Rebels 54, Eagles 36

Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles have gone down 54-36 tonight at the Oak Tree Arena against the Somerset Rebels.

The home team were in charge throughout the match.

So far this season away from home the Eagles had collapsed in the last three heats. This time our reporter Kevin Ling points out: Bizarre twist of fortune. We smashed the hoodoo of the final three heats, drawing 9-9 in heats 13, 14 and 15 tonight. It was the first 12 races that needed work 


Eagles: Edward Kennett 11+1 (5), Richard Lawson 11 (6), Lewi Kerr 5+1 (4), Ben Morley 4+1 (4), Georgie Wood 3 (3), Connor Coles 2+1 (4), Alfie Bowtell 0 (4) – 36

Rebels: Chris Harris 14 (5), Nico Covatti 10 (5), Todd Kurtz 9 (4), Valentin Grobauer 8 (4), Rory Schlein 6+2 (4), Anders Rowe 6+1 (6), Henry Atkins 1+1 (2) – 54

Here is how the match unfolded on our live blog.

Eastbourne are back at the Somerset Rebels’ track this evening (May 22) in a bid to get league points on the board for the first time this season.

The Fineprint Eagles have brought in Connor Coles for Tom Brennan, who broke his leg last Saturday.

Our reporter Kevin Ling is at the Oak Tree Arena, Highbridge, to bring you heat-by-heat details of the match, plus insights from trackside.

It’s a perfect evening for speedway in Somerset. The weather is sunny and warm with a cooling breeze. It will probably be chilly when the sun goes down.

A view of the Oak Tree Arena
And looking at the track from the other direction

Teams from the programme:

Somerset: Rory Schlein, Todd Kurtz, Valentin Grobauer, Nico Covatti, Chris Harris (captain), Anders Rowe, Henry Atkins.

Eastbourne: Edward Kennett (captain), Alfie Bowtell, Lewi Kerr, Ben Morley, Richard Lawson, Georgie Wood, Connor Coles (guest).

The Eastbourne team management have swapped Alfie Bowtell and Ben Morley around for this meeting. In addition Lewi Kerr has switched to No 3.

Tonight’s programme front cover
The Eagles out inspecting the track at the Oak Tree Arena

Earlier this season, Eastbourne went to Somerset and after 12 heats were in the mix. However, three 5-1s to the Rebels in the last three heats scuppered their hopes.

NEXT MEETING AT ARLINGTON: Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick on Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm.

Riders on parade before the start of the meeting

Teams confirmed. Remember to refresh the page to get the latest updates.

Heat 1: Eagles are on gates 1 and 3. Fine gate from Kurtz who leads into the first turn closely followed by Alfie with Schlein third. Edward cuts inside him out of turn 2 and then passes Bowtell and Kurtz in quick succession to take the lead – Schlein follows on into third, passing Alfie, but it is a brilliant win for Edward who just kept going away from them – Kurtz second from Schlein in third 3-3, Time 56.75

Heat 2: Fast start from Georgie who romps into early lead ahead of Rowe – Eagles hold 4-2 in the early part but Atkins slips swiftly past Coles into third – that’s how it stays with Wood withstanding pressure from Rowe throughout, 3-3, 6-6, time 57.06

Heat 3: Another fine race, one that looked set to go Eagles way but eventually settled as a 4-2 to the hosts – Lewi leads from Covatti with Ben holding off Grobauer. However, it was not set to remain that way, unfortunately, as Covatti forced his way through on Kerr’s inside, 3rd bend second lap – then Grobauer performed a similar feat cutting through on Ben’s inside down the back straight of lap three – 4-2 10-8 time 56.94

Heat 4: Stopped in the interests of safety following a fall and subsequent disqualification for Henry Atkins. The Eagles were holding a 5-1 round first two bends with Lawson and Coles leading Harris who swiftly made his way past Coles but, at almost at the same point, Atkins finds something on the track he doesn’t agree with and duly slams into second turn air fence. Thankfully, he’s soon up and walking back to the pits.

Ten-minute delay now expected for the paramedic to examine Atkins. Henry Atkins has now withdrawn from meeting, suffering shoulder injury and is heading to hospital for precautionary X-rays. We wish the lad well.

Re-run: This time Harris got his gating gloves on and is sharpest from the start. Once out there was very little doubt which way the race was going and he leads throughout from Richard with Connor Coles back in third, 3-3, 13-11, time 56.38

NEXT MEETING AT ARLINGTON: Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick on Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm.

