Somerset 52 Eastbourne 38

A last three heats barrage from the Somerset Rebels saw them clinch a comfortable victory.

After 12 heats the Fineprint Eagles were just two points down at 37-35 but then the home side revved up and hit three maximum heat wins on the trot.

We a ran live blog from the meeting. Here is how things unfolded.

We are good to go at the Oak Tree Arena tonight where the Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles face the Somerset Rebels in the Championship Shield.

Our reporter Kevin Ling has arrived and is trackside.

He has mobile phone signal, so we will be running heat-by-heat coverage.

All the Eagles are in place. Racing is due from 7.30pm.

The weather is overcast, decidedly chilly but the track looks smooth but, says Kevin, could be on the grippy side. He doesn’t think it will rain.

Kevin Ling’s view of the Oak Tree Arena


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

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

As expected, Eastbourne have tweaked their riding order – switching Lewi Kerr and Alfie Bowtell around for this away match.

Just a reminder, please refresh this page to ensure you have the latest information.

Fineprint Eagles have won the toss and take 1 and 3 in first heat.

Heat 1: Not the start Eagles would have craved – fine gate from Kurtz who leads into the first bend from Schlein and Morley, with Kennett trailing – Schlein took Kurtz and Kennett made his way past Morley but that was pretty much how it stayed: opening 5-1 to the Rebels in a time of 58.56

2: Lighting gate from Georgie Wood sees Eagles strike back and he goes on take the win. Brennan was with him at the first turn but Rowe had his match moving into second. A good race ensued with Rowe pressuring Wood and Atkins not far from the action. The order didn’t change, however – the 4-2 going Eagles way for a progressive score line of 7-5 in favour of the hosts – time 58.88

Alfie Bowtell keeps Covatti at bay

3: Called back as Covatti goes through the tapes – he’s off 15metres in the restart with Gobauer now off gate 2 instead of 4 – Kerr and Bowtell lining up for Eagles. Re-run: Looked good as Kerr leads into first turn but Grobauer was polished blasting past down the back straight to take the win – Bowtell to be applauded for keeping the hard chasing Covatti at bay – banking a share of the spoils – 3-3, 10-8, time 58.13, the fastest time so far

4: Atkins made the gate but Lawson romped past on the run down the back straight – Harris figured briefly but didn’t hold a candle to Lawson. The Eagle won at a canter in a fast 57.81 from Atkins with Harris settling for third and Tom bringing up the rear: 3-3. Track grading between heats 4 and 5 – with the score at 13-11 in favour of the Rebels. Riders coming to tapes for race five.

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

Edward Kennett

5: Brilliant ride from Kennett blasting round the boards to snatch the win from Grobauer though the home rider was close at the end – Covatti takes third but Morley kept him honest throughout: 3-3, 16-14, time 57.32

6: Lawson got the drop out of the start but Schlein got the better of the run down the back straight forging a lead that would spell a first defeat for Lawson as an Eagle. Kurtz fairly comfortable on third, though Georgie was certainly on the pace: 4-2, 20-16, time 57.71

7: Good gate from Harris who, despite the early attention and tussle with Kerr, takes the win – another good third for Bowtell at the expense of Rowe: 3-3, 23-19, time 58.19

8: A great race and a fine win for Morley. Atkins made his presence felt throughout – trading places with Tom. For a time, the Fineprint Eagles held the 5-1 but it finished a 4-2. The Eagles snipped two points off the home lead with Kurtz bringing up the rear time: 25-23, 59.02

Ben Morley

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

Don’t forget to refresh this page to get the latest, while the match is going on.

