Brummies 37, Eagles 53

The Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles have qualified for the semi-finals of the Championship Shield.

A convincing win tonight at Birmingham means they have topped the southern group.

Eagles: Edward Kennett 13+1 (5), Lewi Kerr 12+1 (5), |Richard Lawson 9+1 (4), Tom Brennan 9 (5), Ben Morley 5+1 (4), Alfie Bowtell 4+2 (4), Georgie Wood 1(3) – 53

Brummies Ulrich Ostergaard 10 (5), James Shanes 8+1 (5,) Zach Wajtknecht 7 (5), Ashley Morris 4+1 (4), Kyle Newman 4 (5), Tobias Thomsen 2+1 (3), Paco Castagna 2 (3) – 37.

Trevor Geer- delighted

Co-promoter Trevor Geer said: “I thought we would come here and get a win but I didn’t expect to do it like that.

“It was great to see all our riders scoring, just like they did at Somerset. It was a good all-round performance.

“We have qualified for the semi-finals of the Shield just weeks into our return to professional speedway and we and our supporters have to be delighted with that.

“Somerset were the out-and-out favourites for this group. Nobody expected us to go through but we have done it.”

Here’s how we previewed the meeting and how our heat-by-heat coverage unfolded.

A semi-final place beckons for the Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles IF they can beat Birmingham tonight.

Our reporter Kevin Ling is already inside the Brummies Perry Bar stadium and will be reporting live tonight on this website. He reports the weather is a bit overcast, chilly but the track is being watered ahead of the action getting under way at 7.30pm.

We will bring you the match heat-by-heat as the action unfolds.

If the Eagles win, they are through to the semi-finals of the Championship Shield.

Any other result will rely on them hoping to be “best of the rest” for the final place in the semis.

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Birmingham: Ulrich Ostergaard, Tobias Thomsen, Zach Wajtknecht, Ashley Morris, Kyle Newman, Pato Castagna, James Shanes.

Eastbourne: Edward Kennett, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell, Lewi Kerr, Richard Lawson, Georgie Wood, Tom Brennan.

The teams are confirmed.

Referee: Darren Hartley.

7.25pm: Riders coming out on parade. Birmingham win toss and will be off 2 and 4 in heat one. Brummies have choice of gates in heat 15.

Heat 1: Dream start for Eagles – Ben traps and hits the front – Eddie barely a tyre width behind. They lead out of turn 2 with Thomsen in pursuit – Ulrich soon moves past his team mate but there was to be no catching the team -riding Eagles – Morley wins in 61.69 with Ed close at hand 1-5, 61.69.

Ben Morley

2: Georgie rears at the start but Tom swoops around the pack to lead down the back straight. Try though Castagna might, he couldn’t catch Tom who wins in style – Wood chasing Shanes all the way but to no avail 3-3,  4-8, 61.90

A fan’s view of heat one, via Facebook

3: BOOM. The Eagles in the ascendency – Lewi and Alfie gate as one and lead from the off. Wajtknecht and Morris  were hot on their tails but Alfie holds firm in second behind Kerr, 1-5, 5-13, time 60.97

4: Another moment for the Eagles to celebrate as they increase their lead once again – Lawson gates and momentarily holds the 5-1 with Tom. Newman makes his move down the back straight but Richard cuts off his run – Newman makes his way past Tom around the outside on the approach to lap two but he can’t get on terms with the flying Lawson. Tom holds off Shanes throughout – great race; Shanes locks up on final turn 2-4, 7-17, time 61.53

NEXT ARLINGTON ACTION: Sunday, May 5 when the Fineprint Eagles face Leicester in Championship action, 3.30pm.

