Eagles v Bees Preview

Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles will be looking to step up their pursuit for a National League Play Off place as they face fellow hopefuls, the Coventry Bees at Arlington stadium tonight (August 25).

Currently the Sussex side lie in sixth place in the table just ahead of the Bees, the Eagles on 18-points having ridden nine matches, two ahead of their visitors who have contested ten meetings.

With reigning Champions Belle Vue having enjoyed a comfortable win over Buxton on Friday, this moved them into the top four together with table toppers Mildenhall, Eagles near neighbours Kent and a strong looking Birmingham side.

Eastbourne will take heart at the fact that they have a clutch of matches in hand over all the teams above them including no fewer than six over the Colts who have currently reside on 24-points.

A favourable win tonight and  three-points could see the Eagles leapfrog the Plymouth Devils into fifth place in the table and from there they could set their sights on the Manchester men.

Such a scenario would then see them just three-points adrift of Belle Vue and five matches with which to close the margin.

They will be aware however that Coventry will be harbouring similar thoughts of their own, a points profitable run over the remaining weeks of the season could yet see them move into contention themselves at they will view their visit to Arlington as vital in achieving that.

Saturday night’s action kicks off a busy spell for the Sussex outfit with nine fixtures scheduled for the next four weeks.

This coming Thursday is set to see them head over the Solent to take on the Isle of Wight Warriors.

Next weekend can then be regarded as crucial in the grand scheme of things.

On Saturday the Eagles play host to the Kent Kings before travelling to the West Row, home of top title favourites, Mildenhall on Sunday.

The Kings are currently riding on the crest of a wave, having gone unbeaten in their last seven league fixtures amid an eleven match undefeated spell.

This could be even more by the time that the side from Central Park hit Sussex with visits to both Buxton and Belle Vue booked in together with a tough looking home engagement with the Brummies.

The Fen Tigers of course remain unbeaten in the league throughout 2018 to date so the Eagles will be under no illusion as to the difficulty of the task they face but it will be one that they are equal to come the day.

Of course all of the above is for another day and the task at hand and the one they must focus on in the here and now is against the Bees.

Coventry have suffered a degree of misfortune in the run up to Saturday night’s fixture; number one Connor Mountain having had to withdraw having suffered a knee injury at Sheffield on Thursday. 

The Bees management have moved swiftly to engage the services of Danny Ayres as guest cover and needless to say things are never dull when he is in town.

The evergreen Jon Armstrong is also an absentee and the visitors will utilise the Rider Replacement facility in his place.

With the likes of former Eagle Luke Harris at reserve and a capable cast that includes the likes of Danny Phillips, Jamie Halder and Luke Ruddick they will still no doubt feel that they have the artillery in place with which to spring a surprise.    

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

Eagles: Mark Baseby, Tom Brennan, Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards, Nick Laurence (for Ethan Spiller), Charley Powell, Georgie Wood.

Bees: Rider Replacement (for Jon Armstrong), Danny Ayres (Guest for Connor Mountain), Jamie Halder, Luke Harris, Danny Phillips, Luke Ruddick, Jamie Sealey (Guest for Ryan MacDonald).

It’s a busy evening of racing at Arlington with 27 heats planned.


6.45pm: Six junior races

7.20pm: National League parade

7.30pm: Tapes up on Eastbourne v Coventry

Around 9pm: Reading v Weymouth in the Southern Junior League. This is a ‘home’ match for both clubs, as both use Arlington to stage their home fixtures.