LAKESIDE will take a 16-point lead to Belle Vue for the second leg of their National League play-off semi-final after a hard-fought 53-37 victory at the Arena-Essex Raceway.
Star man Ben Morley struck a stunning 15-point maximum to lead the determined Vortex Hammers to an excellent victory.
But it was a detetermined team effort from Kelvin Tatum’s side which leaves their hopes of reaching the final hanging on a knife edge ahead of the second leg in Manchester next Friday, October 6 (7.30).
And Tatum was fairly satisfied with the result – although he believes it could have been more if not for some misfortune.
“It was a reasonable result,” Tatum said. “In reality I think we were hoping for a little bit more, and we could’ve had it if not for a bit of bad luck.
“We had Paul Hurry looking after young Jason Edwards in heat 12 when his cut-out got caught on his race jacket, and if not for dropping those points we could’ve had a 20-point advantage.
“But we’ve done all we can now, and I can’t fault the effort from the team. There were some impressive performances, and we’ve given ourselves a chance going into the second leg next week.”
Guesting No.1 Max Clegg won his opening three races in the No.1 spot, whilst flying middle order man Alfie Bowtell was beaten just once in his four outings.
Teenage racer Jason Edwards enjoyed a dream debut, notching paid double figures at reserve, plus Paul Hurry chipped in with a solid score to contribute to a powerful performance.
NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAY OFF SEMI FINAL, 1st leg
LAKESIDE 53: Ben Morley 15, Max Clegg 11, Jason Edwards 9+1, Alfie Bowtell 8+1, Paul Hurry 7+1, Jamie Couzins 2, Nick Laurence 1.
BELLE VUE 37: Liam Carr 12+1, Andy Mellish 8+2, Kyle Bickley 8+1, Jon Armstrong 7, Connor Coles 2+2, Luke Woodhull 0, Lee Payne r/r.