Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles take to the track once more at Arlington Stadium tonight (7.30 p.m. start time) in a special Challenge fixture.

Anxious to hone the qualities that suggest a promising 2018 season ahead, following an array of successful results in recent weeks, the Sussex Management have assembled a strong opposing septet to take on their present day charges.

Originally the Forman IT Eagles versus the IT First Eagles challenge match was intended as the season curtain raiser but unfortunately the weather intervened.

Now with a break in the fixture list, one prolonged but last weekend’s rain off against the Kent Kings the Eastbourne Promotion has moved swiftly to resurrect the fixture and provide a visiting side capable of keeping the Eagles on their toes.

The IT First Eagles consist largely of former Eastbourne riders and others who have stepped in to help them out at crucial times in past seasons.

Forming the backbone of the side, a powerful looking heat leader trio, Josh Bailey, Ben Hopwood and Danyon Hume is sure to pile up the points and present the hosts with a host of problems.

Hopwood, who Sussex fans will remember fondly as part of the triple winning Eastbourne side of 2015 now ply’s his trade with the Isle of Wight. He is likely to still be riding through the pain barrier having sustained a hand injury in Warriors home match against Mildenhall.

Also involved in that meeting was Josh Bailey, now with the Fen Tigers and of course a member of the Eagles team last year, albeit briefly when he was instrumental in helping them bring the Knockout Cup home for a third successive season.

Birmingham’s Danyon Hume has picked up this season largely from where he left off last year before injury intervened and ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.

The visitors line up is completed by Danno Verge, Ryan Terry-Daley and reserve duo Jamie Bursill and Nick Laurence, the latter having answered the call last weekend to step into the Eagles line up for their Cup match at Coventry.

As for the Forman IT Eagles, they are set to be back at full strength and the warmest of welcomes is sure to be reserved for homecoming hero Tom Brennan who earned a rostrum runner up placing to Belle Vue’s Dan Bewley in last Thursday’s British under 19 Final at Ipswich.   

Teams: (in alphabetical order)

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

IT First Eagles: Josh Bailey, Jamie Bursill, Ben Hopwood, Danyon Hume, Nick Laurence, Danno Verge, Ryan Terry-Daley.

Paul Watson