Shield Final – Essential Match Day Guide

Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Leicester Lions at Arlington Stadium. Racing from 7.30pm. Gates open at 5.45pm.

It’s the Championship Shield Final, first leg – the Eagles’ biggest match of the season.

Meeting sponsors: Sykes Harley-Davidson and The Holly Blue pub and carver.

Weather: Summer’s back but it may turn a tad chilly as the evening goes on.

Traffic: Temporary roadworks on A271 at Upper Horsebridge for gas works. No serious delays have been reported.

Payment: Please bring cash if you can, or at least a cash alternative. There have been improvements in the 4G/3G signal in the stadium vicinity but it can still cause problems and drop out without warning. Please have cash available to pay if the card readers go down. Cash machines are at nearby petrol stations or within Hailsham and Polegate town centres.

Team News: No changes have been notified.

Before the meeting: The meeting is sponsored by Sykes Harley-Davidson, just north of the track on the A22 at Holmes Hill, and the Marstons pub and carvery, The Holly Blue, between Stone Cross and Hailsham.

There are vouchers from The Holly Blue for the first 1,000 customers through the turnstiles on Saturday night (gates open 5.45pm) and Sykes Harley-Davidson are putting on an exhibition of some fabulous road bikes. They will be located near the pits.

You can read more details of what is planned here

As usual, the pits will be open until about 45 minutes before the start of racing (around 6.45pm) for fans to see and talk to the riders, look at the bikes, get photographs and autographs.

Some special guests are also being lined up to help make it another great Arlington occasion.

Usual admission prices apply, although there are discounts for supporters who have collected the admission tickets from the last three meetings (Redcar KOC, Sheffield and Redcar league). 

These arrangements as part of the September Sizzler offer are detailed here.

£10 admission for Eastbourne fans at Leicester 

Forms will be placed on Saturday in the Eastbourne turnstile entrance hall and the track shop (upper tier of the grandstand) for anyone wishing to complete a simple Name and Address List. That list will be sent to Leicester Speedway at 9am on Sunday Morning.

Anyone on the list can gain access at Leicester for £10 subject to having Photo ID showing name and address. Otherwise FULL Admission will be charged at Leicester.

This applies to away fans only who are Eastbourne Eagles supporters and who attend the match on Saturday evening and complete the forms. 

In fairness to both clubs there will be no exceptions to this process allowed.  

The Kevin Ling preview of the biggest match of the season.

The latest in a long line of Red Letter Days comes to pass at Arlington Stadium tonight (7.30 p.m. start time) as Sussex speedway squad the Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles host the first leg of the Championship Shield Final against section table toppers and Play Off favourites, the Leicester Lions.

With the return leg due less than 24 later at the Midland outfit’s Paul Chapman & Sons Arena (5pm start time), this offers the Sussex side a realistic chance of silverware from their first season at Championship level but they know they will likely start as underdogs against the team hotly tipped to wrest this season’s Championship title.

That is a role that the Eagles will no doubt relish.

Of course they have enjoyed several league successes throughout their 90 years of operation but the Eastbourne brand has largely been forged and is often associated with their Cup fighting qualities, often in the face of adversity.

Last week they suffered disappointment on that front following their Knockout Cup exit at the semi-final stage at the hands of the Redcar Bears.

That is understandably a moment that they will be looking to put behind them, erase from the memory banks and come out fighting all the stronger for the experience.

They are certainly in for the toughest of tests as the quality of the Leicester line up leaves no doubt in the mind as to the validity of their lofty league position.

Scott Nicholls

In former Eagle and multi-British Champion Scott Nicholls they have one of, if not the finest and most experienced campaigners that the section has to offer.

Their pedigree doesn’t start to lessen thereafter, however, as Nicholls is ably backed by Ryan Douglas who has not only proved a top line performer throughout the season for his regular club but on Monday of this week posted a spectacular 18-point performance on behalf of the Peterborough Panthers at Premiership level.

Richard Lawson and Josh Pickering

In Josh Pickering they have a guest (replacing Richie Worrall) who has already helped them to one victory at Arlington this season; his 11-point return augmented their 45-44 success at the venue back in early May.

Ty Proctor is another who is capable of beating the very best on his day and with Ellis Perks, another former Eagle and for many one of the most improved riders, in all three leagues this season, and quality reserve duo Connor Mountain and Joe Lawlor gracing the reserve berth they certainly vaunt a septet who will not fear any opposition.

Eastbourne will certainly be looking to give a fine account of themselves however.

Rory Schlein fills in for Edward Kennett tonight

Rory Schlein steps into the line up as a guest replacement for Edward Kennett (away representing England in a team World Long Track meeting) at number one.

Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr, Kyle Newman and Jason Edwards take up their usual berths while Plymouth’s Nathan Stoneman takes the second reserve berth as cover for the injured Alfie Bowtell while his Devon team mate, the ever popular Richard Andrews fills in at number eight.

So far this season it might be considered honours even between the Lions and the Eagles.

Leicester enjoyed home and away success in the league encounters but the Sussex men did at least end their Midland rival’s interests in the Knockout Cup.

It should be noted however that the Lions were forced to track a weakened team in the Arlington leg which undoubtedly had an affect but then you can only race the team that is placed in front of you.

On Saturday the two teams start at level pegging with the Championship Shield being the prize on offer.

The weather is set fair and the action is sure to be fast and furious so the management will be looking to welcome a substantial attendance to cheer their favourites on to build a lead sufficient to take with them to the Midlands the following afternoon.         

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

Eagles: Richard Andrews (Number 8), Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Kyle Newman, Rory Schlein (Guest for Edward Kennett), Nathan Stoneman (Guest for Alfie Bowtell), (Rider Replacement for) Georgie Wood.

Lions: Ryan Douglas, Connor Mountain, John Lawlor, Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Josh Pickering (Guest for Richie Worrall), Ty Proctor.

Images: Tiffani Graveling Photography and Mike Hinves