FEN TIGERS 59 v FORMAN IT EAGLES 31
Eastbourne have taken a pasting this afternoon (May 20) at Mildenhall in the National Trophy southern section.
They went down 59-31.
In the early stages, the Forman IT Eagles held on to their host’s coat-tails but from the midpoint the Fenland outfit turned up the heat and raced away to a big victory.
Team manager, Connor Dugard, said: “We had hoped to do better.
“Mildenhall have a very good team. Everyone knew that before a wheel was turned this season and we saw first-hand how good.
“Fair play to them, they made us look second best.”
The home team’s teenage sensation Drew Kemp scored a seven ride paid maximum and there was plenty of support from the rest of the team.
The Eagles could do little to stem the tide and were on the wrong end of six maximum heat wins and managed only two heat winners, Georgie Wood in races four and nine.
The result puts Mildenhall in pole position to win the southern group and go through to the final.
Before the match they already had 11 points from three matches, thanks to two massive away wins at the Isle of Wight and Plymouth.
Mildenhall: Drew Kemp 20+1 (7), Danny Ayres 11+1 (5), Josh Bailey 10+1 (5), Ryan Kinsley 7+1 (5), Nathan Stoneman 6+2 (4), Matt Marson 5+1 (4), Sam Bebee rider replacement.
Eastbourne: Georgie Wood 8 (4), Tom Brennan 8 (5), Charley Powell 4+2 (6), Charlie Brooks 4+1 (5), Mark Baseby 4 (4), Jason Edwards 3+1 (6), Kelsey Dugard rider replacement.
Here is how our live coverage evolved:
Mildenhall seized control of the National Trophy southern group with two stunning wins in two days.
They won 59-31 on the Isle of Wight and followed that with an even bigger win at Plymouth the night after, 69-21.
It left their opponents in the group reeling as those huge win netted eight NT mini-league points.
They have since added three more with a 57-33 home win over Kent.
They head the table on 11 points from three matches.
Eastbourne are on six points from two (home) matches)
The winners of the group will play the win of the northern group in the National Trophy Final over two legs.
Out of interest, in the north, there is a three-way tie for the lead on seven points by Birmingham, Cradley and Coventry - all three clubs having ridden twice.
Eastbourne go into the Mildenhall match using rider replacement at No 2 for Kelsey Dugard, who is unavailable, but welcome back Charley Powell, who missed last night’s challenge match at Arlington.
Mildenhall have been hit by injuries and are without rising stars Jordan Jenkins and Sam Bebee. They bring in Nathan Stoneman as a guest and use R/R at No 2 for Bebee.
Both clubs believe this will be their hardest fixture to date in 2018.
Your reporter Kevin Ling is trackside at West Row with Paul Watson back in Sussex bringing it all together.
Mildenhall: Josh Bailey, Sam Bebee (r/r), Nathan Stoneman (G), Ryan Kinsley, Danny Ayres, Drew Kemp, Matt Marson.
Forman IT Eagles: Mark Baseby, Kelsey Dugard (r/r), Tom Brennan, Charley Powell, Georgie Wood, Jason Edwards, Charlie Brooks.
Weather: Sun is out. Glorious afternoon in Suffolk.
We are expecting Drew Kemp to be the Fen Tigers R/R in heat one.
Eagles have won the toss and choose 1 and 3 in heat one. Edwards takes our R/R ride.
Ht 1: Kemp gated away and gone - Baseby and Edwards tucked in behind ahead of Bailey - Bailey passed Edwards on run in to second lap and gave chase to Base. First bend third lap, Edwards took a tumble - unable to clear the track and pushed bike out to fence - not sure red lights went on but flag was waved as riders approached first bend - Baseby laid down race stopped and awarded 4-2 to Fen Tigers; no time
2: To be rerun - Kemp leading from Edwards with Marson third with Brooks keeping tabs on him. Charlie ran out room trying to round Marson bend four, lap two - he’s disqualified. Re-reun: Kemp Edwards, Marson, gate to flag; 4-2, 8-4, time 52.2
3: Good gate from Tom but Kinsley rounds him out of bend two for the win - Powell rides a controlled race to keep Stoneman at bay for a share of the spoils; 3-3, 11-7 time 52.0
4: Great race - Marson gates but Wood emerges clear down back straight - Ayres gives chase and a terrific tussle ensues. Wood rides brilliantly to block Ayres every move - Ayres falls final bend gifting eagles the 4-2 with Marson second and Brooks third; 2-4 ,13-11, time 52.0
5: Brooks takes R/R.
