Eastbourne Speedway are in action tonight (Saturday, June 6).
The Fineprint Eagles take on the Edinburgh Monarchs at Arlington Stadium.
Championship league match with racing from 7.30pm.
Gates open at 5.45pm. Special gate will be open for those going to the Eaglets’ Disco at 5.15pm.
Big welcome to the Fineprint Eagles who last night knocked out Leicester to qualify for the Championship KO Cup semi-final.
Team News: no changes notified
Weather: Cooler, cloudier, breezier – that’s real speedway weather. Bring a jumper.
Traffic: Night-time roadworks on the A22 through the Dicker may delay your home journey. However, as yet, we have heard of no reports of delays.
Fixture news: Sheffield will come to Arlington in the Championship on August 31.
Kevin Ling, back in Sussex after last night’s drama at Leicester, runs the rule over tonight’s opponents.
Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles return to Arlington stadium this Saturday evening (7.30pm start time) when they bid welcome to old friends and rivals from a bygone era, the Edinburgh Monarchs.
It has been almost a quarter of a century, 1996 to be precise, since the Sussex side last crossed swords with the Monarchs (at that time the Scottish Monarchs).
Clashes between the two clubs were traditionally full blooded and closely contested so each team will no doubt relish the opportunity to renew acquaintances.
The Eagles will take to familiar shale fresh from their qualification for the Knockout Cup Semi-Finals following a tense aggregate victory at the home of current Championship leaders, the Leicester Lions the previous evening.
Eastbourne had taken a hefty 24-point lead to the Paul Chapman and Sons Arena courtesy of a 57-33 home success against the Lions at Arlington last Sunday afternoon.
The section high flyers hit the ground running and proceeded to whittle away the Eagles advantage, so much so that, on conclusion of heat eight, just past the half way mark only 10-points of that deficit remained in place.
At that stage, the Lions looked to be in good shape, particularly with home hero Scott Nicholls in seemingly imperious form, guest Chris Harris, Ryan Douglas and Ellis Perks all piling up the points and Connor Mountain turning in a stellar performance from the reserve berth it appeared that the hosts may well complete their self-proclaimed ‘mission impossible’.
The Lions led comfortably on the night but that was secondary in nature, the bottom line figure over the two legs was the only one that held any significance.
A further 5-1 to Leicester pulled them to within 6-points of the Eagles with a third of the match still remaining but it was at that moment that the Sussex side rallied sufficiently, an eleventh race 4-2 with both Edward Kennett, a superb Captain’s performance, and Georgie Wood passing opponents on the run in to the line, proved key to their eventual progression.
It came down to a last heat decider with Kennett again the star as he inflicted Nicholls only defeat of the night in pulsating fashion.
With Richard Lawson also forcing a way past Douglas for a closing 4-2 this ultimately saw Eastbourne through to the last four by a 92-88 margin.
With Redcar having also ended Glasgow’s interest in the competition in impressive style the same evening, Eastbourne now await the outcome of the Semi-Final draw from the pool that also includes the Bears, the Newcastle Diamonds and this evening’s visitors to Sussex, the Monarchs.
History dictates that the Eagles have largely enjoyed the best of exchanges in match ups against their Scottish contemporaries with a clean sweep of ten victories at Arlington and wins in all but three (1989, 90 and 96 proving the barren years) of their visits north of the border.
That is what history reveals however the present day is a wholly different prospect.
With Edinburgh now the senior club so far as Championship matters are concerned under no circumstances are they likely to prove as relenting as they make their first trip to Sussex in some 23 years.
The Monarchs will be led into action by American Ricky Wells, a one-time target for the Sussex club when he first ventured to these shores. Wells tops the Edinburgh averages and he is liable to receive solid support from free scoring Australian Cameron Heeps and Swede Victor Palovaara.
Glasgow’s Paul Starke, who played a significant role in his own team’s victory at Arlington in recent weeks, makes a guest appearance in place of the injured Josh Pickering and his presence will only serve to strengthen Monarch’s chances of success in what already looks a tough contest for the Eagles.
The Monarchs side is completed by Joel Andersson, William Lawson and former Eagle Connor Coles who also proved instrumental in Glasgow’s win at the venue in mid-May.
Eastbourne for their part will look to harness the spirit that ultimately saw them through to a Knockout cup Semi-Final date and look to continue an impressive run of home form in recent weeks in the league that has seen them triumph in match ups against Newcastle, the Berwick Bandits and the Scunthorpe Scorpions.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Kyle Newman, Georgie Wood.
Monarchs: Joel Andersson, Connor Coles (Guest), Cameron Heeps, William Lawson, Victor Palovaara, Paul Starke (Guest for Josh Pickering), Ricky Wells.
Image: Mike Hinves