Saturday October 24, 2015
CRADLEY went down fighting as they slipped to a narrow 47-43 defeat in the second leg of the Knockout Cup Final at Eastbourne.

The Motor Market Heathens travelled to Arlington knowing they needed to become the first side to defeat the Eagles on home soil this season if they were to retain their trophy.

Will Pottinger’s injury-hit side battled valiantly in wet conditions to force a last-heat decider before eventually falling agonisingly short of what would have been an unforgettable victory.

Team manager Pottinger admitted they were disappointed to end a difficult season without any silverware to show for their efforts – but he was nonetheless proud of the fight shown by his side.

“Of course it’s disappointing to lose on aggregate by such a small margin, but I’m very proud of all the lads tonight,” Pottinger said.

“They put in a great effort and really pushed Eastbourne all the way like no other team has done at Arlington this year.

“Everyone can be proud of their efforts, and although we would have liked to end the season with a major piece of silverware we certainly can hold our heads up high after that performance.”

After falling 12 points behind after just six heats, the Heathens launched a brave fightback over the second half of the meeting with a 5-1 in the penultimate race forcing a tense heat 15 showdown.

However, Max Clegg and Danny Ayres were unable to reel in Bradley Wilson-Dean as Eastbourne completed their late-season treble having won the National Trophy and Gold Cup in recent weeks.

Clegg and Ayres, guesting for the injured Nathan Greaves, were in tremendous form throughout for the visitors as both notched double figures whilst Matt Williamson also put in another strong showing at No.5.

Arron Mogridge notched a useful contribution in the engine room of the side, partnering Jack Smith to a maximum in heat 14 as the young reserve ended a solid night on a high.

Youngster Luke Harris struggled after being called in as a late replacement for the injured Tyler Govier, but it was nonetheless a brave performance throughout from the Heathens despite their narrow defeat.

EASTBOURNE 47: Bradley Wilson-Dean 14, Richard Andrews 7+1, Daniel Spiller 7, Georgie Wood 6+2, Marc Owen 5+1, Kelsey Dugard 4+1, Ben Hopwood 4.

CRADLEY 43: Max Clegg 12+1, Danny Ayres 11, Matt Williamson 9+1, Arron Mogridge 5+2, Jack Smith 5, Luke Harris 1, Ellis Perks r/r.

Eastbourne win 77-73 on aggregate.


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