Injury hit Eastbourne Eagles turned in a fighting performance to claim a valuable Elite League point at Lakeside Hammers following a narrow 47-43 defeat on Friday evening.
With both Joonas Kylmakorpi and Lewis Bridger sidelined by injury ahead of the clash, their chances of success took a further hit as Russian Denis Gizatullin was also ruled out following a fall in his homeland the previous evening.
With Lakeside already ahead of the Eagles in third place in the Elite League table and having enjoyed an impressive run of results around their home shale in recent weeks, the travelling supporters had every reason to fear that it just not be their night.
With Ben Barker proving an inspired choice of guest with 13-points in place of Bridger and Timo Lahti again enhancing his ever growing reputation with a classy paid 14-point tally, it was the Eagles who kept their hosts glancing nervously over their shoulders throughout the contest.
Though they never led, on two occasions the Eagles pulled level with the not so happy Hammers courtesy of 5-1’s in heat seven and more poignantly the penultimate race.
In the end however it was the combined performance of experienced Hammers duo Davey Watt and Peter Karlsson who won the day for the home side, both men remaining unbeaten in each of their first four outings and then combining for the crucial 5-1 in the final race that secured them the two-points.
Hammers : Davey Watt 15(5), Peter Karlsson 14+1(5), Robert Mear 8(6), Kauko Nieminen 5+2(4), Justin Sedgeman 3+2(3), Kim Nilsson 2(4), Jonas Davidsson 0(3). - 47
Eagles : Ben Barker (Guest for Lewis Bridger) 13(6), Timo Lahti 11+3(6), Cameron Woodward 9+1(5), Simon Gustafsson 8+1(5), Lukas Dryml 2+1(4), Morten Risager (Guest for Denis Gizatullin) 0(3), Rider Replacement for Joonas Kylmakorpi. – 43