The Wightlink Warriors became the second National League side to complete all of their 2018 league fixtures, but sadly they signed off with a 24 point defeat at the home of the Eastbourne Eagles on Saturday.
The Isle of Wight’s Warriors went into the meeting having to track 2 guests as cover for Alfie Bowtell and Ben Morley who were on Championship duty. Max Clegg and former Warrior Nathan Stoneman were called upon to fill the breach.
The Eagles were desperate for a win to keep their end-of-season play-off hopes alive after earlier in the evening crushing the Stoke Potters. However, they were missing Mark Baseby and Charley Powell who were both on pre-booked holidays so they used the Rider Replacement facility and Kelsey Dugard as a guest rider.
The unusual make up of the home side sowed seeds of optimism in the visiting camp that they may be able to ruffle some Eagle plumage, however it was not to be as the home side’s teenage contingent stepped up when needed as Ethan Spiller, Jason Edwards and Charlie Brooks delivered mature performances to back up the ever reliable Georgie Wood.
As expected it was Clegg and Stoneman who took the battle to the Eagles and they finished up as top scorers producing a series of excellent races on the night. None of the other Warriors could be faulted for their commitment – on several occasions unfortunate falls restricted their points on the tight, technical circuit that is so very different to the wide open spaces of Smallbrook Stadium.
Co-promoter Martin Widman said:
“We knew this would be another testing match for the side. Overall this wasn’t a bad performance and we were helped by the terrific contribution of our two guests. Clearly the Eagles were in need of all the league points available tonight and put on two thoroughly professional displays to keep their play-off aspirations intact. We wish them well”.
Eastbourne 57 | 33 Isle of Wight
Eagles: Georgie Wood 15, Kelsey Dugard 4, R/R Mark Baseby, Jason Edwards 10+3, Tom Brennan 9, Ethan Spiller 10+3, Charlie Brooks 9+5, Rhys Laker DNR
Warriors: Max Clegg 12+2, Danno Verge 1, Scott Campos 3, Chris Widman 1, Nathan Stoneman 13, Jamie Bursill 2, Shaun Tedham 1
Whilst the Warriors have now completed their fixtures, the Wizards have one more meeting left against the Reading Racers next Saturday (22nd) at Eastbourne.
The club are also waiting on news about the National League Riders Championship. This individual event is due to take place at Leicester on 30th September and the start list of riders is due out shortly. If other racing commitments allow, it is likely that Alfie Bowtell and/or Ben Morley will feature.