Hammers win first-ever trophy
Coventry Bees 41 - Lakeside Hammers 49 Elite League KOC Final - 2nd LegFriday 23rd October 2009Hammers win 108-77 on aggregateVictory is sweet ! The waiting is finally over - the Hammers have claimed their first-ever top-flight trophy with victory over the Coventry Bees thanks to a stunning eight point win at Brandon on Friday night.
Coventry Bees 41 - Lakeside Hammers 49
Elite League KOC Final - 2nd Leg
Friday 23rd October 2009
Hammers win 108-77 on aggregate
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Victory is sweet !
The waiting is finally over - the Hammers have claimed their first-ever top-flight trophy with victory over the Coventry Bees thanks to a stunning eight point win at Brandon on Friday night.
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The Lakesiders had the tie all but wrapped up in heat ten when Kauko Nieminen and Jonas Davidsson followed Chris Harris home - and they were mathematically certain of the trophy in the next race when Adam Shields took victory.
Despite carrying a 23-point lead from the first leg at the Arena Raceway, none were complacent and a composed mixture of excitement, anticipation and apprehension filled the air around the huge contingent of travelling support who journeyed hopeful of seeing that first piece of silverware - the Club's first trophy since 1991.
Once the formalities of the pre-meeting parade were complete, the riders took to the track for heat one and the start of fifteen heats to ultimately decide the club's destiny. That the first race was swiftly curtailed only added to the atmosphere as Hammers guest Tom P Madsen was judged to have facilitated a tapes infringement after Lee Richardson appeared to have gotten the early drop. The re-run ultimately saw top Bee Chris Harris get away to head home Richardson and Ben Barker to nibble away a small chunk of their deficit.
Stuart Robson, a former Coventry rider who was instrumental in the first leg, was first away in the second heat but was overhauled by the skill of young talent Josh Auty, who passed him around the outside of the final bend to take victory in a blanket finish.
The Hammers took their first race victory when 2009 rider of the year Davidsson took a commanding win. Partner Kauko Nieminen looked equally quick but was foiled on the second lap when Ed Kennett exploited a gap to slip through into third place.
Barker looked supreme in defeating Shields in the fourth to chip away further at the overall aggregate lead and he was the main protagonist two heats later when he and Harris repeated the move over the Aussie. The standings at this point saw the Hammers seventeen points to the good but with nine heats remaining - and all still to play for.
Hammers boss Job Cook plumped for Nieminen as the "rider replacement" in heat eight, pressure to which the hugely popular Finn responded to by jetting from the gate to foil the lively Barker and restore two points to the overall aggregate.
This appeared to be the turning point as far as the destiny of the Cup was concerned as the next three weeks would ultimately seal the fortunes of the Hammers and ignite the celebrations of glory. Heat nine was a disaster for the Bees with points crucial as Allen crashed out on the second turn to leave Hammers certain of another shared race. It was crucial that Coventry secured a 5-1 in heat ten through Harris and Barker but the Scandinavian duo of Davidsson and Nieminen rode a calculated heat to edge out Barker to send Hammers fans into a wild frenzy of celebration - the cup was coming to Essex barring a disaster.
The mathematical certainty of the aggregate were completed just one heat later as Shields rode an immense first corner to take race victory - and with Richardson's third place ensuring a 4-2 and the trophy, all eyes turned to the meeting itself which the Hammers were very capable of winning.
The away side took the lead one heat later thanks to a maximum from the superb Nieminen and Robson after Auty had crashed out. The margin increased to six when Shields and Richardson took another 4-2 and the meeting was secured when Kennett suffered a race-leading retirement in the penultimate race to give the Hammers an insurmountable lead on the night.
All six riders were given rapturous appreciation from the travelling support as they made their way around to the centre green to collect the trophy. Joining them were two men to whom victory would have been especially sweet - Stuart Douglas and Jon Cook. The owner and his co-promoter soaked up - literally, in Champagne-showered terms ! - the occasion as they helped deliver a trophy to the Club in their third year of operation.