THE Isle of Wight Warriors suffered a 56-34 defeat at Eastbourne Eagles.
Two weeks ago the Eagles inflicted a 30-point defeat on the Warriors in the knockout cup.
In the National Trophy it wasn’t quite such a tough time for the Warriors, they fought well but eventually lost by 22 points.
The island side had to operate the rider replacement facility for injured skipper Ben Hopwood.
He had sustained knuckle damage when hit by an object thrown up from the track in heat 15 last Thursday and inevitably the meeting proved to be an uphill challenge for the visitors.
Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said: ‘Ben Morley again rode superbly and took the fight to the Eastbourne racking up 17 points.
‘But the Eagles riders rarely squander their home track advantage and so it proved again.’
Warriors: Ben Morley 17, Danno Verge 5, Scott Campos 5, Chris Widman 3+1, Ben Hopwood R/R, Adam Portwood 1+1, Shaun Tedham 3, Jamie Sealey (No.8) DNR
Meanwhile, the Wightlink Wizards started their first season in the Southern Development League (SDL) with a 22-13 victory against Weymouth.
It was a great success for the team.
Weymouth are using Eastbourne’s track as their 2018 base and the island side will have gained greatly from their victory there.
With the island’s Smallbrook track being the biggest in the UK, the tight turns of Arlington presented the riders with a somewhat different challenge.
But this was a challenge accepted and overcome by the Wizards.
Jamie Sealey grabbed three wins and vice captain Ben Ilsley picked up two.
It was such an encouraging start for the squad and they will want more of the same against Plymouth next.
Joint team manager Sid Sheldrick was understandably delighted after the match.
He said: ‘I’m thrilled with that. We had a good chat before the meeting, shared some experiences and the boys went out and proved that they listened to the advice they were given.
‘My thanks to the Warriors riders who pitched in to sort out one or two mechanical issues and now we can’t wait to get stuck in to our next meeting at Plymouth.’
Wizards: Jamie Sealey 9, James Luckman 2, Chris Watts 4+1, Ben Ilsley 7+1
REPORTS BY ROB DYER