The Eastbourne Eagles slipped to a six-point defeat at Birmingham last night (19 October) in the first leg of the Knock Out Cup final.
The home side’s powerful reserves scored a hatful of points to give the Second City club the edge.
The IT First Eagles had the majority of heat winners – nine to six – and also set the fastest race winning times.
The 48-42 result sees the tie on a knife edge for the second leg at Eastbourne at the end of the month.
Club chairman Martin Dugard said he was happy with the result, “We would have been happy with an eight-point defeat, so six points down is better. We know what we can do at home. If we can’t pull that back at Arlington, Birmingham deserve to win the trophy. Adam Ellis and Ellis Perks were outstanding at the top of the IT First Eagles score sheet which was, Dugard said, “a good thing for us.
“Nobody in our team had a bad night. We were racing against the league winners, last year’s champion and they built a fantastic team for this year. These are our hardest meetings of the year.”
The Birmingham reserves Jack Parkinson Blackburn scored 12+1 and Jack Smith 14+2. Dugard commented, “They are really heatleaders in the National League, which they will be next year. It is always tough when you have them around.
“They are good at Birmingham. They may not be so good at Eastbourne.”
The second leg of the tie is on October 30.
This Sunday, with a 6.30pm start, the Eagles face Birmingham, but this time in the first leg of the National League Play Offs Grand Final to decide the league champions.
BIRMINGHAM 48: Jack Smith 14+2, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 12+1, Tom Perry 8+1, Darryl Ritchings 5+2, Mitchell Davey 5+1, Tom Bacon 3+1, Danyon Hume R/R.
EASTBOURNE 42: Adam Ellis 15, Ellis Perks 13, Jake Knight 7, Connor Coles 5+2, Luke Harris 1, Tom Brennan 1, Gary Cottham R/R.