Eastbourne 54, Edinburgh 36

EASTBOURNE 54: Richard Lawson 14, Edward Kennett 11+1, Lewis Kerr 11+1, Georgie Wood 6+1, Ben Morley 4+1, Kyle Newman 4, Alfie Bowtell 4.
EDINBURGH 36: Ricky Wells 12+1, Cameron Heeps 6, Paul Starke 5, Joel Andersson 4+1, Connor Coles 4+1, William Lawson 3, Victor Palovaara 2+1.

Eastbourne had far too much firepower for the Edinburgh Monarchs to cope with.

The Fineprint Eagles captain, Edward Kennett, completed a fine paid maximum while Richard Lawson tasted only one defeat all night – to visiting No 1 Ricky Wells in the final race.

There was solid support from some of the lesser lights in the home camp with Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell looking particularly lively.

Edward Kennett his the front

Eastbourne took an early lead and steadily eased clear of their capital-city visitors who managed only a couple of heat advantages all evening.

Eastbourne joint team manager, Will Pottinger, said: “It was a good all round performance.

“The three heat leaders were all in double figures and everyone else contributed good points.

“That was probably the best meeting from Alfie [Bowtell] this year. He may only have scored four points but you could tell he was a lot more confident on the bike.

“That was really pleasing to see.

“Ben [Morley] was getting stuck in and Georgie – who couldn’t make a start all night – was working hard for his points.

Kyle Newman

“We are getting there slowly. Kyle [Newman] was having a few bike problems but he went home with a win.

“There were a lot of positives to take from it and it is another win in the bank.”

Pottinger said it was important for the Eagles to transfer their home form to away meetings.

“It is still work in progress. We still need to be doing better away and we will try do better next week at Sheffield,” he said.

As usual, we have the Kevin Ling verdict on the evening’s proceedings with details of the racing and, of course, the heat winner times.

Eastbourne Fineprin’ Eagles continued a fine run of form at ‘Fortress Arlington’ on Saturday evening.

Scottish Royalty, the Edinburgh Monarchs, were the latest visitors to feel the home might of the Sussex battlers.

The eventual 54-36 score line hints at the comfort of the victory.

However, the visitor’s, number one Ricky Wells in particular fought to keep things close during the mid-part of the meeting but the lack of effective back up for their captain began to tell and the Eagles continued to add to their advantage as the meeting moved toward its conclusion.

Richard Lawson and Edward Kennett

Skipper Edward Kennett, fresh from his tie-winning exploits at Leicester, as the Eagles ended the Lions Knockout Cup interests the previous evening, led the charge, riding unbeaten by an opponent in each of his four rides.

Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr also demonstrated their huge worth, the former topping the scorechart with 14-points only losing out to Wells in the final race of the night while the latter also hit double figures totaling paid 12 from his five outings.

Elsewhere the remainder maybe didn’t return the tallies of which the Eagles management know they are capable, however, each did bag at least a win or a paid win apiece thus making valid contributions.

Eastbourne hit their opponents from the word go amassing an 8-point advantage after only three races.

Kennett outgunned Wells (winning time 58.7), with whom he has enjoyed a long, friendly rivalry, in heat one while Ben Morley came from the back to get the better of Swede Victor Palovaara for an opening 4-2.

Alfie Bowtell powered from the start to win heat two (winning time 59.6), however it was all going on behind him and that really had the crowd cheering.

Team Kerr with some on track running repairs

Home hero Georgie Wood completely missed the start but worked his way through the field as the race progressed.

Wood passed William Lawson on the run in to lap three then he joined his partner at the front with a sweeping inside drive to deny Connor Coles and claim maximum points for the Eagles

With 9-3 now the score, the Eagles extended their advantage further as Kerr blazed away in the third (winning time 58.2) heading home Monarchs’ guest Paul Starke while Kyle Newman fought well to keep Joel Andersson at bay, the resultant 4-2 seeing the margin move to 13-5.

Heat four witnessed a first of four wins for Richard Lawson (winning time 58.3). Wood made every effort but could not recover sufficiently from a second ragged start to overcome either Cameron Heeps or Coles in second and third.

Wells swooped from the back to became Edinburgh’s first heat winner, heading home Kerr in their fifth and with Newman struggling for pace at the rear of the field, Palovaara’s third place also provided the visitors first advantage of the night, the 4-2 drawing them closer to their hosts with the scores now 18-12.

