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Colin Munford at the Arena Essex Raceway
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Lakeside Hammers 47 Eastbourne Eagles 43
The Hammers had heat leaders Davey Watt and Peter Karlsson to thank as they survived a strong Eastbourne challenge last night.
The duo led from the front with a five ride maximum for Watt and a paid one for Karlsson, while others in Hammers colours failed.
That came most notably from Jonas Davidsson who for the second meeting in succession failed to score for the play-off hopefuls.
It had all started so well for the hosts when Watt and Kauko Nieminen gated on a 5-1 maximum and they followed that up with an advantage in heat three through Karlsson and Kim Nilsson.
The pair gated on a maximum but the latter was edged out by compatriot Simon Gustafsson.
With Morten Risager drafted in for the injured Denis Gizatulin, the Eagles had a tactic to use all three of his rides early doors, and by heat six his meeting was over.
Fellow reserve Timo Lahti and instrumental guest booking Ben Barker secured an Eastbourne maximum in heat four, though Watt held off the challenge of the latter in heat six to nudge the Hammers back into a 20-16 lead.
But the second of three poor rides from Davidsson saw the Eagles profit with Gustafsson and captain Cameron Woodward pulling things level at 21-21 after seven heats.
Karlsson passed Barker on the opening corner in heat nine and he held off the stiff challenge from the Birmingham Brummie.
Next was the turn of Australian Watt in the following heat and a 4-2 could well have been a 5-1 after partner Nieminen made a mistake to allow Woodward to pass.
At that stage the Hammers were 32-28 ahead and Barker, Karlsson and Watt exchanged heat wins, but nothing could separate their team-mates as the gap remained the same going into the penultimate heat.
Fortuned favoured the Eagles with Woodward and inspirational reserve Lahti gated in front, and there was little Mear and Nilsson could do to thwart the visiting duo.
That all set up a final heat decider, not a regular occasion these days, but it was heat to savour for the hosts.
Watt gated and pushed Barker out wide on the first bend, allowing team-mate Karlsson to sweep up the inside to move the Hammers into the ascendancy.
Try as he may Barker was unable to pass the experienced duo and the hosts had just picked up a 47-43 win on the night.
It may not have been the three points the Hammers craved, but it could have been a lot worse if not for the efforts of Watt and Karlsson.
Lakeside Hammers 47: Davey Watt 15 (from five rides), Kauko Nieminen 5+2 (4), Peter Karlsson 14+1 (5), Kim Nilsson 2 (4), Jonas Davidsson 0 (3), Justin Sedgmen 3+2 (3) Robert Mear 8 (6).
Eastbourne Eagles 43: Joonas Kylmakorpi Rider Replacement, Lukas Dryml 2+1 (4), Simon Gustafsson 8+1 (6), Cameron Woodward 9+1 (5), Ben Barker 13 (6), Morten Risager 0 (3), Timo Lahti 11+3 (6).