EAGLES BRACE FOR HUGE BATTLE ON SATURDAY
Eastbourne face their toughest home match of the season so far on Saturday (June 23) when the Mildenhall Fen Tigers are the visitors to Arlington Stadium.
The Suffolk outfit are hot favourites this season to complete a clean-sweep of the honours at National League level.
They have already reached the final of the National Trophy and the semi-finals of the KO Cup.
Eastbourne are also on a high after pulverising near neighbours Kent last Saturday – the 68-21 victory being the club’s biggest win since joining the National League in 2015.
Kent promoter Len Silver, aged 86, described his team’s defeat as the worst he had seen in his extensive time the sport.
“While it is true that there were several reasons that would not have been obvious to the onlooker, it does not alter the fact that it was a sad evening of racing for which I apologised to (Eagles chairman) Martin Dugard,” Silver said.
Forman IT Eagles’ team manager Connor Dugard is predicting Mildenhall will pose a far tougher challenge on Saturday.
He said: “I know the pundits are making the Fen Tigers favourites for everything this year but we and one or two other clubs are determined to have a big say in the destiny of the honours.”
Dugard is calling complete concentration from his team, saying:
“It is a tough match against a tough side,.
“We are coming off a big win, so I have no doubt we can win.
“What we must do is keep our heads focused and make starts like we did last week against Kent.”
Eastbourne and Mildenhall are both at full strength.
Two former Eagles are in the Mildenhall team.
Josh Bailey, who rode in the latter part of the season last year for the Eagles, is at No 1 and Danny Halsey, who was a fast track reserve in the club’s Elite League days, is at No 3.
Another familiar face in the visiting line-up will be reserve Drew Kemp, who made a number of guest appearances for Eastbourne in the later stages of last season.
Eastbourne: Georgie Wood, Jason Edwards, Mark Baseby, Charley Powell, Tom Brennan, Kelsey Dugard, Charlie Brooks.
Mildenhall: Josh Bailey, Sam Beebee, Danny Halsey, Ryan Kinsley, Danny Ayres, Drew Kemp, Matt Marson.
There are no pre-meeting junior heats this week.
Eastbourne v Mildenhall (National Trophy) – parade 7.20pm; first race 7.30pm.
After the main match (at about 9pm), Weymouth take on Reading in a Southern Junior League match – both nomad teams use Arlington for home matches but on this occasion face each other.