FLYING THE NEST
GP duo make Seagulls exit
Eastbourneboss Stuart Smith is banking on youth to build on the foundations laid last season as the league’s most successful club seeks to end a run of seven seasons without a title. Their SL25 haul of 57 points and a third place finish represented the club’s best top flight return since SL20, they also landed their first major trophies in five years by winning both the Pairs and KO Cup. Jake Coiner was a big part of both successes, but the world number seven has been shifted out of Wilmington Gardens in pre-season, the 35 year old dropping a division to becoming promoted Runcorn’s new number one at a cost of £250,000, that just a year after arriving at Eastbourne for a £439,000 fee. Nate Stokes has also parted company with the club, this time for good after spending a year out on loan, the 34 year old world number 11 will lead Brickhill’s challenge as they attempt to bounce back from division two at their first attempt. Ronnell Hawtin and Jaroslaw Szyszko—the Pole back at Eastbourne for a 15th successive season—remain, they a reliable spearhead, but further down the order Smith is betting on one or two of his youngsters coming good. Tracking Ryan Murphy as a third heat leader is perhaps the biggest gamble, signed back in SL23 for £350,000, the Aussie SL24 WU21 Champion benefited from a season at the highest level out on loan at Coalville in SL25, upping his average to 7.10 and looks ready to step up once again. Three more under 21’s are likely to appear in the Seagulls first choice septet, including Yvegeni Moroz and Claus Leth, who appeared in the WU21 and WU19 finals respectively last season.