Eastbourne Eagles set for monumental second-leg of Shield semi-final

Georgie Wood. Picture by Ian Groves/Sportography
Georgie Wood. Picture by Ian Groves/Sportography

Eastbourne Speedway face their biggest match for many years on Saturday (August 3) at Arlington Stadium.

They take on Glasgow Tigers in the Championship Shield semi-final, seeking to overturn a four-point deficit from the first-leg.

The Fineprint Eagles returned to professional speedway this season and have also reached the semi-finals of the Knockout Cup and made the final of the division’s ‘Fours’ competition.

After the 47-43 loss at Glasgow last week in the Shield first-leg, many fans think it is a ‘given’ that the Eagles will make the final.

But Polegate-based co-promoter Trevor Geer said: “That’s not so but make no mistake, we face a huge challenge.

“Don’t forget that earlier in the season Glasgow came to Arlington and won by one point in the league match.”

Geer warned fans to expect a similar thriller that could go down to a last heat decider.

The co-promoter believed Glasgow had probably the best rider in the league in Team GB World Cup star, Craig Cook, and the season’s surprise packet, Rasmus Jensen.

Eastbourne director, Ian Jordan, added: “I think we still face a monumental task and despite being at home I really do think that we are underdogs, given the power that Glasgow possess on and off the track.

“They have a huge weight of expectation to make the finals of these two-leg competitions. I think that there is more pressure on them than us.”

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Eastbourne welcome back Georgie Wood after he was forced to sit out last week’s encounter at home to Somerset because of an official seven-day ban imposed after illness caused him to pull out of a match for his third tier club, the Isle of Wight.

Key riders for the Eagles are likely to be reserves Alfie Bowtell and Jason Edwards. Team bosses are doing all they can to ensure the youngsters are totally ready for the big match.

For Glasgow, Cook is still carrying a wrist injury suffered in the Speedway of Nations final in Russia and Paul Starke withdrew from Monday’s British Final at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester after crashing.

In that British Final, Lewi Kerr reached the semi-final stage, with eight points, Richard Lawson scored seven, Edward Kennett six and Kyle Newman three.

Last Saturday at Arlington, Eastbourne beat Somerset 45-44 in a Championship league match which went to the wire.