POOLE PIRATES 1951 NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION THREE CHAMPIONS
Back :Charlie Hayden, Tony Lewis, Don Gould ( Manager), Ken Middleditch, Fred Wright ( Team Mechanic) Bill Holden.
Front : Brian Crutcher, Terry Small, Allan Kidd, Roy Craighead.
KINGS OF THE THIRD DIVISION
1951 saw the ownership of the Poole club change hands with two ambitious town councillors, Leonard Matchan and Geoffrey Bravery taking control of the Pirate ship. They immediately wanted to go one better than the previous year and set about tracking a side that could mount a challenge for the Third Division title.
Led by Ken Middleditch, the young Pirates side got their league campaign off to a good start winning six of their first seven matches, but even this was not good enough for the promoters who brought in the experienced Roy Craighead and team mate Bill Holden from Southampton at just the right time, as Poole fought off an early challenge from Exeter and Rayleigh. The big talking point around Wimborne Road was about 16 year old local lad Brian Crutcher, an overnight discovery who was taking the speedway world by storm. Posted a three ride maximum from the reserve berth on his home debut, leaving the fans to suggest that Poole had found a future World champion.
Unbeaten at home, the side steamrollered its way to the league title with Middleditch topping the end of season score charts, ably supported by Crutcher, Terry Small, Holden, and Tony Lewis. With seven of the side averaging well over seven points a match, and the number eight man a creditable 6.81, there wasn’t a weak link in the line-up.
Such was their superiority that they ran up six home scores of 60 points or more, including a near perfect 68 – 16 thrashing of Long Eaton and a 66 – 18 win over Wolverhampton. This was the first Poole side to win a league championship and after just four seasons of racing in the Third Division, Poole had won promotion into the Second Division of the National League.
1951 NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION THREE