5: Edward at a canter, increasing his lead with every turn of the wheel. This time Morley was unable to make up for a ragged gate and trailed Wajtknecht and Morris throughout. The Brummies banked the minor places for a share of the spoils. Five heat winners out of five for the Eagles.  Edward winning in 60.05 fastest so far; 3-3, 10-20

Edward Kennett

6: Make that six out of six as Lawson gates to lead throughout –  Ulrich pressures him early on but can’t make it stick. A great ride from Georgie to fend off Thomsen – switching his line mid race as the Dane was making his presence felt round the outside, 2-4 12-24, 61.26

From Facebook

7: It’s all going eagles way as Lewi and Alfie again hit the front – that is how it remains with Brummies looking ever so slightly punch drunk. Kerr wins by the proverbial with Bowtell following on ahead of Newman and Castagna in turn, 1-5 13-29, time 60.29

Alfie Bowtell

8: Castagna in red in place of Thomsen. Shanes finally breaks the Brummies duck taking the win in heat 8. Tom was the meat in a Birmingham sandwich as they went round the first two bends but it was the Eagle who nosed ahead down the back straight. Ben passed Castagna into third and the Fineprint Eagles looked good for the 4-2. However, Shanes rides a good race to take over at the front on the second lap, 3-3, 16-32, 61.99

NEXT ARLINGTON ACTION: Sunday, May 5 when the Fineprint Eagles face Leicester in Championship action, 3.30pm.

9: Is this the start of a Brummies fightback? Morris takes the chequered flag in heat 9 – they led the early running in the 5-1 position but Lawson forced his way past Wajtknecht at the tail end of lap two – Georgie was never far from the action but it remains a 4-2 to the hosts, 20-34 time, 60.80

Richard Lawson

10: Brummies on a roll; currently hinting at something of a turnaround – Ulrich and Thomsen gate in 1 and 2 and that is how it stays, the hosts taking the 5-1 from the chasing Kerr and Bowtell 5-1 25–35 time 61.29

11: Shanes in for Castagna. Eagles steady the ship as Edward Kennett takes another flying win – it’s elbow to elbow with Newman into the first bend, our captain gets the better of the exchange, pushing his opponent wide and allowing Morley to feature too – Newman goes to the back and Shanes passes Morley to go second but he can’t make any ground on the flying Kennett 2-4, 27-39, time 60.42. Interval now.

Lewi Kerr

12: Newman as a tac sub in place of Shanes and Tom Brennan in for Georgie Wood. Wajtknecht gates to lead Tom with Alfie holding onto third place in the early part – Newman piles on the pressure on the inside heading past Bowtell and nipping at Tom’s heels. Brennan withstands it brilliantly, however, and holds off the Brummies tac sub. Zach continues for the win and it is a home 4-2, 31-41 time 61.32

Tom Brennan at the U-21 Final at Berwick where he finished fourth

NEXT ARLINGTON ACTION: Sunday, May 5 when the Fineprint Eagles face Leicester in Championship action, 3.30pm.

13: And that was the one we wanted. Although Ulrich gates to take the win, Kennett and Lawson tuck in neatly behind him with Newman never looking set to land a blow, 3-3 , 34-44, time 61.05 Eagles only needing a finisher in the last two races now to be sure of going through to the semi-finals.

14: Shanes replaces Castagna. And they wrap it up in style as Lewi banks his third win in four heading Shanes to the chequered flag – Tom rides a controlled and sensible race to stay third in the process claiming the impressive scalp of Morris, 2-4, 36-48 time 60.99

15: Ostergaard (r), Wajtknecht (b), Kerr (w) Kennett (y). Eagles on 1 and 3. Eagles finish just as they’d started. Another 5-1 to close the show in fine style – Edward wrapping up a brilliant performance with Lewi close at hand – Ulrich third but could make no impression – Wajtknecht pulling up towards the end; 1-5, 37-53, time 60.50

NEXT ARLINGTON ACTION: Sunday, May 5 when the Fineprint Eagles face Leicester in Championship action, 3.30pm. Come along for this bank holiday Sunday cracker and cheer the lads who won at Birmingham and secured our place in the Chanmionship Shield semi-finals.

Image credits: Mike Hinves & Tiffani Graveling Photography with our photograph from Berwick by Taylor Lanning.