Cup Quarter-Final Day

Key facts

Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Leicester Lions

Championship KO Cup, quarter-final

Sunday, June 30, Start time 3.30pm; Gates open 1.45pm

Big crowd expected, please come early if you can (full story here)

Pits open until 40 minutes before start time

Eastbourne season tickets are valid (bring your ticket and use the usual entrance) (full story here)

Free admission to current, serving members of the Armed Forces (with valid ID card) as thank you to the UK military (full story here)

Programme token collect: Token No 1 on page three of today’s programme (full story here)

Weather: Cooler, breezier but dry with some sun = perfect for speedway

Traffic: No known major problems

Team news: Leicester have an injury crisis. Adam Extance replaces David Wallinger who suffered concussion earlier in the week. Richie Worrall is out with an ankle injury and last night Josh Bates crashed heavily. We are expecting a guest, who has not yet been announced, and rider replacement to fill the gaps.

This morning Leicester admitted they were struggling to find a guest, having had Michael Pam Toft lined up but he broke a frame last night.

“We’re really struggling because there’s eight teams racing on Sunday and everybody is chasing the same riders – you name it, I’ve tried them,” said Lions team boss Stewart Dickson.

Further update: Ryan Terry Daly in place of Josh Bates and RR for Richie Worrall.

Here’s how Kevin Ling sees this hugely important cup tie

Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles will be sure to have revenge on their minds this Sunday afternoon (3.30pm start time) as they welcome the Leicester Lions to Arlington stadium for the second time so far in season 2019.

The men from the Paul Chapman and Sons Arena have certainly cast themselves as the team to beat so far in the current campaign.

Indeed, it was they who rudely gate-crashed the launching of Eastbourne’s league challenge by cruelly inflicting a single point, 45-44 defeat on their hosts.

The Sussex side might well identify that they had victory in their grasp on that occasion with Richard Lawson leading both Scott Nicholls and Richie Worrall in the all-important final race. 

Richard in action against the Lions

It is at such times that results can turn on a sixpence and that is effectively what happened.

Lawson clipping the air fence on the third lap final turn, bending his foot rest out of shape. 

This, in turn, meant he struggled to maintain control of his machine and on the final turn he ran out of road and fell leaving the way clear for the Lions duo to bag the 5-1 they needed for the win.

A gut-wrenching way for their home campaign to begin needless to say and one that will inevitably fuel the thirst for revenge. 

Another reason for them wanting to put the record straight is the fact that this weekend’s fixture forms the first leg of the Knockout Cup quarter-final between the two sides and while the Lions are currently leading the league table by some distance, Sunday’s match up starts with the teams all square.

Scott Nicholls & Edward Kennett ahead of Connor Mountain & Ben Morley

Add to the mix the fact that the Knockout Cup is a trophy that the Sussex club has almost started to regard as something of their own possessing as they do a proud record in the competition at whatever level they have contested it.

Most recently, during their time in the National League, they can vaunt a wholly impressive unbeaten run of four straight successes in the period spent in that division. 

In addition the last time that the Eagles entered the middle tier, the level that they effectively are now, they took the title at the first attempt. 

That was back to the heady days of 1985 when they triumphed over League Champions Ellesmere Port Gunners. 

That prompted a run three consecutive of KO Cup wins, the latter two wrapped up as part of back-to-back league and cup doubles – the Mildenhall Fen Tigers the runners up on all four occasions.

Though that was a good few years ago, you can be sure that the Eagles will be striving to prove that history can indeed repeat itself.

Eastbourne are expected to track their regular line up though the Lions will have changes to the side that previously triumphed at Arllington.

The ominous presence of Nicholls remains, although Richie Worrall is injured.

The injured Richie Worrall

Both Josh Bates and Ryan Douglas were expected to feature this time around, both being out through injury on the last occasion.

However, Bates is now a major doubt after a crash last night.

Sussex patrons may recall that Edinburgh’s Josh Pickering (himself now unfortunately sidelined with injury) arguably turned in a match winning guest performance on their behalf with three wins from his five outings, replacing Bates last time around.

In addition former Kent King Jack Thomas has stepped down from the reserve berth and his place on Sunday will be taken by guest rider Adam Extance from the Plymouth Gladiators. 

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Kyle Newman, Georgie Wood.

Lions: Josh Bates (TBC), Ryan Douglas, Adam Extance (Guest for Jack Thomas), Connor Mountain, Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Richie Worrall replacement TBC.

Image credits: Mike Hinves