Eastbourne and Mildenhall are set for a titanic battle tomorrow night (Saturday, October 13) to decide who will win this year’s National League KO Cup.
The final was left on a knife-edge after the Forman IT Eagles went down 52-38 in the first leg in Suffolk tonight.
The Sussex club fought a rearguard action after their hosts threatened to take a stranglehold on the tie in the early stages.
Eastbourne team boss Connor Dugard said: “It was tough going, which we expected, but the boys dug in and have given ourselves a chance of taking the cup for the fourth successive year.
It is going to be massive at Arlington on Saturday night and we will aim to hit them hard early on.
“This cup final could go right to the wire.”
Kevin Ling has been trackside tonight at West Row as the Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles have been battling the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the first leg of the KO Cup Final.
Here’s how he saw the action unfold.
Mildenhall win toss take 1 and 3
Mildenhall 1 Drew Kemp 2 r/r Danny Ayres 3 Josh Bailey 4 Jordan Jenkins 5 Ryan Kinsley 6 Matt marsonarson 7 Sam Bebee
Eagles: 1 Georgie Wood 2 Jason Edwards 3 Mark Baseby 4 Ethan Spiller 5 Tom Brennan 6 Charley Powell 7 Charlie Brooks
Ht 1 Kemp gates – Eagles looking good for 3-3 but Kinsley goes round Jason mid race in good style for 3rd place and the 4-2
Ht 2 not looking good as Charley P. takes a tumble on the first turn – referee’;s decision is all four back but Charley takes an age to get to his feet – now being checked over
Been given the all clear and now rides in heat two
Ht 2 (re-run) Marson gates to take the win – Bebee brings West Row to life moving past Powell then Brooks in turn to secure the 5-1 – Brooks kept him honest but sadly to no avail, 5-1, 9-3 time 53.5
Ht 3 Baseby gates but Bailey fires round him on third turn to take win – Jenkins holds third from Spiller so another 4-2 to the Fen Tigers 13-5 progressively, time 51.5
Ht 4 Home side gate on 5-1 Kinsley leading from gate to flag – Tom quickly gets the better of Bebee for second – Brooks again gives it his all and challenges Bebee on final lap – looks to have to beating of him but slides off between bends 3 and 4; 4-2 17-7 time 52.7
Ht 5 A ray of light for Eagles as Wood produces a flying gate to get the better of Bailey – behind them Edwards maintained pressure on Jenkins but just couldn’t make it tell; 3-3 20-10 time 51.2
Jenkins takes r/r in heat six
Fen tigers further tighten their grip on the tie as Bailey and Kemp combine for maximum points in the sixth – gate to flag effort in which Tom gave good chase but couldn’t land a blow 5-1; 25-11 time 52.0
Ht 7 eagles looked set to hit back in the seventh as Baseby and Spiller hit the front in the 5-1 position – credit to Kinsley it has to be said who picked off first Spiller then the Eagles’ skipper in determined fashion to secure a share of the spoils; 3-3 28-14 time 52.6
Ht 8 Jason gets the drop on Kemp and for the first two laps and seems to have his measure -Kemp eases clear over the latter part however and with Bebee safe in third the resultant 4-2 increases the home lead to 32-16 time 51.5
Ht 9 Brennan hits the front but Bailey sweeps around him – Jenkins applies pressure but Tom holds fast in second – still the home lead moves to 18-points 36-18 and Eagles need to find a way back 4-2 36-18 heat 52.1
Jenkins in r/r in heat 10 – Baseby gets the drop and looks set to be the first rider to get the better of Kemp – it was not to be however as kemp blasted past heading into third lap – Jenkins held third from Ethan and so the lead increases to 20-points 40-20; 52.0
Ht 11 Wood produces another flying start to secure his second win – behind him Edwards produces another cracking effort but not quite enough to deny the tenacious Kinsley – nevertheless an Eastbourne 4-2 to cheer the travelling supporters – the gap reducing to 18 once more 42-24 time 52.0
Ht 11 Baseby hits the front and looking on course – Bailey slides off while trying to round him – rerun with 3 riders only. Rerun bebee makes the gate but Baseby round him down back straight – another visitors 4-2 with brooks picking up the third place point; 2-4, 44-28 53.4
Ht 13 Brennan finds the fast outside line to inflict Kemp’s first defeat of the night – Wood applying pressure throughout but had to withstand a late challenge from Kinsley; 2-4 46-32
Ht 14 Jenkins hit the front but Brooks and spiller both overcome Marson in turn to square the race 3-3; 49-35 53.3
Kemp r Bailey b Baseby w Brennan y – Eagles take 2 and 4
Brilliant win for Brennan who led Kemp and Bailey all the way 3-3; 52-38.
Fen Tigers: Drew Kemp 15+1 (6), Josh Bailey 12+1 (6), Ryan Kinsley 9 (5), Jordan Jenkins 7+1 (5), Sam Bebee 6+1 (4), Matt Marson 3 (4), Danny Ayres R/R.
Eastbourne: Tom Brennan 11 (5), Georgie Wood 9 (4), Mark Baseby 9 (5), Charlie Brooks 4 (5), Jason Edwards 3 (4), Ethan Spiller 2+2 (4), Charley Powell 0 (3).