastic in the semi-final against King's Lynn Stars. He needs to do something similar on Monday.

Eastbourne's One to Watch: Cameron Woodward

He plays a vital role for the Eagles and will have to be at the top of his game if they are to fend off the Pirates.

KELVIN'S CALL

Poole to go one better than last year and win the Elite League trophy.

Comments (1)

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Laurie Fletcher says...

Well done Poole Pirates on the Elite League Championship!!! Worth getting up at 5 am to watch. Good luck for next season. Will be there to watch some of the meetings.

Posted 22:53 10th October 2011

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