COVENTRY 46 EAGLES 44
Eastbourne’s cup fighting qualities were to the fore this afternoon (May 13) as they fought out a tense battle in their National League KO Cup quarter final first leg against Coventry.
Captain and No 1 Mark Baseby led the charge with rising star Tom Brennan who between them scored 26 points as the Eagles went down 46-44.
At two-thirds distance it seemed as if the home side, who ride at Leicester’s track, would pull out a decent lead to bring to Arlington for the second leg in June
This was the point when the Forman IT Eagles dug deep as they were then eight points adrift.
Heat 12 turned the tide as Tom Brennan won and with Jason Edwards third, the gap was cut to six.
A 5-1 to the Eagles in heat 13, when the previously unbeaten Coventry No 1, Connor Mountain, was excluded for unfair riding, brought the scores to 43-41.
Club chairman Martin Dugard said he was very pleased with the performance.
"We were obviously weaker than the last time we came here and lost 51-39 as we were without Charley Powell and Charlie Brooks," he said.
Nick Laurence, who had not ridden so far this season, came in and covered for Brooks with rider replacement being used for Powell.
"As a team we rode very well and it was a good performance.
"Deep down I didn't think we would get that close so we have to be pleased with the afternoon's work," Dugard said.
Coventry: Connor Mountain 12 (5), Jon Armstrong 9 (5), Danny Phillips 7 (4), Luke Ruddick 6+3 (4), Luke Harris 6+1 (4), Jamie Halder 5+3 (5), Ryan Macdonald 1 (3).
Eastbourne: Tom Brennan 15 +1 (6), Mark Baseby 11 (5), Georgie Wood 8 + 1 (5), Jason Edwards 8 + 1 (7), Nick Laurence 1 (3), Kelsey Dugard 1 (5).
Here's how we reported the match live.
Eastbourne continue their defence of the KO Cup this afternoon (May 13) with a visit to the Coventry Bees, who ride at Leicester's stadium.
The Forman IT Eagles won through to the quarter final with a win in the first round over the Isle of Wight, while Coventry received a bye.
This is the first leg, with the second leg at Arlington in early June.
It is the second time the Eagles have faced Coventry at Beaumont Park this year, going down 51-39 in the league on April 15.
The Eagles are without Charley Powell and Charlie Brooks, who both have grass track commitments.
Nick Laurence comes in for Brooks while Powell's rides will be covered by the rider replacement rule.
Your reporter trackside this afternoon will be Kevin Ling, with Paul Watson back at base bringing it together and adding commentary along the way.
Refresh the page to ensure you are seeking the latest updates.
We will be back with you as 3pm approaches.
Then photograph from Kevin above shows the weather in Leicester is some sun with cloud. There is no rain forecast.
It’s the first time Coventry and Eastbourne have met in a Cup competition since way back in 2006 when the Bees won in the semi-finals en route to taking the silverware at Elite League level, according to the Bees' website.
Bees: Connor Mountain, Luke Harris, Jon Armstrong, Luke Ruddick, Danny Phillips, Jamie Halder, Ryan MacDonald
Eagles: Mark Baseby, Kelsey Dugard, Tom Brennan, R/R for Charley Powell, Georgie Wood, Nick Laurence, Jason Edwards
Kevin says the the kindest description of the size of the crowd is "sparse".
Eagles gates 1 and 3 in heat one.
Ht 1: Baseby swift out of start alongside Mountain but turns it around and falls on second turn - remounts to finish but no catching Mountain out front. Harris quickly established a lead over Dugard who finished third, 5-1, time 63.32
Ht 2: Great ride from Edwards who rounded Halder down back straight and continued to victory in convincing style - Laurence held third over MacDonald but the latter started making up ground - looked set to go to round him, but fell 1st bend, final lap; 2-4, 7-5, 66.00
Ht 3: Dugard takes the RR ride. Brilliant from Brennan - Armstrong and Ruddick gate ahead and looking on for the 5-1 - Tom passes Ruddick on back straight, second lap goes wide and loses second but then comes back strong on inside heading into lap three - then storms inside Armstrong first bend, final lap for superb win; 3-3, 10-8, 64.2
Great ride from Brennan in heat three – big boost to morale, all round.
