EAGLES OUT TO STOP COLTS
Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles will be gearing themselves up for the Parade of Champions as 2017 National League title winners, the Belle Vue Colts hit Arlington stadium with league points at stake this Saturday evening (with a 7.30p.m. start time).
Certainly the Sussex side will feel that they have a score to settle with the young Men of Manchester as it was they who condemned the Eagles to a third successive runners up slot in the National League table last year, writes Kevin Ling.
It was the Eagles who eventually headed the section after all the matches had been completed but it was the Colts who topped the pile at the cut-off point when the Play Off picture was formulated.
Eastbourne saw off the challenge of local rivals, the Kent King’s in devastating fashion at the semi-final stage whilst Belle Vue similarly accounted for the Lakeside Hammers to set up a Final Showdown between the two sides.
The Eagles drew first blood in the final two-legged match up, taking a 12-point advantage to the National Speedway stadium courtesy of a 45-33 success in a rain curtailed Arlington rubber.
The visitors lead held until heat 6 in Manchester as the Colts drew the aggregate scores level but the sides remained at deadlock for a further five races before the Manchester side eased ahead for the first time thanks to a 4-2 in heat 12.
From that point on it was all about the Colts who pressed home their advantage over the remaining heats to take the title.
On the retained list for this seasons Belle Vue side from that night of glory are two undoubted stars of the future, Kyle Bickley and Colts Captain Jack Smith.
Both men rode unbeaten by an opponent in the decisive second leg, save for an unfortunate first race machinery break down for Smith.
Tom Perry, himself a National League title winner with Cradley and Birmingham was a close season capture and he now heads up the Belle Vue attack in the number one berth.
In-form Joe Lawlor is another who has made the switch to Manchester this term and it was his input that played a large part in the Colts recent Knockout Cup demolition of the Buxton Hitmen.
Paul Bowen and Ben Woodhull both had a part to play in Colts successful 2017 season and return once again to grace the line-up that is completed by reserve Kean Dicken.
The Eagles will certainly be striving to continue a rich vein of form that saw them progress to the Cup Quarter Final stage thanks to a home and away defeat of the Isle of Wight Warriors over the course of the last week.
Captain Mark Baseby is again unavailable for the Sussex side, his place will be taken by Birmingham’s Danyon Hume, otherwise both teams are at full strength.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Tom Brennan, Charlie Brooks, Kelsey Dugard, Jason Edwards, Danyon Hume (Guest for Mark Baseby), Charley Powell, Georgie Wood.
Colts: Kyle Bickley, Paul Bowen, Kean Dicken, Joe Lawlor, Tom Perry, Jack Smith, Ben Woodhull.
KO Cup quarter final
Eastbourne Speedway will face Coventry in the quarter finals of the KO Cup after comprehensively defeating the Isle of Wight in the first round.
The Forman IT Eagles won both legs of the tie – 60-30 at home and 48-42 away to go through 108 - 72 on aggregate.
Coventry received a bye in the first round.
The dates for the quarter final are:
Sunday 13th May - Coventry v Eastbourne
Saturday 2nd June - Eastbourne v Coventry