PROMOTER Danny Ford admits Poole are still trying to strike the balance between an exciting racing track and ensuring strong home advantage at Wimborne Road, but insisted: “We’re working on it.”
Pirates saw their long unbeaten home run come to an end, with a 47-43 loss to Leicester Lions on June 8. It was their first defeat on home shale in more than 1,000 days, since losing to Wolverhampton in the Premiership in 2019.
The warning signs had been there at times in the previous week, where Edinburgh just missed out on a losing bonus point after falling to a 49-41 defeat on the Dorset track, with Monarchs’ experienced Aussie Sam Masters praising the Poole surface after the meeting, having scored 15 points on the night.
In May, Pirates received a 28-tonne delivery of shale from Scotland, in a bid to improve entertainment value on show, which experienced track man Terry Chrabaszcz has been hard at work to achieve.
Poole welcome Plymouth Gladiators to Wimborne Road tomorrow (7.30pm), their first home meeting since that loss to Leicester.
“A problem for us a little bit now is Poole has always been a track with a really good, solid home advantage,” Ford told the Daily Echo.
“With the work we’ve done on the track now, it’s kind of working against us.
“Because so many riders now are coming to Poole and really enjoying it. You look at what Sam Masters said the other day, he said it’s the best he’s ever known Poole in all of his years riding in the UK.
“So while I wouldn’t change that for anything, I want to be able to provide the best racing possible, because that’s ultimately what we want to do, entertain the public, we still need to be having some kind of home advantage.
“We’re working on that and I think we’ve got something up our sleeves for the next one.”
Asked how tough that balance is, Ford added: “We’re almost in an unwinnable position. The ideal thing would be great racing, everyone loves the track, not a complaint about the track, but the Pirates get a great win.
“It doesn’t always happen like that and when you do make a fair racing surface, it gives everyone a fair shot at it.
“It’s one of those things, but we’re working on it. Hopefully we can get that balance right in the coming weeks.”
Ford had regularly this season spoken about his desire for Poole to go unbeaten at home throughout the campaign, as they did in 2021.
Asked how big a blow losing to Leicester was to their season’s aspirations, Ford said: “It doesn’t help matters by any means. People suddenly start to question everything.
“Ultimately we’re not in a bad position in regards to the league table.
“Leicester are looking the team to beat very much at the minute, but if we were going to lose one, I’m glad we lost it now rather than crunch time in the play-offs.
“That’s when it all really matters.
“We’re in a comfortable position, we look set to make it into the play-offs and once we get there, it kind of wipes the slate clean and you start from zero again.
“That’s really when you’ve got to show your form and that’s where you really need to be unbeaten.
“I’m glad we got it out the way now. It is frustrating and it is a blip, but one of those things.
“We were never going to go unbeaten at home forever, so we got it out the way now. Hopefully we can bounce back from it and go unbeaten for the rest of the season at home.”
Poole now sit third in the Championship table, 14 points behind leaders Leicester with three meetings in hand.
Asked if he felt the Lions were still catchable, speaking prior to Pirates losing 45-44 at Scunthorpe Scorpions on Friday, Ford said: “It is quite a gap. I still think it’s achievable.
“Leicester have still got to go to some tough places themselves. I think they’ve got to go to Glasgow, which is never going to be easy, and we picked up points at Glasgow.
“I think things are definitely going to close up.
“It’s going to be tough, but I wouldn’t say there’s no hope of us catching Leicester.”