Poole Pirates lived up to their swashbuckling name at Arlington on Friday and plundered four league points.
The result plunged the Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles towards the lower reaches of the Elite League and ignited a Poole charge for the play-offs, which they enhanced on Monday by gaining another four league points at Belle Vue.
Eastbourne were outgunned and outfought by Poole and by the end they were pretty dispirited. The scores were level at 27 all after nine races but then the Dorset side struck and fired in 5-1 after 5-1, finishing off with 4-2s in the final couple of races.
The final score was 35-55 – a massacre and one of the worst home defeats the Eagles have suffered in recent years. It just was not good enough. But . . .
Poole came packed with guests because of injuries, FIM commitments and retirements – frankly I lost track a long time ago of all the excuses why certain riders would not be at Arlington.
The visitors choose their guests wisely – Richie Worrall is the bees knees at the moment and recorded four wins, Ben Barker was full of life, if not quite winning races, but the biggest sensation was Denmark’s Mikkel Bech.
Bech, 18, is one of the hottest properties in speedway at the moment. He was virtually top of the list when Eagles were looking for a replacement for Adam Shields.
He was courted by our captain Cam Woodward and fellow Dane Bjarne Pedersen….but Bech would not come.
Instead he decided to go Premier League and rides for Plymouth.
He would have been a sensation had he come to Eastbourne and apart from dropping one point to an Eagle in his first race, was unbeaten by an opponent for the rest of the evening. Knowing that he could so easily have been an Eagle made the result stick even more in the craw.
Of course, the world champion, Chris Holder, was supreme, unbeaten by an Eagle in six races and proving he is getting back to his best.
We shall see whether he can reignite a Grand Prix-winning challenge this year but on Fridays night’s performance, don’t write him off.
It is interesting that Poole went to Belle Vue on Monday with another set of guests – and again ran out winners.
What will people say if Poole make the play-offs and then win the league on the back of these wins?
On Monday night the Eagles went down 55-38 at Wolverhampton and are still without an away win this year.
See more on Eastbourne Eagles’ in the Sussex Express, out today (Friday, June 28).
Pictured: a dejected-looking Cameron Woodward. Photo by Mike Hinves.