Wednesday May 01, 2019
BIRMINGHAM‘s search for a win continues after being beaten 53-37 by Eastbourne at Perry Barr.

It’s now six consecutive losses in all competitions for the Edwards Plumbing Brummies since their return to professional racing.

And while they put up a much better fight in the second half of their final Championship Shield fixture, they were made to rue the first seven races in which they were outgated and dominated by their opponents.

Eastbourne notched two maximums in the opening three heats to romp away at 13-5.

And in the fourth Kyle Newman and James Shanes gave it their all to pass the Eagles around the outside but ran out of space and Shanes almost came down.

Eastbourne piled up the points in the next few heats and made light work of it by making those fast starts. Birmingham were being taught a lesson at the tapes and after seven outings the visitors were 29-13 up.

Shanes gave the Brummies fans something to cheer with a stunning ride in Heat 8. Visiting reserve Tom Brennan edged ahead down the back straight but Shanes held his nerve for a fine victory, Birmingham’s first of the night. Sadly Paco Castagna – in for Tobias Thomsen – trailed in last.

Ashley Morris inspired their first heat advantage in the next with a 4-2 after Richard Lawson passed Zach Wajtknecht just as it looked like a 5-1.

But Birmingham notched their first maximum in the next when Danish duo Ulrich Ostergaard and Thomsen found their gating gloves ahead of Lewis Kerr and former Cradley man Alfie Bowtell.

But Edward Kennett, who was a member of Birmingham’s last top flight team in the ill-fated 2014 season when the club folded mid-way through the year, steadied the Eagles ship with a win in Heat 11 after a hard first turn move to take rival Newman to the fence.

Birmingham enjoyed a good Heat 12 after an interval when British Under-21 runner-up Wajtknecht did well to outpace his rivals, but tactical substitute Newman had to work hard for third by passing Bowtell and the visitors held a 41-31 lead.

Ostergaard became the first Brummies man to lower Kennett’s colours in Heat 13 but when Eastbourne notched a 4-2 in the next the meeting was settled and the Eagles could celebrate semi-final qualification.

Skipper James Shanes said: “We struggled from the off tonight and we’ve been made to pay for not being able to get out the gate in the first half of the meeting.

“Too many of us had an off night tonight and it really has hurt us as a team.

“We’ve all gelled so well from day one and we’re so disappointed - and we apologise to the fans for how this season has started because we don’t want them to feel like we’re letting them down.

“We’re doing everything we can to try and all click at the same time and turn things around - but things just haven’t gone our way so far.

“Hopefully we’re saving it for the league campaign and that’s what we have to now turn our attentions to.

“On behalf of the team though I want to thank the fans for supporting us and we’re hoping to turn things in our favour as soon as we possibly can.”

Birmingham travel to Sheffield on Sunday (5pm) for their first Championship meeting of the season before hosting Berwick at Perry Barr next Wednesday (May 8, 7.30).

BIRMINGHAM 37: Ulrich Ostergaard 10, James Shanes 8+1, Zach Wajtknecht 7, Ashley Morris 4+1, Kyle Newman 4, Tobias Thomsen 2+1, Paco Castagna 2.

EASTBOURNE 53: Edward Kennett 13+1, Lewis Kerr 12+1, Richard Lawson 9+1, Tom Brennan 9, Ben Morley 5+1, Alfie Bowtell 4+2, Georgie Wood 1.

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