Eastbourne snatched a dramatic last-heat win against the champions – but debutant Tom Brennan was injured in his first race.

Adam Ellis and Jake Knight had 5-1s in heats 13 and 15 as Eagles came from five down to beat previously unbeaten table-toppers Birmingham 46-43 in an extraordinary finale at Arlington.

The hosts also had luck on their side when Brummies reserve Jack Smith fell on the last bend of heat 14 when he looked set to secure victory for his side.

But it was another evening tarnished by injury for Eagles.

Brennan, making his debut on his 15th birthday, clipped the back wheel of team mare Luke Harris on the first bend of the second lap in heat two. He was withdrawn from the meeting with suspected broken collarbone.

There were plenty of spills throughout a tense meeting and Brummies opened a five-point lead when the otherwise faultless Georgie Wood fell in heat nine when leading.

That was still how it stood going into heat 13, when Ellis and Knight raced away from Tom Perry and Dan Halsey, who fell, to give the hosts their first heat advantage in ten races.

That brought Brummies’ lead back to a single point but Darryl Ritchings and Smith were on course to a match-winning 5-1 in Heat 14 until the latter fell with the line within sight.

That set up Ellis, who is now unbeaten in 25 races at Arlington since joining Eastbourne, and Knight to finish the job with a 5-1 over Danyon Hume and Tom Perry in the nominated race.

Eagles, already missing Gary Cottham, had to go with just Ellis in three races and he beat his own National League track record in one of them, clocking 57.2secs in heat ten.

Eagles: Ellis 15 (5), Knight 10+2 (5), Wood 9 (4), Hopwood 6+1 (5), Harris 6 (7), Brennan 0 (1), Cottham r/r.

Birmingham: Bacon 8+1 (4), Parkinson-Blackburn 8+1 (4), Perry 8+1 (5), Hume 8+1 (5), Ritchings 6+1 (4), Halsey 3+1 (4), Smith 2+1 (4).