CAN THE EAGLES HALT BEN MORLEY?
Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles rekindle their National Trophy challenge as the Isle of Wight Warriors make a swift return to Arlington Stadium on Saturday evening (7.30 p.m. start time).
The Eagles and the Warriors recently crossed swords in Knockout Cup competition, the Sussex side winning comfortably on aggregate following victories both home and away.
Eastbourne enjoyed a handsome 60-30 success at Arlington against the Warriors a fortnight ago, a result they matched against the Buxton Hitmen the previous week and one that they bettered following a 61-29 triumph against current Champions, the Belle Vue Colts last Saturday.
No doubt they will be looking to demonstrate their home dominance once more continue that purple run of form around their own strip.
A similar result, or indeed a victory of any description will be just what they need to set their National Trophy campaign off in the right direction.
Currently the Eagles lie third in the competition’s five-strong Southern division.
They have only contested the one match so far, that resulting in a last gasp 46-44 victory at Plymouth’s St Boniface Arena earlier in the season.
The Devils are presently above them in second place, that courtesy of home and away wins against the Warriors, giving them 6-points from their four meetings so far run.
Another comprehensive win for the Eagles tonight could see them leap-frog Plymouth into the runners up slot.
Both teams, as well as the Isle of Wight, and for that matter the groups other contenders, the Kent Kings will not have failed to notice the form being shown by the team who are currently top of the pile.
The Mildenhall Fen Tigers, whose season has so far been blighted by weather, completed their first two team engagements on consecutive nights in the last week.
Thursday evening saw the Suffolk side enjoy a 59-31 victory across the Solent, the following night witnessing an even emphatic result, 61-29 away at Plymouth.
These two scoreline’s have sent the West Row outfit straight to the top of the National Trophy table.
With both the Warriors and the Devils having experienced it, the Eagles will now be aware of the sort of test they are likely to face as the endeavour to challenge for silverware.
For now, they will still not show any complacency and they will be all out to stop the Warriors posting what would likely be considered a shock result this evening.
Ben Morley, a 15-point maximum man from their Knockout Cup second leg match up returns to the helm of the side having missed the Arlington Cup clash and Eastbourne know only too well how adept he can be around their circuit.
Not such good news for the Warriors is the absence of Ben Hopwood who suffered a hand injury against the Fen Tigers.
The Isle of Wight will utilise the Rider Replacement facility in place of the former Eagle.
Eastbourne are set to be at full strength, Mark Baseby returning the side after missing the last two home meetings.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Mark Baseby, Tom Brennan, Charlie Brooks, Kelsey Dugard, Jason Edwards, Charley Powell, Georgie Wood.
Warriors: Scott Campos, (Rider Replacement for) Ben Hopwood, Ben Morley, Adam Portwood, Shaun Tedham, Danno Verge, Chris Widman.