Darcy Ward will miss Elite League Grand Final after being hospitalised in attack
The Poole Pirates have been dealt a huge blow as they go into tonight's Elite League Grand Final after Darcy Ward was hospitalised after he was attacked at a Dorset pub.
Ward was subjected to an unprovoked attacked at the Churchill Arms in Sturminster Marshall. The Pirates' top rider has undergone a brain scan and will miss out on the crunch meeting at Wimborne Road, and is also likely to miss part of the Pirates' Knock-Out Cup semi-finals against Peterborough.
Niels Kristian Iversen has been called up to take Ward's place in the Pirates' line-up.
Poole boss Matt Ford said: "It has been a terrible weekend. our thoughts have been entirely with Darcy who was left in a poor way on Friday after being attacked.
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"Clearly his absence is going to leave a big dent in the team's spirits at a time when we have some key meetings to race. I am indebted to Niels for stepping in at this crunch time for the club at such short notice."
The Pirates now face an uphill struggle to retain their Elite League title - with the Swindon Robins holding a seven-point lead after the first leg. Their are also question marks about whether Chris Holder will take part in tonight's meeting.
The Poole captain crashed and sustained an ankle injury during a Polish playoff meeting, but is hopeful of taking part tonight.