Eagles v Bandits tonight – DO IT FOR TOM!

Eastbourne face Berwick tonight at Arlington Stadium (7.30pm) when fans’ thoughts will very much with injured rider Tom Brennan.

A bucket collection will be held tonight for the young rider who was badly injured a week ago in a track crash against Glasgow.

Supporters can also help Tom by buying one of the striking mechanics’ tops.

A “limited exclusive supply” will be available in the club shop. The price is £37.50 and of that £10 will be donated to the Tom Brennan Collection Fund.

Nick Laurence wearing one of the mechanics’ tops

Further ways of supporting Tom will be announced after the holiday weekend.

Tonight’s match – update

Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles v Berwick Bandits, Championship league action at Arlington Stadium, Arlington Road West, Hailsham, BN27 3RE; signposted off the A22 Hailsham by-pass. 

Team News: No changes have been advised. Kyle Newman makes his debut.

Kyle Newman. Image credit:haggishartman

Weather: No weather worries.

Traffic: No roadworks in the vicinity which are likely to cause delays.

Mascot: Luca Powell-Cunningford is Official Mascot as part of his 5th birthday present. Happy birthday Luca from all of us at Eastbourne Speedway. We hope you have a super day.

Club director Ian Jordan has said this morning: “Im sure we will all be doubly determined to win for Tom. . . no motivation needed tonight, just Do It for Tom.’

Kevin Ling runs the rule over tonight’s match

Seldom in recent times has the term ‘a must win fixture’ been more relevant for the Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles.

The Sussex side return to Arlington stadium tonight seeking to chalk up their first Championship league win of the 2019 campaign as the Berwick Bandits come calling (7.30 p.m. start time).

Following what had proved a wholly bright start to the season that has already seen progression to the semi-finals of the Championship Shield competition and also the strong possibility of a place in the Knockout Cup quarter final, a measure of misfortune has subsequently blighted the start of their league itinerary.

Scott Nicholls in action at Arlington for Leicester

Successive home defeats, each by an agonising 1-point margin (44-45) against Leicester and Glasgow have proved a bitter pill to swallow.

Needless to say two defeats on the spin around their home circuit is something that the Arlington patrons are certainly not used to.

The nasty injury sustained by Eagles Tom Brennan against the Scottish club has inevitably cast a huge cloud over the club’s start to the campaign.

That of course came at a moment when the team was looking to overturn an early deficit against the Tigers.

In spite of the plight of their young star however, the show must go on and the club will be striving hard to move forward in a positive vein.

Against both the Lions and the Tigers, arguably two of the stronger sides in the section, save for moments of adversity, the Eagles could well emerged triumphant on each occasion.

They must accept however that didn’t happen nor can it be changed however they will be working hard to ensure that the same doesn’t happen again.

Kyle Newman heads Edward Kennett earlier in the season at Arlington

Kyle Newman comes into the Eastbourne side as a replacement for Brennan and hopes are prevalent for both rider and club that this fresh challenge will soon see the 27-year riding at the top of his game once more.

Newman was a recent casualty of an early season re-shuffle at Birmingham and now the Eagles management will hope that their gain will soon prove the Brummies loss especially with a mid-week visit to Perry Barr, where the two teams should conclude their Knockout Cup dealings, in prospect.

That is for another day however and it is the league business at hand, and the visit of Berwick is what they will be focusing their efforts on.

Unfortunately accompanying each of those two Arlington reverses were fruitless foray’s to the respective homes of both Leicester and Glasgow on the previous evening.

A subsequent defeat, by a 54-36 score line away to the Somerset Rebels last Wednesday now means that the Eagles are the recipients of an unwanted sequence of five straight Championship defeats.

On Saturday they will be doing all in their power to ensure that the Bandits do not make it six.

Craig Cook

Whereas their previous combatants have vaunted out and out number ones in Scott Nicholls and Craig Cook, Berwick would appear to possess more all-round resilience and potency as their scores to date readily suggest.

Whereas the Sussex side have opted for an all-British approach in formulating their line-up, the Bandits possess a far more cosmopolitan and international flavor.

Though their Australian number one Aaron Summers may not enjoy similar billing to the aforementioned Nicholls and Cook, his scoring has often proved just as hefty, a faultless paid maximum when guesting at Glasgow against the Eagles last weekend demonstrating that fact in no small way.

The Berwick contingent is completed on Saturday by another potential star of the future, Jordan Jenkins, who deputises as a guest in place of the absent Coty Garcia.

Summers is surrounded by capable scorers all the way down the order. Fellow Australian’s Kevin Doolan and Jye Etheridge, Denmark’s Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Austrian Danny Gappmaier and lone Brit Leon Flint have all had their moments to shine so far in season 2019 so far.

Happy birthday to: Luca Powell-Cunningford

In addition to Kyle Newman, the remainder of the Eagles also look forward to welcoming another young team mate to aid their cause against the Bandits, young Luca Powell-Cunningford will be on parade with them as their Official Mascot as part of his fifth birthday present.

Another important aspect of the Saturday clash will be a bucket collection in aid of Tom Brennan to assist him as he embarks on the road to recovery.

The club hope that people will turn out in their numbers willing to contribute to that and to sign cards bearing good wishes and to submit their own for passing onto Tom and his family.  

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

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

Bandits: Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Kevin Doolan, Jye Etheridge, Leon Flint, Danny Gappmaier, Jordan Jenkins (Guest for Coty Garcia), Aaron Summers.

Images: haggishartman and Paul Watson