Kerr is fit to ride

Injured Eastbourne speedway ace Lewi Kerr has been declared fit to ride in Saturday’s fixture (June 8) at Arlington Stadium.

His fitness had been in doubt after a shoulder injury flared up in midweek.

Kerr was injured a fortnight ago in a crash with Kevin Doolan in the match against Berwick.

He was taken to hospital but returned to racing, only to suffer a further reaction this week.

Kerr, who lives in West Norfolk, woke up on Thursday morning and couldn’t move his shoulder.

“I’ve got some aggravated nerves from my crash at Eastbourne. I can barely lift and knife and fork,” he said.

However, Eastbourne joint team manager, Will Pottinger, confirmed Kerr will ride in the Championship league match against The Newcastle Diamonds, which gets under way at 7.30pm.

Saturday morning update

Weather: Improving. No worries about tonight’s meeting

Team News: No changes notified

Traffic: No significant roadworks to delay your journey

The Kevin Ling preview

Old acquaintances are set to be renewed and transformed into the modern era once again at Arlington stadium tonight as the Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles prepare to go head to head with great rivals from both a bygone and potentially forthcoming era, the Newcastle Diamonds.

The action is set to unfold on Saturday evening with the usual 7.30 pm start time.

The visiting Diamonds sent shockwaves through the Sussex venue on their very first visit just short of 44 years ago.

A June afternoon in 1975 heralded their initial arrival and a routine home victory was widely anticipated with the Byker club newly entered into the New National League.

What followed however was barely a consideration for the Sussex patrons as the Diamonds not only came and saw, they also had the audacity to conquer.

Their 40-37 victory effectively left Arlington reeling and were that not bad enough, they returned some 12 months later and did it again (this time 40-38) as the Geordie outfit established themselves as one of the leading teams of the time.

Since then, the Eagles and the Diamonds have shared some ten home and away engagements.

Edward Kennett, who now has a place in the Premiership with Ipswich

Of those 20 meetings, the Sussex side have come out on top on 12 occasions and Newcastle the other eight.

With their most recent visit having been almost 30 years ago, the Diamonds will undoubtedly be looking to make a similar impact as they arrive in Sussex in the modern era as they did all those years ago.

Indeed the world of Championship competition is still very much a learning curve for the Eagles and the outcome of any match is not easily predicted.

Of course, the hosts will reflect on their most recent Arlington outing, a comprehensive 40-point beating of the Berwick Bandits and hope to continue in the same vein but of course nothing can be guaranteed.

Newcastle themselves suffered a somewhat shaky start to the campaign with back to back home defeats against near neighbours Redcar as well as the Bandits.

They rallied with a taming of the Sheffield Tigers at Brough Park but have since, much like Eastbourne did, suffered home reverses in consecutive weeks against league high flyers Glasgow and Leicester.

Thus far the Diamonds have yet to get off the mark away from home but in recent outings they have seemingly turned a corner with an evident upturn in fortunes.

The early weeks of the season witnessed Championship defeats both home and away by the Bandits of Berwick which no doubt set alarm bells ringing but more recently a strong performance at Shielfield Park coupled with an impressive home success saw the Diamonds end the Border sides interests in the 2019 Knockout Cup Competition, one measure at least of how far they have progressed since the start of the campaign.

The Newcastle offensive is headed up by Steve Worrall and Dane Lasse Bjerre, an impressive spearhead of proven performers not only at Championship but also at Premiership level and one that is sure to pose questions to the Eastbourne septet.

Fellow Dane Thomas Jorgensen is sure to provide strong support as third heat leader while the middle order of the side that contains Australian Matthew Wethers and Max Clegg also has a wholly resilient appearance.

The Diamonds reserve berth is made up of Danny Phillips and another Dane, recent recruit Jacob Bukhave.

Newcastle has of course introduced some of Denmark’s finest into British competition, former Eagles Nicki Pedersen, Bjarne Pedersen and Kenneth Bjerre contained within their high profile alumni. 

The club undoubtedly have similar high hopes for their latest crop of Danes and together as a team they will also be looking to cause a similar shock as they did at Arlington all those years ago as they make their first appearance in almost three decades.        

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Kyle Newman, Georgie Wood.

Diamonds: Lasse Bjerre, Jacob Bukhave, Max Clegg, Thomas Jorgensen, Danny Phillips, Matthew Wethers, Steve Worrall.

Image credit: Mike Hinves