EAGLES v KENT TONIGHT
Weather: Perfect, early autumn day. No rain forecast. Could be a chilly later this evening on the terraces.
Kent were thrashed last night (September 28) at Mildenhall in the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final. They lost 61-29 and look highly unlikely to progress to the final.
The Kent Kings official website has Jamie Couzins at reserve and indicates Taylor Hampshire will ride (not R/R) as previously announced.
Eastbourne are at full strength, although it is likely Georgie Wood will be busy this morning – he suffered two engines failures while riding for Kent last night at West Row.
Tapes up on the KO Cup semi-final at 7.30pm, although there are some junior heats for the early birds, starting at 6.45pm.
As usual, Kevin Ling runs the rule over tonight’s action at Arlington.
Eastbourne ‘IT Format’ Eagles will look to finish the good work started at the beginning of the week as they welcome local rivals the Kent Kings to Arlington tonight for Knockout Cup Semi-Final action.
The Sussex side will be bidding to qualify for their fourth successive competition final.
Monday evening’s first leg at Central Park saw the two teams remain deadlocked at 45-points apiece following a pulsating fifteen heats setting the scene nicely for tonight’s return leg.
The hosts will by no means be taking their opponents lightly however and they know only too well that their nearest and dearest are capable of springing a surprise, as they have demonstrated in the past.
Kent remain the only visiting team to beat the Eagles around fortress Arlington during the near four seasons they have spent in National League circles.
They have done this not only once but on two occasions, the first being a season opening challenge in 2016. The second, more significant occasion occurred last year as the Kings secured the National League point’s en-route to qualifying for the Play Offs.
The record books show however that the Eagles gained their revenge as the two teams renewed hostilities at the semi-final stage, the Sussex outfit winning handsomely and progressing to the final.
Some parallels can possibly be drawn as the teams come to tapes tonight, however the Eagles will prepare themselves for a potential Kent back lash as their visitors bid to cleanse themselves of the disappointment of their previous night defeat at Mildenhall.
This season’s Play Off semi-final had seen the Fen Tigers select the Kings as their opponents, leaving Eastbourne to face the Coventry Bees.
With the latter contest set to be played out next weekend, Kent travelled to Suffolk to take on the runaway league leaders last evening with the tie due to be concluded on Monday night.
Suffice to say the Kings have left themselves a mountain to climb, going down 61-29 thus leaving a 32-point deficit to make up around their home circuit.
With the Fen Tigers having already triumphed twice at Central Park this term, the prospect of that happening could be classed as unlikely.
Therefore, a vastly improved performance at Arlington this evening seems their only realistic prospect of maintaining any push for silverware in 2018.
The Eagles, three time winners of the Knockout Cup in each of the last three seasons will be equally intent on keeping their own proud run going.
However, both teams know that the prize that awaits the victors tonight is the imposing prospect of taking on the Fen Tigers in the final.
With skipper Mark Baseby returning to lead the side, the hosts are due to be at full strength.
There will be a Mildenhall flavour in evidence with the highly rated Drew Kemp set to guest in place of the injured Paul Hurry.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Mark Baseby, Tom Brennan, Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards, Charley Powell, Ethan Spiller, Georgie Wood
Kings: Jamie Couzins, Taylor Hampshire, Drew Kemp (Guest for Paul Hurry), Anders Rowe, Alex Spooner, Nathan Stoneman, Jack Thomas,