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Eagles miss out on late point
Eastbourne Eagles were denied a last-gasp bonus point at Birmingham tonight.
Bjarne Pedersen was passed on bend three last time around in heat 15 by Ben Barker to leave them empty-handed at Perry Barr.
Barker’s late swoop secured a 3-3 which sent Eagles to a 52-44 reverse in the Elite League.
The impressive Pedersen had looked set to combine with skipper Cameron Woodward for the 4-2 which would have capped a late Eagles fightback and given them a point after they had trailed 39-24.
Eagles were hopelessly off the pace in too many early races and lost Joonas Kylmakorpi to a knee injury.
But double points wins for Woodward and Pedersen kept hope of a losing bonus point flickering.
Those hopes soared when Lewis Blackbird and Woodward shared a 5-1 in heat 14 to cut arrears to eight points.
But their late salvage operation came up short.
Eagles actually gated on a 5-1 in heat one but ended up sharing the points after Timo Lahti locked up on bend two.
A tapes offence by Nick Morris in heat three gave them a chance to get back on terms after conceding a 4-2 in the first reserves race.
But Kylmakorpi fell before guest Steve Worrall forced a 3-3 by winning the re-run ahead of Baker.
Brummies took command with 5-1s in heats five and six, the second of them after Pedersen fell alone on the first bend and was excluded.
Denial Nermark and Barker edged out Lahti in the race of the night for a home 5-1 in heat eight.
Eagles used injury rider-replacement for Kylmakorpi’s last two rides. Woodward took the first extra heat and was on a 5-1 with Worrall before Danny King and Nico Covatti stormed through to turn it into a home 4-2.
Pedersen’s double-pointer in heat 11 led a 7-2 but Covatti and Paul Starke both passed Blackbird in the next race for the 5-1 which opened a 46-32 lead.
Eagles whittled away at that deficit but were denied a point they probably did not really deserve at the death.
Birmingham: Barker 12+1 (5), Nermark 9+1 (4), Starke 8+1 (4), King 8 (5), Covatti 7+1 (4), Morris 5+1 (4), Lambert 3+2 (4).
Eagles: Pedersen 14^ (5), Woodward 12+2^ (6), Blackbird 8 (5), Lahti 5 (5), Worrall 4 (4), Kylmakorpi 1 (2), Halsey 0 (3).
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