Eastbourne Eagles begin new quest to keep ‘crown’
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Start time: 3pm, gates open 1pm.
Weather forecast: Warm and sunny
Traffic: No major roadworks on main routes to Arlington Stadium. Traffic could be heavy on Good Friday, especially with large numbers of people heading to the coast in the sunny weather
Fineprint Eagles v Birmingham in the KO Cup
Teams: No changes
Card payments: see important notice at the end of this story
It’s Eastbourne v Birmingham tomorrow afternoon at Arlington Stadium. Here’s Kevin Ling’s preview of the big match.
The two-wheeled action switches to Good Friday as the Birmingham Brummies make a swift return to Arlington Stadium tomorrow (April 19).
The Perry Barr-outfit head to Sussex to do battle with the Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles on Knockout Cup business, – 3pm start.
With every point counting as the first round, first leg tie takes place over two legs, the Brummies will look to build on the knowledge garnered from their Championship Shield clash a couple of weeks ago.
On that occasion, they gave a good account of themselves before slipping to a 52-38 defeat in the latter stages when home dominance came to bear.
The Eagles will surely go into the encounter in confident mood as since then they have handed out a considerable beating to the Somerset Rebels, the Oak Tree Arena outfit suffering a stinging 63-27 reverse in Sussex just six days ago.
A subsequent result in mid-week has since unveiled fluctuating fortunes for each of Eastbourne’s two recent opponents.
Wednesday evening saw the Rebels, minus the presence of Chris Harris, perform something of a smash and grab victory at Perry Barr, two late 5-1s seeing them snatch a 46-44 triumph from under the Brummies very noses in their Wednesday night Championship Shield clash.
That’s a result that could have a profound effect on Eagles own chances of progression in that competition.
Birmingham will of course want to ‘bounce back’ from that reverse and armed with the experience of their recent trip to the South Coast they will be looking to enjoy better fortunes in the Knockout Cup.
Traditionally, however, the Eagles very much regard themselves as a Cup side being able to vaunt a proud record of success in all three levels of competition in which they have competed.
Four wins in the senior section, no fewer than six in the middle tier, still a record at that level ,and most recently a powerful sequence of four straight victories between 2015 and 2018 during their tenure in the National League.
Bizarrely, one has to trawl back through the records as far as season 2011 to witness the last time the Sussex club were defeated in Cup competition, a semi-final reverse at the hands of South Coast rivals and eventual winners Poole Pirates.
That can be tempered slightly with the knowledge that Eastbourne chose not to contest the tournament in 2012 and then the BSPA opted not to run it in seasons 2013-14, nevertheless what has transpired since must still mark their record down as wholly impressive.
Needless to say, the new era Eagles will be looking to continue with that proud tradition as the club continue to tread the newly embarked road of their Championship challenge.
Eastbourne and Birmingham have ‘history’ when it comes to the Knockout Cup. The Brummies, already tipped for top honours at the time, were the first Cup opposition that the Eagles faced after making the drop to National League level.
A titanic two legged encounter saw the Sussex men emerge triumphant by a 6-point margin and so began their record breaking run.
Historically it was the Brummies who registered a Knockout Cup Final success over their Eastbourne rivals as far back as 1974, the Eagles gaining a measure of revenge some 42 years later as the National League side saw off the Brummies in the last two in 2016.
Hopes are high that the sun will shine and that once again Arlington will have a substantial turnout as another chapter is set to be scripted this weekend.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Tom Brennan, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Georgie Wood.
Brummies: Paco Castagna, Ashley Morris, Kyle Newman, Ulrich Ostergaard, James Shanes, Tobias Thomsen, Zach Wajtknecht.
Credit and debit card payments
Please be advised that we encountered problems with our debit/credit card reader machines at the last meeting linked to 4G problems in the area that are completely outside of our control.
We are waiting for a hard-wire solution, but would advise all supporters that it may be prudent to have a cash payment option in case of further problems.
Our equipment works perfectly and is state-of-the-art, but when 3G/4G signals drop out due to transmitter issues, and are exacerbated by our remote location, we have absolutely no control or ability to fix, and do not wish to upset anyone who only has a card payment option in that eventuality.
Image credits: Mike Hinves & Tiffani Graveling Photography