Lakeside Hammers 49 v 40 Eastbourne Eagles
THE Lakeside Hammers returned to action with a new 2013 line-up and emerged with a keenly fought victory over their closest rivals Eastbourne Eagles on Good Friday afternoon.
This season opening curtain raiser – delayed by a week following last week’s snow-off against Peterborough – saw both sides dropped straight into Elite League action. With no time for formal match practice, it was very much a case of evaluating who would get off to the fastest start in the opening heat exchanges. Certainly, from the outset it was the Eagles who were by far the sharpest away from the start with the home side caught napping on many occasion.
The early action came from Lukas Dryml in heat two, powering past the Hammers’ new reserve pairing of Richard Lawson and Robert Mear. The focus then turned to Hammers’ other debutant Lewis Bridger in heat three, but a slow start saw both he and returning Lakesider Piotr Swiderski left at the gate to trail behind Simon Gustafsson and Cameron Woodward.
One of the early highlights – and in fact arguably the race of the afternoon – came from Hammers skipper Davey Watt in heat four. Missing the gate, he mounted the boards to pass Denis Gizatullin before pushing former Lakeside rider Adam Shields all the way to the line, getting ahead by a wheel as they passed the chequered flag.
Bridger recovered well from his early blip to join Swiderski for a maximum heat advantage in heat five to level the scores at fifteen points a-piece, the home side eventually edging in front in heat eight when Mear teamed up with Kim Nilsson for a 5-1.
A great ride from Karlsson in heat ten saw him move from third to first, driving past Woodward to lead a Hammers 4-2. The last turn excitement continued in the very next race as newcomer Lawson stole third place from Dryml to the delight of the home faithful.
An eventful heat twelve saw three riders withdrawn – first Bridger for falling; then Dryml for a similar tumble; and finally Mear, who also took a spill and was unable to take his place in the re-run as Simon Gustafsson took a match race victory over Lawson in the third restart.
Another special moment from Watt to drive past Bjarne Pedersen in heat thirteen kept his unbeaten run intact although disappointingly he was unable to record a full maximum in the final race as he was beaten into fourth place. The result of that and the penultimate heat win for Mear ensured that the Hammers not only secured the win but also the full quota of league points on offer to get their season off to the ideal start.