MATCH DAY UPDATE: Eagles v Tigers

The Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles take on the Sheffield Tigers at Arlington Stadium, just outside Hailsham, at 7.30pm tonight (Saturday, August 31).

Championship league points are up for grabs with the South Yorkshire desperate for a win to fuel their hopes of a top four finish and a place in the end-of-season Play Offs to decide the title.

Team news: Eastbourne are without Georgie Wood who is serving a 28-day ban for missing matches for the Isle of Wight. 

Alfie Bowtell is unfit after his crash at Newcastle. However, he reported last night: “Got some good news today, no op needed on my knee, the knee cap looks all good; a small fracture on the top of the tibia and some stretched ligaments/tendons but all should heal nicely, another week of resting it then start physio.”

The rider replacement rule will be used to cover Wood’s four programmed rides, Charlie Brooks comes in at reserve as cover for Bowtell, with Jamie Bursill named at No 8.

Sheffield: Danny King, Josh MacDonald, Justin Sedgmen, Todd Kurtz, Kyle Howarth, Zaine Kennedy, Broc Nicol. 

Traffic: No major problems reported on main routes to Arlington Stadium.

Reminder: Due to internet issues, there may be problems with getting the debit/credit card readers.

As a result, please bring an alternative cash option for payment with you.

Kevin Ling runs the rule over Sheffield and tonight’s meeting.

Sussex Speedway squad Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles face another test as they welcome the Sheffield Tigers to Arlington stadium tonight(7.30 pm start time).

Still breathless no doubt following a titanic encounter against the Redcar Bears at the venue seven days ago, the Eagles are set to go head-to-head with another team who have Play Off glory in their sights.

Following Redcar’s defeat of the Somerset Rebels on Friday night, Sheffield know that victory in Sussex will move them ever closer to the top four where they will looking to join certain qualifiers Leicester as well as Glasgow who appear the strongest of the ‘probables’.

Edward Kennett leading Broc Nicol when the American guested at Arlington for Scunthorpe

The chasing pack is occupied by the Bears and the Rebels, as well as Sheffield. Although the former two have points in the bank and some daylight between them and the Tigers, what the Owlerton outfit possess is matches in hand over each of their nearest rivals.

They will be only too aware that a strong victory at Arlington would propel them right back into the mix while a defeat could effectively put paid to their chances.

With that in mind, it is certain to be a rampant ambush of Tigers that will head South with claws sharpened and ready to do battle.

With former British Champion Danny King heading their offensive and experienced duo Kyle Howarth and Justin Sedemen occupying heat leader berths a simple scan down the line up will reveal that they are more than capable of carving out a result.

Todd Kurtz outside Kyle Newman earlier in the season at Arlington

Todd Kurtz, Josh MacDonald and Zaine Kennedy add further steel to the Sheffield make up however they will travel with added confidence in the knowledge that they possess a potential match winner in the number seven berth of the side.

Not so much a Tiger on their tail, more a Tiger in their tail, American Broc Nicol is newly returned to the side following injury, it is he who will occupy the second reserve berth and it is he that they will undoubtedly see as their talisman or indeed the vital component that they feel could well steer them to victory.

The middle of June saw the visit of a short-handed Scunthorpe Scorpions to Arlington, a side that numbered guest Broc Nicol within their ranks.

On the face of things it appeared a fairly routine victory for the Sussex side but the match was made special by the performance of the American who returned a superb 15-points from his seven outings.

With the exception of Edward Kennett, Nicol had the beating of all of the Eagles that day, which included the high profile scalps of both Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr. 

With memories of that impressive show still prevalent one can only imagine what the Tigers could achieve with them being able to slot the American in at any point to take the place of a team mate who maybe isn’t faring so well.

Eastbourne will take that on board but refuse to be fazed however.

It has been something of a troubled week for them with a 28 day ban being imposed on Georgie Wood, so often a tall scorer for them at home, for non-appearances for his National Development League club Isle of Wight.

Kyle Howarth heads Edward Kennett

The suspension also means that he is unable to ride for his senior league club Eastbourne and with the timing as unfortunate as it could possibly be, coinciding with the date after which the club cannot make changes to the line-up it leaves the Eagles with something of a predicament.

Add to that the change that they attempted to make, namely the introduction of Danyon Hume to the reserve berth to replace the sidelined by injury Alfie Bowtell, with that move having seemingly been refused by the sports authorities there is little wonder that the Sussex battlers feel that they are being forced to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.

But fight they will and with the spirit they possess within the club they will be determined to overcome. Whatever happens to it looks set to prove another absorbing match up at Arlington and one not to be missed.         

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

Eagles: Charlie Brooks (Guest for Alfie Bowtell), Jason Edwards, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Kyle Newman, (Rider Replacement for) Georgie Wood.

Tigers : Kyle Howarth, Zaine Kennedy, Danny King, Todd Kurtz, Josh MacDonald, Broc Nicol, Justin Sedgmen.

Images: Tiffani Graveling Photography and Mike Hinves