Kennett leads the way as Eagles advance beyond Birmingham in Shield

Somerset's Rory Schlein and Eastbourne Eagles captain Edward Kennett go wheel to wheel at Arlington in the Championship Shield
Somerset's Rory Schlein and Eastbourne Eagles captain Edward Kennett go wheel to wheel at Arlington in the Championship Shield

By Paul Watson

A stunning win at Birmingham on Wednesday put Eastbourne into the semi-finals of the Championship Shield.

It is a huge success to reach the semis of a national competition less than a month into the club’s return to professional speedway.

The Fineprint Eagles headed to the Second City knowing a win would definitely see them through, while defeat would leave them hoping to secure a place in the final four as “best of the rest”. A whirlwind start soon put any nerves to rest as Eastbourne piled up the points. They survived a mid-meeting wobble, to close out the match in fine style.

Hailsham-based captain and No 1, Edward Kennett, led from the front.

He book-ended a great evening by winning the first and last heats and ran up 13+1 points from his five rides.

Kennett’s fellow heatleaders, Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr, joined the party and there was plenty of support from second strings Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell.

Nine points from reserve Tom Brennan was also a big success in the victory while Georgie Wood was by no means disgraced on a very competitive night.

Eastbourne made the best possible start with fast-starting Ben Morley jetting from the tapes in heat one with Kennett, in close attendance. The two Eagles team rode and struck a morale boosting 5-1.

The good news continued for the Fineprint Eagles when Lewi Kerr and Alfie Bowtell left the Brummies riders for dead in heat three.

Remarkably, it was only in race eight that the Brummies recorded their first heat winner of the night when James Shanes got the better of Tom Brennan.

A Birmingham 4-2 in the next heat and a 5-1 in race ten, put Eastbourne on the back foot but Kennett steadied the ship with a flying win in eleven. Kennett then won heat 13 to share the spoils; Kerr and Brennan secured a 4-2 in heat 14 and then the Kennett/Kerr duo put the cherry on the cake with a 5-1 in the last race.

Co-promoter Trevor Geer said: “We have qualified for the semi-finals of the Shield just weeks into our return to professional speedway and we and our supporters have to be delighted with that.”

Eagles: Edward Kennett 13+1 (5), Lewi Kerr 12+1 (5), |Richard Lawson 9+1 (4), Tom Brennan 9 (5), Ben Morley 5+1 (4), Alfie Bowtell 4+2 (4), Georgie Wood 1(3) – 53

Brummies Ulrich Ostergaard 10 (5), James Shanes 8+1 (5,) Zach Wajtknecht 7 (5), Ashley Morris 4+1 (4), Kyle Newman 4 (5), Tobias Thomsen 2+1 (3), Paco Castagna 2 (3) – 37.