COVENTRY 51 EASTBOURNE 39

Eastbourne have fallen to their first defeat of the season this afternoon against Coventry in the National League. The home side dominated proceedings, especially through their heat leaders who anchored a 51-39 win, taking all three match points on offer.

Three matches in three days seems to have taken its toll on the Forman IT Eagles and they managed only five heat winners throughout the afternoon and had a number of bike problems.

Team manager Connor Dugard said: "We anticipated we would find it hard going in this match because of our riders lack of experience at the track and the fact we have had three matches in three days.

"Mark Baseby had bike problems and Charley Powell and Charlie Brooks were carrying injuries which they picked up last night.

"In the end, Coventry were faster from the gate and better than us.

"Jason Edwards was exceptional and I feel Charlie Brooks is now finding his feet and gaining in confidence.

"There are plenty of positives for us from this meeting."

"We can now catch our breath and build up for the cup tie with the Isle of Wight."

Scorers:

Coventry: Connor Mountain 15 (5 rides), R/R, Luke Ruddick 10 (5), Luke Harris 4+2 (5), Jon Armstrong 16+2 (6), Jamie Halsder 6+1 (6), Ryan Macdonald 0 (3).

Eastbourne: Mark Baseby 5 (5), Kelsey Dugard 1+1 (3), Tom Brennan 10 (5), Charley Powell 4 (4), Georgie Wood 7 (4), Charlie Brooks 1 (4), Jason Edwards 10+2 (6)

This is how the match unfolded through our live report.

Your Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles race their third match in three days this afternoon (April 15). They are in the Midlands to face the Coventry Bees who stage home matches at Leicester’s stadium.

Your reporter Kevin Ling will be trackside to bring news and updates as the National League match unfolds, supported by Paul Watson “back at base”.

The match is due to start at 3pm.

Preview by Paul Watson

It is going to be a tough ask this afternoon for the Eagles.

However, Georgie Wood could be a trump card.

He is relishing his return to the circuit where he rode a most stunning race for Sheffield in the promotion/relegation decider last season between the bottom club in the Premiership (Leicester) and the top club in the Championship (Sheffield).

Beating Danny King is probably the biggest scalp of his career so far, and last night told me he was relishing getting back on that track.

For the rest of the Eagles, there’s not a lot of experience of the Leicester track to draw on, especially as it has been remodelled in recent times.

However, Eastbourne have no lack of ambition and know come season’s end Coventry could be a rival for a top four place finish a place in the Play Offs.

Success early doors over the Bees would be a fillip, building on the Trophy win at Plymouth on Friday and the demolition of Buxton last night at Arlington.

Now it is over to Kevin.

Teams:

COVENTRY: Connor Mountain, Danny Phillips R/R, Luke Ruddick, Luke Harris, Jon Armstrong, Jamie Halder, Ryan MacDonald.

EASTBOURNE: Mark Baseby, Kelsey Dugard, Tom Brennan, Charley Powell, Georgie Wood, Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards.

It is R/R for Danny Phillips who is riding for his Championship club Scunthorpe who are at Newcastle.

Sidenote: Mark Baseby rode for Coventry for a spell in 2015

Kevin says a fair few Forman IT Eagles supporters are in what he feels is a sparse crowd.

The weather is overcast but he says (famous last words) “doesn’t feel as if it is going to rain”.

You may need to "refresh" the page to ensure you are seeing the latest postings.

The bikes are warming up, Coventry have won the toss and take 2 and 4. 

Halder in blue as the R/R for Phillips.

Referee: Seth Perkins under the guidance of Margaret Vardy.

Ht 1:  First blood to Coventry. Comfortable for Mountain after easing clear of Baseby down back straight. Halder looked set to challenge over the first lap but riders became quite strung out. Dugard closed on Halder in the latter stages but to no avail:  4-2;  time 64.19secs.

Ht 2: The Eagles hit back at once. Edwards streaked clear of Halder from the start and Brooks rode a confident race to deny MacDonald: 2-4, 6-6, 66.31secs.

Ht 3: Brennan withstands early pressure from Ruddick for comfortable win. Powell was twitchy at the start, missed gate and trailed Harris throughout:  3-3, 9-9, 64.00.

