Eastbourne’s cup fighting qualities were to the fore last weekend as they fought out a tense battle in their National League KO Cup quarter final first leg against Coventry.
Captain and No 1 Mark Baseby led the charge with rising star Tom Brennan, who between them scored 26 points, as the Eagles went down 46-44.
At two-thirds distance it seemed as if the home side, who ride at Leicester’s track, would pull out a decent lead to bring to Arlington for the second leg in June
This was the point when the Forman IT Eagles dug deep as they were then eight points adrift.
Heat 12 turned the tide as Tom Brennan won and with Jason Edwards third, the gap was cut to six.
A 5-1 to the Eagles in heat 13, when the previously unbeaten Coventry No 1, Connor Mountain, was excluded for unfair riding, brought the scores to 43-41.
Club chairman Martin Dugard said he was very pleased with the performance. “We were obviously weaker than the last time we came here and lost 51-39 as we were without Charley Powell and Charlie Brooks,” he said.
Nick Laurence, who had not ridden so far this season, came in and covered for Brooks with rider replacement being used for Powell.
“As a team we rode very well and it was a good performance.
“Deep down I didn’t think we would get that close so we have to be pleased with the afternoon’s work,” Dugard said.
Coventry: Connor Mountain 12 (5), Jon Armstrong 9 (5), Danny Phillips 7 (4), Luke Ruddick 6+3 (4), Luke Harris 6+1 (4), Jamie Halder 5+3 (5), Ryan Macdonald 1 (3).
Eastbourne: Tom Brennan 15 +1 (6), Mark Baseby 11 (5), Georgie Wood 8 + 1 (5), Jason Edwards 8 + 1 (7), Nick Laurence 1 (3), Kelsey Dugard 1 (5).