Ht 4: Flying win for Wood - Edwards gating alongside him in 5-1 position - MacDonald grinds to halt out of start - Phillips rounds Edwards for second but cannot catch Wood; 2-4, 12-12, 64.50
Ht 5: Baseby joins the party rounding and easing clear of Armstrong out of second bend - the Bees' duo pack in for the minor places, however, with Ruddick outpacing Dugard for third; 3-3, 15-15, 64.88
Ht: 6 Race stopped. Laurence warned to stay still at start. Re-run: Good start from Wood but Mountain cuts inside him out of turn two - Harris gets the drop on Laurence in third - good tussle between the lead duo for a couple of laps but order remains the same; 4-2, 19-17, 63.12
What has happened?
Mountain won heat one after Baseby turned round on first bend
Eastbourne have the majority of heat winners with Baseby, Brennan, Wood and Edwards all taking the chequered flag up to this point in the match.
Bees 19, Eagles 17
Ht 7: Edwards takes R/R. Phillips gates but again Brennan looks fast as he swoops inside out of second bend to eventually win by half a straight - Halder gets the drop on Edwards, but despite the latter chasing he couldn’t prevent the split of the point; 3-3, 22-20, 63.82
Ht 8: Correction - Edwards was programmed in this race. All looking too good - Dugard gates to lead with Edwards alongside him - Harris moves through into second but Kelsey still leads - only until final bend of lap three however when he takes a tumble - MacDonald clatters into him and both riders remain down - thankfully both soon up - heat now to be rerun with no Dugard.
Re-run: Edwards fastest from the start but Harris cuts through on inside out of turn 2 - that’s how it stays; 4-2, 26-22, 67.00
Ht 9: Armstrong back on his game as he charges round Wood outside down back straight - Ruddick holds firm in second having made the start on Georgie, the resultant 5-1 now opening up an 8-point advantage 31-23 to the Bees, time 64.87
That 5-1 has given Coventry "blue water" between the teams and will give them hope of bringing a defendable lead to Arlington for the second leg.
Ht 10: Edwards takes R/R. Mountain powers home once again condemning Brennan to his first defeat of the afternoon - this time Edwards gets the better of Harris and the gap between them increases as the race proceeds; 3-3, 34-26, 63.38
What has happened?
We are at the two thirds distance
It has been a hard fought march, so far.
Coventry have wrenched control of this first leg
Former Eagle Luke Harris is proving to be a bit of a thorn in the side of his former club but Edwards has just tamed him
Heats 13 and 15 could decide how this quarter final works out
Ht 11: Baseby romps home for second win, this well ahead of Phillips - Halder comfortable in third as he leads home the luckless Dugard; 3-3 37-29 time 65.06
Four vital races about to come up in this National League KO Cup, quarter final, first leg.
Eastbourne have had the majority of heat winners so far but Coventry have edged into an eight point lead.
Mountain unbeaten for the hosts, Harris has chipped in well and Armstrong seems to be back in the groove.
Baseby, Brennan and Wood doing the heavy lifting for the Eagles with support from Edwards.
Ht 12: Another blistering ride from Brennan to blast past Armstrong on the run in to lap three - with Edwards fending off the chasing Halder, the Eagles' 4-2 narrows the margin to 6 points, 39-33 time 66.37
Ht 13: Looking ominous as Wood slows coming out of start - Baseby leads Mountain out of bend two - the home No 1 comes hard under Base and cleans him up - Mountain excluded for unfair riding. Wood in re-run as still under power.
Re-run: Boom! Baseby leads all the way in rerun - Wood (on Edwards' bike) trades places a couple of times with Phillips but establishes lead on second lap. That’s how it stays, the 5-1 pulling Eastbourne to within 2-points of the Bees; 40-38, 66.68
Ht 14: Brennan keeps up the good work in 14 easing clear of Ruddick out of the first turn - Ruddick and Halder hold second and third as Edwards mounts challenge - a determined drive out of the final bend almost bears fruit but a 3-3 is the decision - Coventry leading 43-41 into the final race time 65.44
Ht 15: Mountain and Armstrong v Baseby and Brennan. Mountain takes the 3 points to seal the win in the final race - momentarily it appeared that the Bees were heading for maximum points as Armstrong held second but a bizarre fall in the third turn saw him tumble, slide along the ground then right himself again all in one movement - 3-3 the result with Baseby second and Brennan third and 46-44 the final score putting the Eagles arguably in the drivers seat with the Arlington leg to come 64.13