Monday briefing

Published on 27th May 2024
Author George Dodds

Wednesday: Poole Pirates v Jewson Bandits, 7.30pm. Buy tickets Buy stream

Saturday: Jewson Bandits v Scunthorpe Scorpions, 7pm Buy tickets

Sunday: Freddy Hodder in the British Under-21 Championship, Glasgow, 2pm. Buy tickets Watch on BSN 

While the return of four former Pirates to Wimborne Road gives the Jewson Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets, inside knowledge it is the fitness of number one Lewis Kerr – who had a handful of meetings with the, then top league Pirates in 2017 – which has been most under the spotlight.

Having successfully returned from a five-week layoff with a fractured ankle in the cup thrashing at Scunthorpe, the Norfolk racer crashed out of the following night’s victory over Plymouth at Shielfield Park.

Fortunately, he suffered only muscle damage to his leg and is back in the Bandits’ line-up for the toughest test of the Cab Direct Championship season.

Drew’s made many happy returns to his old hunting ground

Since returning to the second tier in 2021 Poole have lost just one of their 28 home Championship matches – to Stewart Dickson’s Leicester in 2022, the only other home point they have dropped was to Plymouth the same year.

Drew Kemp was part of the Pirates side in both of those matches, although he would probably rather remember his league and KO Cup winners’ medals from his spell at Wimborne Road.

He was also in the Scunthorpe team which drew the second leg of last year’s Knockout Cup final in Dorset. Scoring 10+2 on the night, having been paid for 15 when the teams also drew in the league play-offs, the Pirates winning the Super Heat.

Two more Bandits who know the way around Poole are skipper Rory Schlein and Danyon Hume, both members of the 2021 double-winning team.

Silverware is expected by the self-proclaimed Championship glamour club and they were left smarting as first Scunthorpe and then Glasgow in the play-offs denied them in 2023, only the BSN Series trophy finding its way into the cabinet.

They kept the backbone of last year’s side in Richard Lawson and the Cook brothers Ben and Zach but the best bit of business was to pick up Tom Brennan after his release by Glasgow.

Tom Brennan, Rory Schlein and Sam Hagon

Brennan has had a jet-propelled start to the season with the Pirates and has been one of the bright spots in Birmingham’s wretched start to the Premiership campaign, scoring freely as a guest and only just failing to qualify for the GP Challenge.

Teenager Sam Hagon is another who has hit the ground running and when the latest green sheet averages come into force on Saturday he will replace Dane Tobias Thomsen in the main body of the team.

Poole have completed just two Championship fixtures so far this season, hammering Workington 61-29 two weeks ago and, of course, winning 46-44 at Shielfield Park.

That night Lawson broke Berwick hearts as he passed Rory Schlein, breaking the 5-1 which would have given us a draw on a night when he Hagon and Brennan accounted for 35 of Poole’s points after Zach Cook crashed out in his first ride.

Team-mates celebrate Richard Lawson’s match-winning ride at Shielfield Park

So far at home this season Poole have put 61 points past Oxford in the BSN and Workington in the league and 58 against Plymouth in the BSN.

Edinburgh have fared best of the visiting teams losing 49-40 in the Knockout Cup.

Dickson, who masterminded that Leicester victory in 2022, said: “We have riders with experience of Poole and need them to use it.

“It’s a tough place to go but we need to be positive and battle for every point, do our job and not worry too much about Poole’s reputation.

“Having Lewis back is a boost as he was in great form before his injury.”

Poole: Richard Lawson, Tobias Thomsen, Tom Brennan, Zach Cook, Ben Cook, Sam Hagon, Max Perry

Jewson Bandits: Lewis Kerr, Danyon Hume, Jye Etheridge, Drew Kemp, Rory Schlein, Freddy Hodder, Bastian Borke

Referee: Wayne Jarvis

Aussie chat … Ben Cook and Jye
CAB DIRECT CHAMPIONSHIP  
(including 25 May)
Team P W D L F A Ag Pt
Workington 6 4 0 2 275 265 1 9
Berwick 4 3 0 1 185 174 1 7
Poole 2 2 0 0 109 73 0 4
Oxford 2 1 0 1 97 82 0 2
Scunthorpe 1 1 0 0 46 44 0 2
Plymouth 3 1 0 2 133 136 0 2
Glasgow 2 1 0 1 89 92 0 2
Redcar 4 0 0 4 166 193 0 0
Edinburgh 2 0 0 2 71 109 0 0
Historically speaking

Despite the long history of both clubs Wednesday will be only the tenth meeting of the sides at Wimborne Road, the eighth in the second tier.

The first, against the then Wildcats, was in 1985 when Berwick’s Big Macs – McKinna, McDermott, McMillan – lost 45-32.

Poole were Pirates again in 1987 when Rob Woffinden, furious at a hugely unjust first race exclusion, then rattled off four straight wins to bring the Bandits within touching distance of winning, eventually losing out 40-38.

That win eventually came over the 15-heat format in 1989, 44-52 just a month before our most famous visit to Wimborne Road, a 50-46 defeat which nevertheless set up Berwick’s KO Cup triumph.

By the time the teams met again in 1991 they had both been elevated to the top division. The Bandits won the league match at the third time of asking, after two previous rain-offs but Poole got revenge of sorts by winning the BSPA Cup semi-final – a revamped version of the Inter-League Knockout competition – 50-40, going on to lose against Bradford in the two-legged final.

It would be 20 years before the sides met again, Poole dropping into the Championship in 2021. The best of our three visits coming when Chris Harris’ magnificent 2022 six-ride maximum kept us in the hunt before losing 41-48.

Rory Schlein and Danyon Hume were part of the 2021 league and cup-winning Poole side, Drew Kemp also doing the double in Pirates colours in 2022.

Statistically speaking

Interesting, but relatively irrelevant, statistics

2024 average results (Championship, BSN Series, KO Cup only)

Berwick: home (6 matches) 48-42, away (4) 37-52

Scunthorpe: home (4) 56-34, away (5) 41-49

Poole: home (4) 57-33, away (3) 44-45

New greensheet averages come into operation on Saturday.

Bandits New Prev
Lewis Kerr 8.80 8.80
Rory Schlein 7.84 7.73
Jye Etheridge 5.66 5.76
Danyon Hume 5.59 4.93
Drew Kemp 5.46 5.52
Bastian Borke 4.72 4.30
Freddy Hodder 2.00 2.00
Total 40.07 39.04

 

Pirates New Prev
Richard Lawson 9.03 9.02
Tom Brennan 7.91 7.42
Ben Cook 7.51 7.56
Zach Cook 6.38 6.51
Sam Hagon 4.33 3.22
Tobias Thomsen 4.00 4.00
Max Perry 2.00 2.00
Total 41.06 39.73

 

Scorpions New Prev
Kyle Howarth 7.47 7.73
Michael Palm Toft 7.43 7.24
Jake Allen 7.39 7.24
Simon Lambert 6.05 6.11
Connor Mountain 5.89 5.55
Nathan Ablitt 3.63 3.41
Luke Harrison 2.00 2.00
Total 39.86 39.28
Pictures: Taylor Lanning

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Dodds
George Dodds

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