The Eastbourne Eagles swept into the Knock-Out Cup Final with a 62-37 win over Cradley Heathens at Arlington Stadium last night (15 October).
Eastbourne win 108-71 on aggregate.
In the end, the biggest threat to the IT First Eagles was the weather. With the season ending on October 31, the club was running out of dates to re-stage the meeting had it been postponed.
A late storm put the semi-final, second leg, under threat but superb work by the track staff saw the meeting go ahead, although nearly an hour late.
Connor Dugard, Eastbourne team manager, said, “It was another brilliant result. We got the job done pretty quickly with a powerful start which totally overwhelmed Cradley. The Eagles showed they can ride here on any track surface.”
Dugard paid tribute to the “sterling work” put in by the track staff to get the surface back into a condition where the meeting could go ahead.
Heatleader Ellis Perks said, “The track was far from ideal but the boys kept a positive attitude and came together as a team. We have pulled off a great victory.”
He said it was important to make fast starts when the track was wet.
Eastbourne went into the second leg with a two-point lead from the first leg and Cradley and fired home a volley of heat wins in the opening to races to ensure victory. The final will be against Birmingham.
Today (16 October) Adam Ellis and Jake Knight represent Eastbourne in the NL Pairs competition at King’s Lynn.
On Wednesday (19 October), Eastbourne travel to Birmingham for the first leg of the National League Grand Final. The second leg is at Arlington on the following Sunday (October 23).
Eastbourne’s postponed match at King’s Lynn has been rearranged for October 28.
EASTBOURNE 62: Georgie Wood 13+3, Adam Ellis 13, Tom Brennan 10+4, Ellis Perks 10+1, Jake Knight 9+1, Luke Harris 7+2, Gary Cottham r/r.
CRADLEY 27: Max Clegg 13, Ashley Morris 5, Ben Basford 3, Richard Andrews 2+1, Tom Bacon 2, Bradley Andrews 2, Niall Strudwick (no.8) 0, James Purchase r/r.