Hackney Hakws keep winning run going
Hawks too good for Belle Vue
Hackney Hawks 48 Belle Vue 39
The Hackney Hawks continued their positive start to the season by claiming all three match points against a previously unbeaten Belle Vue side in an enthralling, back-and-forth meeting.
An otherwise powerful Colts side was left to rue the absence of Jason Garrity. The fast-rising 16-year-old had previously posted a 15 point maximum against Scunthorpe-Sheffield and paid 18 against the Isle of Wight, but no less than two van breakdowns en route left him stranded miles away from the action here.
Garrity’s non-arrival was balanced out by a night of misfortune for the Hawks’ Marc Owen. The British under-21 finalist – whose form had warranted Heat 15 appearances in both of Hackney’s previous League matches - struggled all night with set-up issues and managed just two points.
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Fortunately for the Hawks, Barrie Evans and Shane Hazelden provided plenty of fire-power from either ends of the team spectrum.
Number one Evans reeled off four straight victories after tasting defeat in his opening ride, while reserve Hazelden romped to four outright wins and was paid for a win in a fifth ride. His only disappointment came when falling in his two other rides.
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An exciting, increasingly tense affair saw the lead change hands on no less than four occasions, with both sets of team managers playing a tactical game of cat and mouse with their reserve deployments. With the score level at 38-38, a change of machinery for Ben Hopwood proved critical for the Hawks. The Hackney No.4 had struggled in two earlier rides but swept to victory on-board alternative machinery in Heat 14, with Hazelden’s second place - ensured after Karl Mason had fallen - pushing the Hawks four points clear.
That left Hackney needing a 5-1 from the finale to clinch all three match points, with a second place finish from Belle Vue meaning the Colts would leave town with a match point, while a 5-1 in their favour would result in a drawn match.
As things materialised, Kyle Howarth was excluded after bringing down Ben Morley on the third bend and Byron Bekker’s machine never left the start line in the re-run, to gift Morley and Evans the 5-0 that produced a final winning margin of nine.
The Hawks are next in action on Bank Holiday Monday at Scunthorpe, when their National League fixture follows the earlier Scorpions-Edinburgh Premier League match. They will be operating Rider-Replacement for Ben Morley, who is committed to the Silver Ski Rockets’ home and away Premier League meetings against Ipswich the same day, with the match at Hoddesdon starting at 7.45pm.
Hackney scorers: Barrie Evans 14, Ben Morley 7+3 (5), David Mason 7 (4), Ben Hopwood 4+1 (3), Marc Owen 2 (3), Brandon Freemantle 0 (3), Shane Hazelden 14+1 (7).