Captain Edward Kennett rode unbeaten by an opponent as Eastbourne beat Scunthorpe 56-34 in a Championship league match at Arlington Stadium tonight (Saturday, June 22).
The Hailsham-based rider had to overcome a strong challenge from the Lincolnshire side’s guest, American Broc Nicol, who scored 15 points from seven rides.
Nicol, in fact, stopped the Fineprint Eagles running up a cricket score but was outgunned by the far more experienced Kennett when the two clashed.
Kennett was delighted with the both the team’s and his own performance.
He said: “Everyone dug deep again and it was a great result.
“The track rode very well. It is enjoyable to watch the team being successful and was nice to see a great turn out from the crowd again.”
Kennett has just signed to ride for Ipswich in the Premiership and admitted he had started at the Suffolk club with two “dreadful” meetings.
“Maybe I have been over-over-trying but I come back here and relax myself and I feel good.
“Tonight was the best I have felt on the bike for a long time.
“I made a few changes and adjustments. I felt my old self,” said Kennett who suffered a serious injury last year while grass track racing.
Kennett admitted he had to be “quite hard” on Nicol in one of their clashes.
“I wasn’t dirty but I had to be hard. Fair play to him, he adapted to the track pretty quick and he rode very, very well,” Kennett said.
Co-promoter Trevor Geer said: “It was a convincing win but a bit disappointing from Scunthorpe.
“Broc Nicol put up a good show for them and made it an exciting evening.”
EASTBOURNE 56: Edward Kennett 14+1, Richard Lawson 13, Lewis Kerr 8, Ben Morley 7+1, Kyle Newman 6+3, Georgie Wood 5, Alfie Bowtell 3+1.
SCUNTHORPE 34: Broc Nicol 15, Stefan Nielsen 7+1, Danny Ayres 5+1, Josh Auty 4+1, Ryan Kinsley 3+1, Richard Andrews 0, Jake Allen R/R.
MATCH VERDICT by Kevin Ling
Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles turned in another sizeable home victory at Arlington stadium on Saturday evening as they put the visiting Scunthorpe Scorpions to the sword, courtesy of 56-34 score line.
However, the final margin of the win belied the quality of entertainment on offer and the contribution made by the visiting Scorpions after they weathered an opening salvo by their hosts that would have broken the spirit of many another team.
The Sussex side hit their opponents hard from the outset with four maximum 5-1s in the first six races, forging an early 28-8 lead; one that threatened to leave Scunthorpe reeling.
With that, it could be argued that the match was effectively over as a contest but the visitors refused to buckle further and in fact matched their hosts point for point in the nine heats leading up to the top scorers’ race.
That did not win them any tangible reward, of course, merely admirers insofar as they didn’t allow the Eagles to run up a cricket score.
In the lead up to the fixture, due to the injury ravaged nature of the Scorpions make up, missing the likes of polished performers Jake Allen and Jason Garrity, the pre-meeting pundits predicted a score in the region of the high 60s for the Eagles and indeed some suggested they might even hit 70.
With maximum wins in each of the first three races that theory might have seemed set to be borne out.
However, once they became more familiar with their surroundings, and a circuit that Scunthorpe, as a club, hadn’t visited for some 41-years, they started to hit back at their hosts, even landing a couple of 5-1s of their own (in heats twelve and fourteen).
The Eagles, for whom heat leader trio, skipper and paid maximum man Edward Kennett, Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr (aside from a break down in his final outing) appeared particular impressive, possessed an air of resilience, pretty much down the order.
Scunthorpe, for their part, were well served by Sheffield’s Broc Nicol as a guest while Stefan Nielsen and Mr Entertainment himself, Danny Ayres each put in a shift to ensure in the final reckoning that they were not humbled.
Indeed, the visitors certainly didn’t get off to the best of starts, number one Josh Auty suffering mechanical gremlins in the opening race whilst Ayres suffered a lapse in concentration on the final lap that allowed Ben Morley to speed through on his inside and join partner Lawson (winning time 58.5) in an opening 5-1.
