Lakeside Hammers 51, Birmingham Brummies 42
HAMMERS managed to scrape the full quota of the Elite League rewards at stake by seeing off Birmingham in the last heat on Friday to claim all three points.
How vital they prove to be in the final reckoning remains to be seen for the Hammers must now sit back and wait for other results to come to see if they qualify for the end of season play-offs. This result, though, saw them complete their 2011 Elite League campaign on a high and move into second place in the table.
The early stages of the meeting saw the Hammers move into a twelve point lead after heat eight as Birmingham’s lower order struggled for points and the Hammers were once again well served by guest Ty Proctor.
After a shaky start, former Hammers favourite Jonas Davidsson quickly re-discovered the quickest way around the Arena Raceway and reeled off three wins, greatly needed over the latter part of the meeting when the determined Brummie refused to surrender the points without a fight.
Boss Graham Drury nominated top scorer Daniel Nermark for a tactical ride in heat nine after the twelve point gap emerged and he duly took victory, although it was a lone 6-3 as guest Aaron Summer struggled at the back.
It was Summers who proved to be the turning point as far as this meeting was concerned, though, and he contributed greatly to the Brummies resurgence over the last few heats that really had Hammers hearts beating as far as their potential play-off aspirations were concerned.
He popped out of the gate to win heat twelve and secure a 5-1 with Danny King over Proctor and Rob Mear to close the gap to five before bolting out of the gate again in the penultimate race to win and ensure a last heat decider for the full quota of league points.
Jon Cook turned to the pairing of Richardson and Davidsson, who had secured a vital 4-2 over Brummies guest Davey Watt in heat thirteen. Lining up next to Watt off of gate two, Richardson powered into the first turn and rode a determined corner to pull clear. With the minor positions up for grabs, Davidsson managed to overhaul King for third place to ensure the three match points went to the Hammers.
With Cook announcing the signing of Tomasz Jedrzejak before the meeting, hopes are high that the Pole will come into a side that will line up in the 2011 Elite League play-offs – only time will tell but Hammers have now done all that they can.
Cook was full of praise for the club’s fans and riders after the match, saying: “That was one for the fans. They have been absolutely superb this year and their level of support has never dipped even during our lean form of the early season.
“Crowd figures are up for the fifth year running and to get the level of support we enjoyed last night on a rearranged fixture, with England playing football, blew us away.
“The atmosphere created was superb and the reception afforded to Lee (Richardson) and JD (Jonas Davidsson) on their extra lap of honour after heat 15 sent all the team and our hardworking backroom staff away absolutely buzzing.”
Cook also paid tribute to the team saying: “At the end of the match we had a chat and it’s only Lee, Peter (Ljung) and Rob (Mear) left from the seven who started the season with us yet the spirit is electric.
“It’s out of our hands now as to whether we make the play-off but if we do and with Robbo (Stuart Robson) back and TJ (Tomasz Jedrzejak) making our numbers up to the full team of seven riders, plus Kakke (Kauko Nieminen) back in for selection, we will give it one hell of a go and with the Cup Semi Final to come regardless of the play-off the season is coming alive at just the right time”.
Hammers: 1. Lee Richardson 2, 3, 2, 3, 3 = 13; 2. Peter Ljung 1',3, 1, 3, 1' = 9+2; 3. Tyron Proctor (G) 2',1, 1',0, 2 = 6+2; 4. Rider Replacement. 5. Jonas Davidsson 0, 3, 3, 3, 1, 1 = 11; 6. Kim Nilsson 3, 1, 2, 0, 1' = 7+1; 7. Robert Mear X, 2, 2',1 = 5+1.
Brummies: 1. Davey Watt (G) 3, 2, 1',2, 2 = 10+1; 2. Ales Dryml 0, 0, 0 = 0; 3. Daniel King 0, 2, 3, 2',0 = 7+1; 4. Ulrich Ostergaard 1, 0, 0 = 1; 5. Daniel Nermark 3, 2, 6, R = 11; 6. Aaron Summers (G) 2, 0, 0, 2, 3, 3 = 10
7. Claus Vissing 1',1, 1, M, 0 = 3+1.
Heat 1: Watt, Richardson, Ljung, Dryml (3-3) (3-3) 58.9
Heat 2: Nilsson, Summers, Vissing, Mear (fell exc) (3-3) (6-6) 59.2
Heat 3: Ljung, Proctor, Ostergaard, King (5-1) (11-7) 58.7
Heat 4: Nermark, Mear, Vissing, Davidsson (2-4) (13-11) 59.6
Heat 5: Davidsson, Watt, Proctor, Dryml (4-2) (17-13) 58.8
Heat 6: Richardson, Nermark, Ljung, Summers (4-2) (21-15) 59.4
Heat 7: Davidsson, King, Nilsson, Ostergaard (4-2) (25-17) 58.5
Heat 8: Ljung, Mear, Vissing, Dryml (5-1) (30-18) 58.9
Heat 9: Nermark (tactical ride), Nilsson, Proctor, Summers (3-6) (33-24) 59.7
Heat 10: King, Richardson, Ljung, Ostergaard (3-3) (36-27) 58.9
Heat 11: Davidsson, Summers, Watt, Nilsson, Vissing (exc 2 mins) (3-3) (39-30) 58.6
Heat 12: Summers, King, Mear, Proctor (1-5) (40-35) 59.7
Heat 13: Richardson, Watt, Davidsson, Nermark (ret) (4-2) (44-37) 58.6
Heat 14: Summers, Proctor, Nilsson, Vissing (3-3) (47-40) 58.8
Heat 15: Richardson, Watt, Davidsson, King (4-2) (51-42) 58.6