9: Lawson back in the winning groove, gating to take a stylish victory – Grobauer and Covatti blocked the minor places while Georgie was unable to land a blow this time and pulled up on the second bend of the final lap: 3-3, 28-26, time 57.94

10: The Eagles have been conspiring to keep things close but it’s the Rebels who seize the offensive with a big 5-1 in heat 10 – Schlein and Kurtz gate side by side and lead from the outset – Kerr trying everything he knows but it remains a maximum to Somerset with Schlein making it three wins in three: 5-1, 33-27, time 58.81

11: Kennett leads into the first bend but Harris storms round his outside out of bend 2 and that’s how it stays despite a great duel between the pair – Morley sees off Rowe so a 3-3 it is. The progressive scores moving to 36-30, time 58.50

Richard Lawson

12: Lawson is a tac sub for the Eagles in place of Wood and it works like a dream. A flying win for Kerr with Lawson getting the better of the battle with Grobauer to snatch a fighting 5-1 – Eagles right back in it with the scores now standing at 37-35 but three big heats still remain: 1-5, 37-35, time 58.62. Track grading now taking place.

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

13: The Rebels seize the initiative right back with Harris storming to the front and staying there. Schlein following on fending off the every challenge of Lawson and Kennett for the 5-1 that moves then closer to the win the scores now standing at 42-36 with two heats left in the card. Time 58.35

Lewi Kerr

14: Atkins replaces Rowe. It’s the Rebels who are finishing the stronger. Atkins taking a win that to be fair his efforts have deserved with Covatti holding on to second ahead of Brennan and Bowtell the second successive 5-1 taking the home side past the post: 5-1, 47-37, time 59.34

15: Schlein (r), Harris (b), Lawson (w), Kerr (y) – Somerset select 1and 3. Lawson again gave of his best but it was the Rebels who were away and gone – Harris taking a fourth win on the trot with Schlein riding shotgun all the way – Lawson takes third with Lewi bringing up the rear: 5-1, 52-38, time 58.25

Kevin Ling’s summary: Entertaining meeting throughout, however, and in spite of the three closing 5-1s, Eagles certainly not disgraced

Rebels: Schlein 13+2 (5) paid max, Harris 13+1 (5), Grobauer 8 (4), Atkins 7 (5), Kurtz 5+2 (4), Covatti 4+3 (4), Rowe 2 (3) – 52

Eagles: Lawson 12+1 (6), Kerr 8 (5), Kennett 6 (4), Morley 4+1 (4,) Wood 3 (3), Brennan 3 (4), Bowtell 2+2( 4) – 38

Here’s our coverage from earlier in the day.

4.30pm update: News from Somerset via the Rebels’ social media: Meeting is on. The Westcountry club Tweeted: We have had some heavy rain at the track over the early afternoon but it has stopped in the last hour, the track guys will do their magic and get the track prepared for tonight’s Championship Shield Clash.

And from this morning

The Eastbourne Eagles undertake the first away match of their return to professional speedway racing with a trip today (April 24) to Somerset.

It is Championship Shield action with the home club looking to avenge the thumping they received at Arlington earlier in the month.

This website’s reporter, Kevin Ling, will be making his way west today to cover the match.

Our plan is to bring you the details on a heat-by-heat basis.

Remember you will probably need to refresh the page once we begin coverage to ensure you are getting the latest information.

It is tapes up at the Oak Tree Arena at 7.30pm but we hope to be with you from 7pm to set the scene.

Lewi Kerr

Eagles are at full strength.

This is a crucial match as the Championship Shield group comes to the boil.

In the three-team southern group, the Fineprint Eagles have completed two home matches and are on six points with two victories.

This is Somerset’s second home match, having already beaten Birmingham home and away. 

The Rebels away win against the Brummies has given them the edge.

Here is how the group has unfolded.

Eastbourne 52-38 Birmingham

Somerset 52-38 Birmingham

Eastbourne 63-27 Somerset

Birmingham 44-46 Somerset

Matches to come

Tonight (April 24)

Somerset v Eastbourne

Wednesday, May 1

Birmingham v Eastbourne

Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr will be the team members who Eastbourne riders will be looking to for advice.

Both have ridden in the past for Somerset.

The Rebels welcome back Chris Harris who was out for a few days after his heavy crash in the match at Arlington.