Heat two was frustrated by tapes malfunctions and false starts but when the riders finally made it past the first bend it was Georgie Wood who secured the win (winning time 58.7) with Alfie Bowtell in close attendance ahead of Ryan Kinsley and former Eagle Richard Andrews and suddenly the scoreline read 10-2 in favour of the host team.
It wasn’t about to get any better for the seemingly beleaguered Scorpions.
Following a further couple of call backs – with Nielsen and Kerr in turn receiving warnings for anticipating the start – it was the latter who took the chequered flag (winning time 58.7).
Kyle Newman was in hot pursuit ahead of Nielsen and Ayres and with that the Sussex squad were 12-points (15-3) to the good.
Nicol’s first appearance in heat four put an end to the run of Eastbourne maximums but although he was unable to catch the flying Kennett (winning time 58.2) he did at least see off Wood’s challenge, the Eagle in turn getting the better of Kinsley for a 4-2 and the lead now stood at 19-5.
Race five and following a further tape malfunction, Kerr and Newman again combined well to bring home the bacon and another 5-1 ahead of Auty and Nielsen (winning time 58.4) this one seeing the margin stretch to a commanding 18-points 24-6.
Lawson was again in tigerish mood in the sixth but again it was Nicol who contained the threat posed by Morley limiting the damage to 4-2 in a race that saw Andrews suffer a second lap fall (winning time 58.3).
Heat seven and once again Kennett reigned supreme (winning time 58.2) but Ayres and Neilsen did at least fill the minor places ahead of Bowtell, earning them their first share of the spoils of the contest.
Morley nipped sharply from the start to deny visiting number one Auty the win in heat eight (winning time 59.1) however, and in spite of a race-long effort Wood just wasn’t able to reel in his opponent and the race rested as a further 4-2, and a progressive 35-13 scoreline to the hosts.
The match was now beyond the mid-way stage but Eastbourne hopes of kicking on and running down the clock with a string of big heat advantages were destined to be frustrated as the Scorpions effectively started to match them blow for blow.
Nicol registered their first heat victory (winning time 59.3) in the ninth for a share of the points ahead of both the hard chasing Kerr and Newman.
Nielsen then split race winner Lawson and Morley in race ten (winning time 58.9) to restrict Eastbourne to a 4-2, one that saw their overall lead move to 42-18.
By now the match points were well and truly in the bag for the Sussex side, but the Scorpions still had their pride to race for.
Kennett duly made it three wins out of three in the eleventh (winning time 58.5) but Nicol and Auty combined to contain Bowtell and the margin remained at 24-points (45-21).
Then came the moment that the visiting supporters had long craved as Nicol (taking the tactical substitute ride) combined with Ayres to deny both Newman and Wood (winning time 59.3) and suddenly the Scorpions had a 5-1 of their own to celebrate.
Nicol then had the audacity to lower the colours of Lawson in heat 13 though he was unable to match the speed of Kennett, the home skipper winning in a time of 58.4 for the 4-2 that saw Eagles finally hit the half century mark, the score now standing at 50-28.
Still time for the Scorpions to go out with some pride still intact however and this they duly did as Nielsen and Kinsley secured a further 5-1 in the penultimate race ahead of Bowtell (winning time 59.4), their second maximum in the space of three races.
The result was made somewhat more manageable as Kerr didn’t make it as far as the first turn having suffered mechanical gremlins.
It would be the Eagles who were set to finish with a flourish however and Kennett and Lawson combined impeccably in the final race of the night, the pair powering from the start to see the home number one gain a measure of revenge of Nicol (winning time 59.7) while the Eagles skipper would complete a glorious paid maximum, the pair securing a closing 5-1 to set the final margin at 22-points and the closing score line at 56-34.
Eagles: Edward Kennett 14+1(5), Richard Lawson 13(5), Lewis Kerr 8(4), Georgie Wood 5(4), Kyle Newman 6+3(4), Ben Morley 7+1(4), Alfie Bowtell 3+1(4). – 56
Scorpions: Broc Nichol 15(7), Stefan Nielsen 7+1(5), Danny Ayres 5+1(6), Josh Auty 4+1(5), Ryan Kinsley 3+1(4), Richard Andrews 0(3), Rider Replacement for Jake Allen. – 34
Images: Mike Hinves