Kinsley and Stoneman gate in heat five, away and gone . It was a ragged start from Baseby and he trailed the field throughout with Brooks at the back; 5-1, 18-12, 53.0
6: Marson takes r/r and the Eagles look for a swift reply maximum as Wood and Edwards led Bailey. Credit where its due, Bailey rode a fantastic race to blast past Edwards on lap three then round Wood on the run into the chequered flag; 3-3, 21-15, 53.3
7: Ayres gates from Brennan but succeeds in easing Kemp wide at the first turn - Brennan holds second under pressure but overcooks it on second bend third lap allowing Kemp to go clear - 5-1 from then on with Ayres taking the win from Kemp with Brennan third; 5-1, 26-16, 53.4
Commentary: At this stage, Mildenhall are confirming their status as favourites to win the National Trophy southern group. They are now ten up and seem to be well in control of this match. Bailey rode out of his skin in heat six, something he did for the Eagles on a bitterly cold October afternoon when we won the KO Cup. This time it was for the Fen Tigers.
8: Powell is our R/R. Kemp leads throughout, Marson is second in early part but Powell forces his way past and looks good for second. Brooks was keeping Marson honest and unlucky not to follow Powell. BUT, Powell drops it on third bend, third lap and Marson stays second for 5-1; 31-17, 54.3
9: Stoneman passes Wood early part but Georgie cuts back past in fine style on third lap and blocks Stoneman's effort to pass on the final bend. It was a racing move but Stoneman seemed aggrieved and had to be restrained from having a word after the race; 3-3 with Kinsley third leading home Edwards; 34-20, 54.8
10: Kingsley R/R for home side.
Powell gates but is soon passed by Bailey - by the time Tom gets past Powell it is too late to mount a challenge on Bailey but at least Charley kept Kinsley at bay for 3-3, 37-23, time 53.4.
By the way Crowborough-based Niall Strudwick is on the spanners for Josh Bailey today, as he was last night in the Challenge match at Arlington.
11: Just had 15 mins track grading and watering. Changed pic on home page to show the first bend after the work has been done. Edwards is our R/R.
Kemp in a different league as he wins with ease, Ayres comfortable second ahead of Baseby with Edwards bringing up the rear; 5-1 ,42-24, time 54.1
12: Fen Tigers determined to pile on the pressure as Kemp is the reserve replacement in place of Marson. Edwards gates but Kemp goes round him, followed by Stoneman to take the win - Brennan enters the fray and mounts pressure on Stoneman - a last bend effort just fails to bear fruit - 5-1 to Fen Tigers, 47-25 time 54.9
13: Baseby lifted and missed the start and somehow is penalised for touching the tapes - he’s put back 15m. Re-run: It ends Ayres Bailey baseby wood (fell). Wood gated but Ayres fought his way past down back straight - Bailey fought past entering lap three but Wood clipped Bailey on third bend fourth lap and disappeared under air fence. The track staff didn’t seem to hurry themselves to get him out and it was only when Ayres and Baseby stopped to help lift the air fence off did they get him out - Bailey announced as the winner although it was clearly Ayres. The result later amended; 5-1 ,52-26, 55.4
14: Kemp wins to bag paid 21-point maximum. Powell rides well to fend off Kinsley then Brooks cuts inside him and holds fast for 3-3 55-29 time 55.6. Georgie being checked by paramedic but no announcement as to any injuries.
15: Bailey and Ayres v Brennan and Powell. Brennan gates but Ayres soon moves past - Tom at least manages to outpace Bailey for a closing 4-2 to prevent the 60-points - final score 59-31, time 54.8