Sunday October 23, 2016
BIRMINGHAM went down 50-37 at Eastbourne in the first leg of the National League Grand Final as they suffered just their second defeat of the season.

It means the Surestop Brummies will have to overturn a 13-point deficit in the deciding tie at Perry Barr on Wednesday (7.30) if they are to successfully hold on to their third tier title.

In a dramatic encounter at Arlington, Graham Drury's men were able to register just four race winners on what proved to be their toughest night of the season.

An eventful heat one saw three finishers only with Jack Smith awarded the race win as Birmingham drew first blood.

Smith linked up with Jack Parkinson-Blackburn for a 4-2 in the second as the Brummies opened up an early five point lead.

However two 4-2s and back-to-back 5-1s in the space of five races saw the hosts turn things around as they moved 23-16 in front.

After Eastbourne's Georgie Wood ploughed into the side of Tom Bacon in the eighth, the Brummies were awarded a 5-1 of their own as they reduced the gap back to just three points.

However, Bacon suffered a left shoulder injury in the incident and was fortunate to be able to complete the meeting.

The Perry Barr outfit struggled to make any major impact during the second half of the meeting as the Eagles finished off strongly with four successive 4-2s.

Birmingham team manager Graham Drury admits he wanted the first leg result to be closer, but insists all is still left to play for in Wednesday's second leg.

Said Drury: "It's not quite what we had aimed for but this tie is far from over!

"We did throw some silly points away again here and there but there's nothing we can do about that now.

"Eastbourne will be confident of holding on but our lads are more than capable of turning it around.

"We do have a slight concern over Tom Bacon but we'll keep our eye on him over the next couple of days and it's going to be a cracking night of speedway at Perry Barr on Wednesday!"

EASTBOURNE 50: Georgie Wood 12+1, Adam Ellis 12, Jake Knight 9, Ellis Perks 8, Tom Brennan 7+1, Charley Powell 2+1, Gary Cottham R/R.

BIRMINGHAM 37: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 9+1, Tom Bacon 8+1, James Shanes 8, Jack Smith 6, Tom Perry 4+1, Darryl Ritchings 2, Danyon Hume R/R.

Share This:   Facebook Twitter