Wood, William Lawson and Bowtell

Kennett redressed the balance immediately as he powered home to defeat Heeps in race six (winning time 58.1).

For the first lap the pair rode side by side but the Eagles supremo made home knowledge count as he rode round his opponent on the run in to lap two.

With Morley also bettering Wm Lawson, the swift reply 4-2 restored order with the difference returning to 8-points 22-14.

The Eastbourne Lawson kept the home fires burning with his second win in heat seven (winning time 58.3) but Starke and Andersson tucked in behind him to deny Bowtell and once again the race points remained shared.

Morley might have felt himself hard done by as he was ruled out by referee Christina Turnbull following a fall courtesy of a brush with Coles and untidy first turn in heat eight.

Ben Morley

Morley appeared to be in some discomfort and was clutching his wrist as he walked back to the pits but fortunately he was able to contest his final ride later on.

In the restart Wood again flew the flag for the hosts with an all the way win (winning time 58.5), Coles coming past Palovaara on the back straight of lap one to take second place.

The difference remained at eight points (31-23) following the next race as Kerr returned to winning ways at the expense of Heeps and tactical substitute Wells (winning time 58.4). Wells introduction was clearly intended to reduce the deficit however he completely missed the start allowing Kerr to get away.

Ben Morley talking to co-promoter Trevor Geer

He did recover sufficiently to get the better of Newman on the final bend of lap one but between them the Monarchs duo could do no better than a share of the race spoils.

This would prove their undoing as Kennett and Morley combined for a 5-1 in race ten (winning time 58.5) to move the Eagles further out of Edinburgh’s reach.

The race was restarted and Morley warned to remain stationary at the start but at the second time of asking the home duo hit the front again, outpacing both Starke and Andersson to set the scores at 36-24 with two thirds of the match now down.

Richard Lawson claimed a third straight win in the eleventh, this time bettering Wells (winning time 59.1) and with Bowtell holding third place from Palovaara the 4-2 stretched the margin further to 14-points, 40-26.

Georgie Wood with mechanic Chris Geer

Heat twelve witnessed a confidence boosting victory for Newman though the race was never destined to reach a conclusion with Starke suffering a fall at the tail end of lap three necessitating a stoppage.

At the time, Newman was fending off William Lawson while Wood was also making his presence felt. Many felt he might too have found a way past the opponent but with the result called as a 4-2 and the score moving to 44-28 Eastbourne could not now be caught.

Lawson and Kennett continued to pile on the pressure in race thirteen, Eagles third 5-1 with Wells a distant third and Heeps overcooking his run on the first and second turns of lap two saw the hosts close in on the half century marker, the scores now standing at 49-29 with just two races left (winning time 59.4).

Tensions boiled over slightly in the penultimate race as Bowtell sought to get on terms with Andersson on the first turn of lap two.

Kerr on the outside while Bowtell side-swipes Andersson

The pair collided and came down and were indeed fortunate to be missed by the chasing Kerr and Coles.

A frank exchange of views ensued and Andersson and Bowtell traded blows, the melee being added to momentarily by other interested parties but thankfully the situation was soon diffused.

The official did reprimand both riders and team managers but handshakes were exchanged soon after.

Andersson now in serious trouble
Andersson and Bowtell both down and Kerr in the firing line
Kerr just finds enough space to avoid the mayhem

The action resumed without Bowtell and Andersson did indeed claim an impressive win at the expense of Kerr (winning time 59.7). With Coles following on this saw Edinburgh bank their second advantage of the night, a 4-2 that reduced the margin to 18-points, 51-33.

With Wells securing a second successive heat win for the visitors in fifteen it did at least provide a degree of recompense for the travelling fans.

Wells gated to end the maximum hopes of Lawson in a time of 59.3, Kerr completing another worthy performance coming home in third place ahead of Heeps to set the final score at a resounding 54-36.


Eagles: Richard Lawson 14(5), Edward Kennett 11+1(4), Lewis Kerr 11+1(5), Georgie Wood 6+1(4), Kyle Newman 4(4), Ben Morley 4+1(4), Alfie Bowtell 4(4). – 54

Monarchs: Ricky Wells 12+1(6), Cameron Heeps 6(5), Paul Starke (Guest for Josh Pickering) 5(4), Joel Andersson 4+1(4), Connor Coles 4+1(4), William Lawson 3(3), Victor Palovaara 2+1(4). – 36

Images: Mike Hinves and Tiffani Graveling Photography