The Arena Hammers just failed to gain the win in the Premier League match down in South Wales on Sunday when the Newport Wasps came from behind to snatch a dramatic win in the last three heats. The meeting started well for the Hammers with a 4-2 heat victory in the opening race thanks to a win by Kelvin Tatum over the Wasps No. 1 Australian Frank Smart. Arena's Henning Bager claimed the third place over Carl Wilkinson.

Heat two was shared following a re-run when the Wasps reserve Joel Parsons was excluded for running into the Hammers on form reserve Lee Herne. Chris Schramm, however, took the win in the restart with the Hammers pairing of Herne and Daniel King sitting in behind. A 4-2 to the home side in heat three brought the score back to all level and it stayed that way after a hared heat four. The Hammers then took the lead again with a maximum heat advantage in the fifth heat thanks to the Tatum Bager partnership.

That lead was further increased to eight points with another 5-1 to the Hammers courtesy of David Ruud and Lee Herne. Following a shared heat seven the home side introduced Frank Smart in as a Tactical Substitute in heat eight alongside Carl Wilkinson and the Wasps duo managed to hold off the determined efforts of Henning Bager to reduce their deficit to four points.

The Hammers immediately hit back in heat nine when firstly Chris Neath, who was guesting for the World Cup bound Wasp Neils Kristian Iversen, ground to a halt with machine problems and then his partner Tony Atkin shed a chain to gift a 5-0 to the visitors. This increased the Hammers lead up to nine points. Craig Watson was then brought into heat 10 for the Wasps as a further tactical substitute to partner his fellow Australian Frank Smart. This pairing are renowned for their team riding and they delighted the home crowd with a 5-1.

A shared heat 12 was then followed by a 4-2 to the Hammers with Leigh Lanham gaining the win over Neath and Lee Herne heading home Parsons for the vital third place. This put the score at 39 to the Hammers and 32 to the home side.

Newports'Australian pairing of Watson and Smart combined to claim maximum 5-1 heat advantages in heats 13 and 15. By this time the outside gate had become very wet with the watering that had taken place and the Hammers young Swede David Ruud had great difficulty in making reasonable starts in both of these vital heats. Between these two races involving the two Australian Wasps the home side managed a further maximum heat advantage in heat 14 when Atkin and Schramm got the better of the Hammers pairing of Herne and Daniel King. Both the Arena riders put in good efforts to get past the two home riders but without success.

Overall it was a disappointing end to the meeting for the Hammers having only fallen behind in the final two races. However, the bonus point was achieved by the Hammers following their 41-point victory earlier in the season at Purfleet.



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