Hammers hopes shattered
PUBLISHED: 08:31 27 September 2011
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Eagles book play-off final spot
Elite League Play-off
Eastbourne 53 Lakeside 39
(Eastbourne win 99-86 on aggregate)
Hammers saw their dreams of an Elite League Play-off final place shattered by fierce rivals Eastbourne last night.
Travelling to Arlington with only a one-point lead from the first leg of their semi-final at Purfleet, Hammers were always up against it.
But the visitors kept the tie alive until heat 13, when a maximum from Bjarne Pedersen and former Hammer Joonas Kylmakorpi finally put them out of their misery.
Successive maximums helped Eagles into an eight-point lead on the night after only three heats, but Peter Ljung and Robert Mear replied with a 5-1 in heat four.
The home side claimed advantages in two of the next three races, however, to go 26-16 up, before Ljung came out for a tactical ride in heat eight.
The Swede could not find a way past Cameron Woodward, though, and Hammers could only reduce the deficit by two points, before Ljung and Mear reappeared for the very next heat and chalked up a 4-2 after Timo Lahti was excluded.
Trailing by five on aggregate, with six races to go, Hammers saw Pedersen and Simon Gustafsson combine for an Eastbourne 5-1, as Stuart Robson retired behind Jonas Davidsson.
And although captain Lee Richardson and Mear held off Kylmakorpi for a Lakeside 5-1 in heat 11, Robson was passed by Woodward and could only bring up the rear again in the next race.
Kylmakorpi then found a way past Ljung to follow Pedersen over the line for the clinching maximum in heat 13 as Eagles booked a date with Poole, who were thrashing Kings Lynn 63-27 on the Dorset coast for a 108-75 aggregate triumph.
Hammers still have silverware to race for in the shape of the Elite League KO Cup and host Belle Vue on Friday, with the second leg in Manchester next Wednesday (October 5).
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