Ht 4: Proving to be tight at Coventry this afternoon. Eagles fast from start but Armstrong emerged clear down back straight. Wood keeps the pressure on but could not reel the veteran in. Edwards was well clear in third for share of spoils. MacDonald fell on the final bend but was soon up and okay - Armstrong gave him a lift back to the pits: 3-3, 12-12, 65.13

Ht 5: Unsatisfactory start declared. Baseby warned to remain stationary at start but Ruddick had been faster out of the traps. Baseby rode back into pits and is now disqualified for leaving track circuit. Edwards coming out in his place, although Kevin is wondering whether our No 1 and captain could have gone off a 15 metres handicap.

When the race finally gets under way, Ruddick takes the win. Edwards rode a smooth outside line to fend off Harris but Dugard trailed the field throughout, his bike seemingly giving up the ghost just in front of the main stand after he crossed the line: 4-2, 16-14, 65.50

Ht 6: Harris is the R/R in blue. Mountain claimed a second win; this time from Wood - Harris applied early pressure but soon dropped back but remained clear of Brooks:  4-2, 20-16, 63.44.

Confusion reigned amongst the Bees ahead of heat 6 - Ruddick first named as r/r, then changed to Harris. Both riders actually rode round to the start in a blue helmet

Ht 7: Uneven start and all 4 back. Armstrong warned to stay stationary. In the restart, Powell gated and led for the first half lap soon to be replaced by Armstrong. Brennan moved through into second and that's how it remained with Powell seeing off the challenge of Halder. Tom was closing strongly by the close but just couldn't get there: 3-3, 23-19, 64.31

IT'S RAINING

Grading is under way at the moment.

Armstrong named as the R/R in heat 8.

Kevin reports: "The rain I said wasn't coming has just started to fall - hopefully only a shower.

Commentary by Paul: Eastbourne on the back foot at the moment. The home heat leaders are looking strong and our boys will want to get some heat wins in during the later stages to turn the match around.

Back to heat-by-heat reporting by Kevin.

Ht 8: Edwards level with Armstrong into first bend but the Bees’ captain went away down back straight. Edwards remained second and Dugard held off MacDonald for third throughout:3-3, 26.22, 66.22

Ht 9: Ht 9: Wood carved between Ruddick and Harris to take the win in heat nine. Momentarily, Brooks appeared to have the measure of Harris but the former Eagle slipped through on his inside on bends three and four to secure the 3-3, 29-25, 65.69

Ht 10: Harris named at R/R. Mischievous Kevin wonders whether we will see Ruddick as well (see ht 6 for the reference).

Rain has abated at the stadium.

Coventry ease a little bit further away. Mountain and Ruddick led out of second bend in 5-1 position. Brennan sneaked past Ruddick on outside but there was no catching mountain. Ruddick remained comfortable in third with Powell unable to land a blow: 4-2 33-27 64.75

Ht 11: Edwards comes in for Dugard. Baseby looked as if he was mounted on Dugard’s bike and led briefly but was soon passed by Armstrong. Edwards was impeded by Baseby on inside, allowing Halder to get past into third - no way back from there. Baseby lost something from his bike (chain guard possibly?) but no announcement made - the 4-2 stood but Bees now 37-29 to the good and looking the likely winners - time 64.75

Ht 12: Coventry reserve swap – Halder for MacDonald. Brennan all the way from the chasing Ruddick but Halder did his job and contained Brooks - 3-3 the score, 40-32 overall, time 63.81

Ht 13: Coventry take a 5-1 and now can't be caught. Fast-starting Mountain and Armstrong hit the front with Baseby holding third. Wood pulled up with bike trouble entering lap 2 but got going again, but well adrift: 5-1,  45-33, 64.38

Ht 14: A little bit of solace for the Eagles fans - Powell takes the win in the penultimate race - Edwards holding second and looking good for 5-1. Halder then battled past and Harris had a go but Edwards rides around the pair of them heading into final lap for 5-1 great effort and good race: 46-38, 67.19

Ht 15: Mountain (r) Armstrong (b) Baseby (w) Brennan (y). Eagles chose gates 1 and 3. Mountain complete his 15-point maximum and with Armstrong behind, it a 5-1 for the hosts who have won the meeting 51-39. Brennan slipped off on the third bend of the third lap but is soon up and seems OK. Rain now falling: 5-1, 51-39, 67.38