Eastbourne Eagles are on track to reach the semi-finals of the Knockout Cup.

The in-form Sussex squad pulverised Ipswich on their own track last night to win 51-39.

It was Eastbourne's sixth win in seven matches, and their fourth in succession away from home, and they now go into tomorrow night's second leg at Arlington Stadium with a commanding 12-point lead.

The Eagles cast a spell over the Witches from early on in the match and were never headed.

Two former Ipswich riders, Toni Svab and Savalas Clout-ing, set Eagles on their way with a 5-1 in heat two, and the home side had no answer to the Sussex outfit after that.

Two more ex-Ipswich men, Mark Loram and David Norris, also got among the points, but the star of the show was skipper Joe Screen.

He has made a remarkable comeback from a year out of the sport with a broken thigh and led from the front with 14 points.

Screen was the only man to lower the colours of Scott Nicholls, beating him twice in heats 13 and 15 after the Ipswich rider had won four out of four.

Norris and Svab stretched Eagles' lead to six points with a 5-1 in a rerun of heat eight after Danny Bird had crashed.

Eastbourne then foiled the home team's efforts to get back into the match via a series of tactical substitutes.

Nicholls won heat ten, but Dean Barker and Stefan Ander-sson relegated England captain Chris Louis to last place.

Nicholls also won the next, but this time Loram and Norris kept Craig Boyce at the back.

And when Ipswich tracked Louis and Boyce in heat 12, Barker and Svab blew them away with a 5-1 which put Eastbourne ten points clear and virtually home and dry.

Ipswich: Scott Nicholls 16, Jer-emy Doncaster 8, Chris Louis 5, Craig Boyce 5, Joonas Kylmakorpi 4, Danny Bird 1, Lee Herne 0.

Eastbourne: Joe Screen 14, Toni Svab 9, Mark Loram 9, Dean Barker 8, Stefan Andersson 5, David Nor-ris 4, Savalas Clouting 2.

More speedway in tomorrow's Sports Argus