The Eagles progression to the 2011 Knockout Cup semi-finals remained delicately poised following a hard fought victory over the Wolves at Arlington on Saturday.
Indeed, the Eagles didn’t only have their visitors from Monmore Green to contend with; they also had to defeat the weather in order to get the 15 races completed.
Unfavourable early forecasts already suggested the fixture might be in jeopardy but with little rain throughout the day the match commenced only for a cloudburst to hit around the midway stage - one that threatened to call a halt to proceedings.
Thankfully the rain ceased, sufficiently for the industry of the Arlington track staff and the liberal use of sawdust to pay dividends and the match continued to its conclusion with more than a few absorbing races.
Lukas Dryml proved the toast of Sussex as Wolves posed stern resistance and at times appeared likely to make the journey home on level terms or even with points in hand to contest the second leg scheduled for Monday, July 25.
Dryml’s input was phenomenal, the Czech Republican dropping just one-point to an opposition rider, Ludvig Lindgren, somewhat surprisingly in heat 10, in seven outings to finish with a massive 17 (paid 20) point haul, a tally that undoubtedly proved the difference between the sides as Eastbourne fashioned a 10-point advantage with which to travel to Monmore in just over a month’s time.
Dryml’s chief support came from Dane Bjarne Pedersen who also dropped just one-point to a visitor again to Ludvig Lindgren as the Swede enjoyed that tenth race victory over the pair, while Lewis Bridger also hit double figures, a brace of wins atoning for a disqualification following a fall in his first outing.
For Wolverhampton, Peter Karlsson stood tall and with 12-points proved by far the visitors most prolific performer.
Elsewhere occasional flashes from Ty Proctor and Ludvig Lindgren in particular and a lively display throughout from reserve Ricky Wells, the Wolves largely failed to step up to the plate in their usual fashion and the Arlington faithful must have been somewhat grateful that both number one Fredrik Lindgren and Team GB hot shot seemed strangely subdued, the pair contributing just 8-points and a single race win from nine outings between them.
The evening closed at 50-40 and one that surely ensures a lively encounter when the two teams renew acquaintances at Monmore Green in July.
Scorers: Eagles : Lukas Dryml 17+3(7), Bjarne Pedersen 11+2(5), Lewis Bridger 10(5), Joonas Kylmakorpi 6(4), Simon Gustafsson 4+1(5), Timo Lahti 2(4), Rider Replacement for Cameron Woodward.
Wolves: Peter Karlsson 12(5), Ricky Wells 6+3(5), Ludvig Lindgren 6+1(4), Ty Proctor 6(4), Fredrik Lindgren 5(5), Tai Woffinden 3(4), Tyson Burmeister 2(3).