Heat 5: Another delay. Paramedic going back to the medical room to further check Atkins. It had been announced that Henry was heading to hospital.

Race is now at tapes. This time it’s Grobauer who hits the front having made a fine gate. Edward takes the wide line and gives it his all for four laps but he’s unable to catch the home rider. Covatti holds a comfortable third from Alfie but as he crosses the finish line his bike coughs and dies, requiring it to be pushed back to the pits, 4-2, 17-13, time 56.28

Heat 6: Schlein back to his winning ways with a gate to flag win over Richard – Kurtz holds third from Georgie who keeps him honest but he suffers a fall on the final bend of lap three. Georgie up and OK, pushing straight back into the pits but 4-2 goes the way of the Rebels, 21-15 ,time 56.06 – fastest so far

Heat 7: Another fine start from Lewi who leads from Harris; Ben holding third from Rowe. The second lap sees Harris pick up speed and he flies through on the Eagle’s inside heading into turn three – Lewi continues to give good chase but Harris not destined to be caught though it was close at the end – Ben comfortable ahead of Rowe, 3-3, 24-18, time 56.25

Heat 8: Rowe for Atkins. Kurtz posts a gate to flag effort – he leads initially from Coles with Rowe ahead of Bowtell who’s giving it his all around the outside. It was not one destined to go the Eagles way as Rowe slipped through on Coles’ inside heading into third lap – that is how it stayed – first 5-1 of the night goes the way of the Rebels, 29-19, time 58.06

NEXT MEETING AT ARLINGTON: Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick on Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm.

Heat 9: This time it’s Covatti’s turn for the gating gloves as he flies out of the start. He leads Richard for the full four laps with Grobauer back in third for the 4-2. Wood was not far from the action at the back but suddenly looks down at his bike and heads straight back into the pits at the tail end of lap two, 4-2, 33-21, time 56.97

Night falling at the Oak Tree Arena

Heat 10: The Rebels are making home knowledge pay now as match slips further away from Eagles. Kurtz caps an impressive performance with another flying win – Schlein hit difficulties on first turn allowing Morley and Kerr through but Schlein swooped back around the outside heading into turn three – another 5-1 to the hosts – Lewi pulling up with machinery problems on the second lap, 5-1, 38-22 Time 58.12

Heat 11: For a moment it appeared that Edward had the measure of Harris but once again the former Cardiff GP winner emerged clear on the run down the back straight to secure a third successive heat victory – behind them a good scrap was unfolding between Bowtell and Rowe – one that seemed set to go the Eagles’ way but one that eventually saw the Rebels’ youngster come through for third heading into lap three, 4-2, 42-24, time 57.01

Heat 12: Rowe replaces Atkins. Lawson tactical substitute in place of Wood. A brilliant race – Lawson determined in taking the lead he holds first place from Grobauer with Kerr close at hand. The lead pair pass and repass but to the regret of the travelling Eagles’ fans it was Grobauer who emerged victorious at the close. He should really be applauded at the way he fended Richard off in the latter part of the race – a noble effort indeed, 3-3, 45-27, Time 56.93

NEXT MEETING AT ARLINGTON: Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick on Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm.

Heat 13: Another great race – and wait for it – one that finally went the way of the eagles – Kennett determined out of the start and that’s where he stayed – Harris and Schlein holding second and third but Lawson swoops through on Schlein’s inside entering lap two – Schlein pulls up on the final lap apparently with machinery problems – finally a heat advantage goes eagles way a 4-2 and one at the expense of the Rebels’ lead duo 2-4 47-31 time 56.93

Heat 14: Ben hits the front into the first turn courtesy of a fast start but Covatti swoops around the outside and powers away for a convincing win – with Rowe getting the better of Coles the 4-2 goes back the way of the Rebels who now lead 51-33 time 57.75

Heat 15: Harris (r) Covatti (b) Lawson (w) Kennett (y) – Rebels select gates 2 and 4. Harris closes the show with his fourth win of the night – Eagles duo of Lawson and Kennett hold firm in second and third fending off Covatti who pulls out of the race on the third lap, 3-3 54-36 time 57.16

Somerset’s victory parade

NEXT MEETING AT ARLINGTON: Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick on Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm.

Image credit: Mick Hinves and Kevin Ling