Belle Vue expected to offer Eagles tough test

Cameron Woodward

Cameron Woodward

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Eastbourne Eagles step back on to the Arlington Stadium shale this Saturday evening (7.30 pm) when they will arguably face their toughest test of the campaign to date.

On the back of successive and impressive home victories over Birmingham and Leicester, this Saturday’s action witnesses the visit of Manchester’s mighty Belle Vue Aces.

For some years, the team from Kirkmanshulme Lane have promised much heading into an Elite League season but failed to deliver.

This year, they look well equipped with a powerful four-man spearhead, one that contains not just one, but two former Eastbourne number ones.

Both Scott Nicholls and Matej Zagar have sported the Eagles blue and yellow in the past, donning the number one jacket.

The Aces opening two fixtures, away to Birmingham and at home against the Swindon Robins both fell victim to the weather.

The presence of Nicholls and Zagar among the opposition would already be sufficient to give most teams some cause for concern, but add to the mix another gilt-edged prospect, Richie Worrall.

His scoring prowess, particularly as a guest for the Poole Pirates, caused problems for the Sussex side at Arlington in 2013, and you have a potentially stellar cast set to face the might of the Eagles on Saturday night.

Buoyed by impressive back-to-back victories at home - and hopeful of some good news from their first travelling engagement of the campaign, a visit to Poole’s Wimborne Road on Wednesday night –the Eagles will be looking to continue their good early form and to maintain pressure on the more fancied teams above them.

Eastbourne team manager and co-promoter Trevor Geer is eagerly anticipating the visit of the Aces. “We have been more than pleased with both our performances here at Arlington so far, a runaway win against Birmingham and an impressive victory against Leicester after a slow start.

“Belle Vue could well pose a far greater threat, especially with the top four they possess.”

“However, if the boys continue to apply themselves just as they have so far, and continue to show similar form, we have no cause to fear anyone,” Geer concluded.

Eagles: Lewis Blackbird, Dan Halsey, Joonas Kylmakorpi, Timo Lahti, Mikkel Michelsen, Bjarne Pedersen, Cameron Woodward

Aces: Craig Cook (r/r), Scott Nicholls, Stefan Nielsen, Michael Palm Toft, Ben Reade, Richie Worrall, Matej Zagar.