Eastbourne Eagles’ skipper Cameron Woodward produced his best performance of the season to help the Eagles to a much-needed victory on Saturday night.
Fortunes in the match swung both ways until heat 12 with both teams taking turns to be in front.
The decisive moment came in heat 13 when Bjarne Pedersen and Cameron Woodward defeated the Coventry top two.
That put clear water between the teams and when Simon Gustafsson and Lukas Dryml repeated the 5-1 medicine in heat 14 the match was won. Coventry were still in a position to snatch a losing “bonus league” point but that hope evaporated as Pedersen again zipped away to victory with Woodward getting the better of Scott Nicholls in a thrilling race.
Eastbourne team manager and co-promoter Trevor Geer admitted that for much of the evening the match was “too close for comfort”.
He praised Pedersen and Woodward for their successes in heat 13 and 15.
“I really thought it could have swung the other way but Bjarne was immaculate and Cameron had the race of the season,” he said.
Early on the racing surface was difficult with riders making mistakes, leading to a whole series of thrilling heats.
Constant work on the track smoothed out the problems and after that the Eagles hit top gear.
They went into the match without Timo Lahti, who was riding in a world under 21 championship meeting in Poland, and Adam Shields who suffered concussion after a crash the night before during the defeat at Coventry.
Shields was replaced by Lewis Bridger and rider replacement was used for Lahti.
Coventry made the best possible start as Krzysztof Kasprzak and Aaron Summers took a 5-1 in heat one. Bridger hardly moved when the tapes lifted and retired almost at once with clutch problems.
The scores were levelled in heat two when Lukas Dryml got out in front early doors but Denis Gizatulin was last. It all changed on lap three as Summers suffered machine problems and at once Gizatullin pounced to pass Michael Szczepaniak. Eastbourne moved into the lead with a win in race three from Simon Gustafsson. Behind him it was all action with Bridger taking third place on the last lap.
The meet continued to be a tough affair but the Eagles displayed a gritty determination that they save for their home meets and deservedly took the Elite LEague points
Eagles: Cameron Woodward 13 + 1 (6), Bjarne Pedersen 11+1 (5), Simon Gustafsson 11+1 (5), Lukas Dryml 7+2 (6), Lewis Bridger 7+1 (5), Denis Gizatullin 2+1 (4), rider replacement for Timo Lahti - 51
Bees: Scott Nicholls 12 (6), Krzysztof Kasprzak 11(5), Grzegorz Zengota 9+1 (5), Michal Szczepaniak 4+1 (5), Aaron Summers 3+2 (5), Stuart Robson 0 (4) - 39