Eagles hit the shale running for morale boosting victory

ED Kennett (right) returned for the Eagles
ED Kennett (right) returned for the Eagles

Eastbourne Eagles bounced back to winning ways at Arlington Stadium on Saturday courtesy of a confidence boosting success over their Midlands opponents.

Eagles were described as the walking wounded heading into the Elite League clash.

Coventry’s Edward Kennett deputised in place of the sidelined Joonas Kylmakorpi, while the Eagles utilised the rider replacement facility for Simon Gustafsson, who was injured while riding for a team place in Poland two days earlier.

But it was the visitors who effectively limped out of the contest with no fewer than three Wolverhampton riders failing to complete the fixture.

Ty Proctor withdrew from the meeting suffering with suspected concussion following not one but two falls in race three. Then both Ricky Wells and Pontus Aspgren were destined to take no further part after they tangled with each other in alarming fashion in heat eight, the former sustaining a possible broken thumb.

In contrast to their previous home meeting when the visiting Lakeside Hammers opened with four consecutive 5-1s, it was the Eagles who hit the ground running with no fewer than six heat advantages in the first eight races. This included four maximums in heats four and six through eight to go 20 points to the good at 34-14 by the midway stage.

In spite of their personnel problems, the Wolves hit back in the latter stages thanks entirely to healthy double figure contributions from heat leader trio Fredrik Lindgren, Nicolai Klindt and Tai Woffinden, who shared a brace of 5-1’s with Lindgren in heats 13 and 15.

But by that time it was far too late to make any degree of difference to the overall result. The Eagles had already wrapped up the three Elite League points with three races to go, their 20-point advantage, then 47-27, remaining intact up to that moment.

Eastbourne team manager and co-promoter Trevor Geer was far more upbeat in his summing up than had been the case the previous week. He said, “We really needed that result after our double defeat against Lakeside.

“The lads were much more competitive away from the starts and that helped us cope well with their big guns, especially in the early stages and that allowed us to build up a useful lead.”

“Fortunately for us, by the time their heat leaders really got dialed in and started to hit back at us, we had the match pretty much sewn up.”

Remarking on the busy schedule ahead for the Eagles, Geer continued, “The 16-point win against Wolves proved a good morale boost for the team as we travel to both Wolverhampton and Peterborough on Monday and Thursday this coming week.”

Geer remained concerned over the fitness of Simon Gustafsson, who was undergoing tests following his spill in Poland while the Eagles were taking on Wolves.

Though the Swede’s injuries were not thought to be too serious, Geer continued, “By Sunday we will know more. Simon is hoping to take his place at Monmore Green and obviously so do we.

“He was our best rider at Wolverhampton and we really need him to be there if we are to put in the sort of good performance that we know we are capable of, both against Wolves and at Peterborough.”