Sussex Speedway squad Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles are looking to be back with a bang as they return to Arlington stadium this Saturday evening (7.30 p.m. start time) following a break of three weeks.
Indeed it is sure to prove a tough homecoming as they are set to face, not only, the newly crowned British Champion in Charles Wright but also team very much in form, the Redcar Bears.
Good news for the Eagles and their supporters is that skipper Edward Kennett makes his return to the side having served his ten day suspension imposed following the recent unfortunate occurrences during their Championship Shield Semi-Final encounter against Glasgow.
Kennett will need to be at his best, along with the rest of the side as the Teesside outfit are fast emerging as the team to beat at Championship level following an impressive sequence of victories, both home and away.
The recent acquisition of Erik Riss has effectively transformed Redcar’s fortunes of late and he forms a powerful triple spearhead alongside Wright and Michael Palm Toft, a 15-point maximum against Eagles during their recent match up in early August.
In addition Jordan Stewart and Kasper Andersen provide steel to the engine room of the side while Nathan Greaves and Tom Woolley are capable of worthy contributions from the reserve berth.
With Leicester and Glasgow already bolted on to contest the end of season Play off’s and the Somerset Rebels, currently lying in third place, virtual certainties themselves to join them, it is the Bears who still need points in the bank to distance themselves from the Sheffield Tigers in the hope of claiming that all important fourth spot.
With matches in hand over the Rebels the Bears still have them in their sights also and consequently for them that places added significance on their visit to Sussex as they look to secure their place.
Equally, the Eagles will be looking to make it a triumphant return to familiar shale following a punishing series of travelling engagements that has taken in such centres as Redcar, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Berwick and most recently Newcastle.
Last weekend saw them contest the final three of those in their long awaited Northern tour, an excursion that realised a substantial following of vocal, good natured and enthusiastic Eagles fans.
It certainly proved a tour to remember for many reasons but one that offered differing fortunes on track. It didn’t start so well as Eastbourne found themselves comprehensively beaten at both Edinburgh (51-27) then Berwick (58-32) on Friday and Saturday.
However on Sunday the sun effectively came out as the Sussex battlers recovered from 12-point, 33-21 deficit after heat seven to win a thrilling contest at Newcastle by a 47-43 margin.
Without a race advantage to their name for the first 34 heats of the tour, the Eagles made up for that in spades by chalking up no fewer than three 5-1’s and two 4-2’s in the final six races at the Newcastle stadium as they secured their first travelling league success of the 2019 campaign at the final attempt.
Needless to say the Sussex men will be looking to carry that buoyant mood into Saturday’s contest as they endeavour to sweep aside another Arlington challenger.
At the same time the Bears will be looking to build on the experience gleaned as they overcame Eastbourne by a 53-37 scoreline at the Media Prima Arena at the beginning of the month.
Both teams will of course be looking to lay down a marker as they are set to do battle for a place in the Knockout Cup Final in the early part of September.
With reserve Alfie Bowtell having suffered a knee injury at Newcastle, the Eagles hand a guest opportunity to Mildenhall’s Matt Marson who rides at number seven alongside National League team mate Jason Edwards.
Unfortunately Charlie Brooks, who was originally due to guest at No 7, suffered hand and chest injuries in a fall whilst playing basketball on Thursday Evening and we are very appreciative of the fact that his Mildenhall Team Mate Matt Marson has stepped in as cover at very short notice.”
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Jason Edwards, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Matt Marson (Guest for Alfie Bowtell), Kyle Newman, Georgie Wood.
Bears : Kasper Andersen, Nathan Greaves, Michael Palm Toft, Erik Riss, Jordan Stewart, Tom Woolley, Charles Wright.
Image Credit: Mike Hinves