Hammers bosses still have hope

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 September 2011

Neil Vatcher and Jon Cook remain defiant (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Neil Vatcher and Jon Cook remain defiant (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

All to ride for in second leg

Lakeside Hammers co-promoter Jon Cook says his side will travel to Eastbourne next week in an upbeat mood, despite being held to a narrow one-point first leg home win in their Elite League play-off semi-final.

The Hammers made a flying start at Purfleet, going ten points up inside six races, but the Eagles mounted a strong comeback and it took a last-heat 4-2 for the home side to secure a 47-46 victory on the night.

Cook said: “Eastbourne have it all to lose but we are determined to rise to the occasion and give them an uncomfortable night next week at their Arlington Stadium.

“They showed why they are the only team to have won at our Raceway this season when they beat us back on Good Friday and we need to take a leaf out of their book and keep last places to an absolute minimum.

“We can look at a few heats and blame misfortune for not holding a better lead or we can knuckle down and put on a real show, and it’s the latter that we will do next Monday.”

Team manager Neil Vatcher admitted his side had not hit their first leg target last night.

But he says they can still go to Arlington with the aim of upsetting the Eagles.

Vatcher said: “We were looking for a ten or twelve point lead because Eastbourne are strong at home.

“But having said that, we went to Eastbourne earlier in the season without two of our heat-leaders and took them to a last-heat decider, so it’s not all over.

“We’ll go there next Monday and give it our very best shot. Poole went there last Saturday and won by twelve, so Eastbourne aren’t invincible. We’ve got to re-group and focus on a big night next Monday.”

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