IN their totally patched-up state, the Buildbase Bees could have capsized completely at Arlington - but their six men on the night clubbed together to take plenty of credit from the meeting.
A win was not possible, but it was still a much better and more entertaining night than could have been expected by the praiseworthy travelling following, who followed their side minus its top five riders.
Eastbourne, of course, had their own problems with their top three ruled out, although the home side would agree themselves that their pre-meeting options were rather better than the Bees who, until last weekend, had expected to go into the match with Fredrik Lindgren for Rory Schlein, rider replacement for Simon Stead and the rest of the squad at full-strength.
The catalogue of injuries, though, led to call-ups too for Steve Johnston (who even stood in a captain!), Henning Bager and Chris Schramm, and all had their moments at Arlington - as did reserves Stan Burza and Andreas Messing, who both delivered much improved displays compared to Friday's home defeat by Poole.
The start of the meeting was hardly an encouraging taster for what was to follow as Eagles' second-string Lewis Bridger charged away from Lindgren at the start, to be joined by guest Adam Shields for a 5-1 - but that was not an indicator of how Bridger's night overall would pan out.
And Heat 2 proved that Bees would in no way be out-gunned at reserve as Messing and Burza both made good starts, and although Burza was quickly passed by Simon Gustafsson, both Coventry riders held their position thereafter to secure a welcome 4-2.
The Eagles took that advantage back in Heat 3 as Bjarne Pedersen won the first of several duels with Lindgren with Woodward holding off Johnston for third place, but the four-point gap was then maintained throughout a succession of shared heats.
Heat 5 generated a talking point with Woodward crashing on what was a slightly difficult surface, removing his machine but leaving debris on the track by way of an advertising banner, forcing referee Chris Gay to stop the race - not the first time such a dislodgement has occurred at Arlington this season.
The next race saw Burza step up with a fine start to take the flag from Woodward and Bridger, and in Heat 7 Gustafsson became another Eastbourne faller as he came off on the first turn, the referee ruling that there had been no contact and duly excluding the Eagles reserve.
Shields won the re-run from Lindgren and Johnston, and Heat 8 was also shared, eventually being awarded after Bridger had come to grief - not once but twice as he tried to gain ground on Burza and Messing.
Finally the Eagles managed to make further progress in Heat 9 with Pedersen and Woodward gating to a 5-1 over Bager and Burza, but Bees weren't about to give in despite now facing an eight-point deficit.
Johnston received a heavy fall in Heat 10 when he was taken out by Bridger on the second bend, the referee again excluding the Eastbourne man, and after treatment Johnston was able to take his place in the re-run which turned out to be his last race of the night.
Lindgren won it from Pedersen for a Bees 4-2, and another advantage went Coventry's way in Heat 11 thanks to a brilliant and unexpected win by Schramm - who has a history of inspired races guesting for the Bees at Arlington! - who gated and rode perfectly to see off Shields, with Bager holding Gustafsson at bay for third.
Lindgren then got the better of Pedersen for a second time in Heat 12, but James Brundle collected a vital first point of the night to keep the Eagles four points clear, and the made that six with a 4-2 in Heat 13, Bager splitting Shields and Gustafsson after the young Swede had held second place for the first half of the race.
At that stage, Coventry had been expecting Johnston to take his place in Heat 14, but he began feeling unwell before going out on-track, so Bees had no option but to go with their two reserves, and the resultant 5-1 from Woodward and Gustafsson secured the points for the Eagles.
The last race of the night saw Lindgren, who once again gave his all for the Bees, gain his third straight win over Pedersen to bring the visitors to a praiseworthy 40-point total and at least bring to an end what has been one of the most trying weeks for the club in the current era of racing.
EASTBOURNE 50 Lee Richardson Rider Replacement Lewis Bridger 3 1* F X = 4+1 Bjarne Pedersen 3 3 3 2 2 2 = 15 Cameron Woodward 1 X 2 2* 3 1* = 9+2 Adam Shields 2* 3 3 2 3 = 13+1 Simon Gustafsson 2 X 3 0 1 2* = 8+1 James Brundle 0 0 1* = 1+1