EASTBOURNE completed a hat-trick of National League KO Cup victories with aggregate success over Mildenhall in Sunday’s Final.
The Eagles replicated a run of Cup wins back in 1985-86-87 by defending their 28-point first leg lead at West Row, going down narrowly 43-47 on the day.
The Fen Tigers took plenty of encouragement from the scoring of teenage duo Drew Kemp and Jordan Jenkins, who racked up 15+1 and 15 respectively, but after halving the aggregate gap with five heats to go, it was the Eagles who finished strongly.
Josh Bailey top-scored on 11+1 with Jake Knight adding 10+1 whilst skipper Georgie Wood, who scored eight, has been a part of all three Cup wins.
Eagles boss Connor Dugard said: “It was a great performance. We had done the hard work in the first leg at Arlington and we were determined not to let it slip.
“When you look at the results of the two matches, we were clearly the better side and deserved to retain the trophy.
“It is a great reward for a team who have worked hard all season to bring success of the club.”
Mildenhall promoter Kevin Jolly said: “It was always going to be a difficult task after the first leg, but I felt our lads put on a first class show in the circumstances.
“No disrespect to our guests who did us proud but I feel sure if we had Connor (Mountain), Jon (Armstrong) and Danny (Halsey) fit this could have been another of those special afternoons at Mildenhall Speedway.”
MILDENHALL ended the National League season fifth in the table after a 53-37 win over the Isle of Wight in the final match of the 2017 season.
The Fen Tigers controlled the second half of their West Row double-header and in the process condemned the Warriors to the wooden spoon.
Jordan Jenkins completed a high-scoring day with 14 points from six rides and Luke Ruddick added 11+1, whilst Ben Wilson (13+1) and guest Georgie Wood (11+1) led the way for the visitors – who remain proud of their achievements in growing the Island club this year.
Mildenhall promoter Kevin Jolly said: “Looking back on the season I think we have provided great entertainment for the supporters with many memorable meetings and some incredible comebacks.
“The performances of Jordan and Drew (Kemp) today excited me, this is what the National League is about for me, talented youngsters coming into the sport and putting in afternoons like they did.
“We will have a well deserved rest now but will be back next season ready to challenge for silverware again.”
Warriors promoter Barry Bishop said: “On-track we’ve had some gut-wrenching lows like Buxton at home but, significantly, this club is not only about things that go on on-track, we continue to build and develop a brand that it is a credit to everyone who contributes and we will take this ethos forward as we plan for 2018.
“I can honestly say that when people have represented the Warriors in any capacity they have always done so enthusiastically and to the best level possible, and you can ask no more.”
Results Sunday October 29, 2017
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP FINAL 2nd leg
Mildenhall 47 – Drew Kemp 15+1
Eastbourne 43 – Josh Bailey 11+1
Eastbourne win 102-78 on aggregate
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
Mildenhall 53 – Jordan Jenkins 14
Isle of Wight 37 – Ben Wilson 13+1
National League points: Mildenhall 3 Isle of Wight 0