Two must-win matches in store for the Eastbourne Eagles

Action from Arlington. Picture by Mike Hinves
Action from Arlington. Picture by Mike Hinves

Two must-win matches face the Eastbourne Eagles as they take on Stoke and the Isle of Wight on Saturday night at Arlington Stadium.

They are playing catch-up in the National League and need to be in the top four at the cut-off date on Sunday, September 23, to make the Play Offs, which will decide the championship.

Mildenhall top the table and have already qualified for the shoot-out but after that the situation is fluid.

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At present:

- Kent are second on 34 points with one match to ride (which could take their total to 38 points)

- Birmingham are third on 30 with two matches to ride (which theoretically could make their total 38 points)

- Belle Vue are fourth on 30 with no matches to ride

- Eastbourne are fifth on 28 with five matches to ride (45 points potentially)

- Coventry are sixth on 28 with three matches to ride (38 points potentially)

On the face of it, the Forman IT Eagles look to have plenty of scope to make up sufficient ground.

However, two of the matches in hand were postponed last weekend (at Stoke and Buxton) and there is no news of whether they will be re-staged before the cut off.

The club will have high hopes of gaining six points from the two matches on Saturday but their final home league match is against Mildenhall, which will be a huge pressure match if points are needed to qualify for the Play Offs.

Team manager Connor Dugard said: “We certainly need two wins on Saturday. It is a very tight race to get into the Play Off spots but I am confident we can do it.

“I believe we are within touching distance but six points on Saturday is an absolute must.

“I think we would have been home and dry if the two matches last weekend had not been rained off.”

Dugard has had to juggle his resources because Mark Baseby and Charley Powell are unavailable because of pre-booked holidays.

Eagles: Georgie Wood, Kelsy Dugard, Mark Baseby R/R, Jason Edwards, Tom Brennan, Ethan Spiller, Charlie Brooks.

Stoke: TBA, Adam Extance, Rob Shuttleworth R/R, David Wallinger, Mx Clegg, Arran Butcher, Paul Burnett.

Isle of Wight: Ellis Perks, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Chris Widman, Max Clegg, Jamie Bursill, Shaun Tedham.

Stoke are on first and the racing begins at 7pm.

*Although the Isle of Wight have named Ellis Perks, he was injured on Tuesday night and is clearly a fitness doubt.