Doolan concussed in fall as Bandits fail to clip Eagles’ wings
Eastbourne Eagles 65-25 Berwick Bandits
Berwick were in the receiving end when they travelled to Eastbourne in the Championship on Saturday.
The Bandits, after two close league meetings against Sheffield the previous week, were hoping to follow it up with another solid performance at Arlington.
But the Eagles, who had lost their previous five meetings, were boosted by the signing of Kyle Newman as a replacement for the injured Tom Brennan, and they flew away with the meeting.
Berwick, without the injured Coty Garcia at reserve, used Jordan Jenkins as a replacement, but they were further handicapped by the loss of skipper Kevin Doolan, who crashed out in his opening ride, heat three.
He tangled with home rider Lewis Kerr on the first bend and whilst the Eastbourne racer was taken to hospital with a suspected shoulder injury, Doolan walked back to the pits But was forced to withdraw from the meeting with concussion.
Berwick were already on the back foot at this stage, having been on the receiving end of two 5-1’s in the first two races, and another 5-1 in the re-run saw them drop 15-3 in arrears.
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen won his first two rides for Berwick, in heats four and six, but Aaron Summers was the only other visiting rider to take the chequered flag, in heat five, as the score moved on to 24-12.
However, Eastbourne always looked the better side and with Newman winning three races on his debut, and the experienced pairing of Edward Kennett and Richard Lawson each dropping just one point (each with paid 14), there was also a useful contribution from reserve pairing Alfie Bowtell and Georgie Wood who were paid for 26 points between them.
For Berwick, Jakobsen was the only consistent performer on the night, scoring in each of his six outings, the team having been undone on a track many of them were racing for the first time.
Afterwards, team manager Gary Flint said: “I’m not too worried about the score line as we always knew it was going to be difficult, all the more so after losing Kev. We will take the positives from the meeting and move on and hopefully Kev will be fit enough to ride in our meetings against Newcastle next weekend.”
Bandits turn their attention to the KO Cup this weekend when they face the Diamonds home and away on Saturday and Sunday.
“Meetings against. Newcastle are always tough,” said Flint, “but I think we have the riders capable of seeing us through over two legs. Hopefully we can build up a good enough lead in the home leg on Saturday and then finish the job off at Brough Park on Sunday.”
Eastbourne: Kennett 13+1, Lawson 13+1, Wood 12+2, Newman 10+1, Morley 9+4, Bowtell 8+4, Kerr 0.
Berwick: Jakobsen 11, Summers 6, Gappmaier 4, Etheridge 2+1, Flint 2+1, Jenkins 0, Doolan 0.